Read Me: "Still Life in Books"
(A [hopefully] weekly serial about life in an imaginary public library)

Part Three: Read a book and be transported to another world


Chuck came into the workroom looking panicked.
"I'm being swamped by customers out here," he said to me. "Can you come help?"
I got up and went into the public space only to find two customers waiting.
One Chuck had returned to serving. The other was a disgruntled-looking old lady. Shrugging, I went up to her and asked how I could help.
"The sign outside in your forecourt states that books will take me to another world. This one hasn't." She brandished a book at me. "I want one that does."
"Ma'am, the sign is a metaphor. It doesn't mean that by reading a book you will be physically transported to another world. It just means that by using your imagination you can *pretend* that you've been transported."
"Metaphor, schmetaphor," she snapped. "I want a book that will transport me to another world."
I took a deep breath for patience.
"Okay. Could I please see the book?" She passed it over and I pretended to inspect it. "All our other customers who read this book have satisfactorily found themselves in another world. Are you sure you're using it correctly? Did you read it all the way through?"
"Well, no. After the first few pages I still hadn't gone anywhere, so I stopped."
"There's you're problem then," I beamed. "You only get transported to another world if you read it all the way through. Why don't you take it home and try again by reading the whole book."
She took the book back and gave me a look of distrust, but she left without arguing the point.
I turned to Chuck, who was trying very hard not to laugh.
"You made me serve her on purpose," I accused him.
"Yep. I could tell she was a weirdo. When you work the front counter as long as I have, you begin to develop preternatural early warning systems for difficult customers, so I try to palm them off as much as possible. Well done, by the way. That was some quick thinking you did to get rid of her. I'll have to palm my difficult customers off onto you more often. It's quite entertaining."
I gave him a dirty look and left him to deal with the mass of customers that was quickly building up.

Next Week: 'Chuck Gets a Difficult Customer'

[Disclaimer: No characters are based upon real people, living or dead, except perhaps the writer, and he doesn't mind much. Oh, and if you don't like it, stop reading it]

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