The next morning, after noting in the newspaper that the library had not been destroyed in an epic explosion, I tried again. The chickens and I swung by on our way out of town. It was 9:59 a.m.; parking was nil, eager library fans clustered. I parked the car around the block slightly illegally, locked the chickens in, and sprinted to the return drop, shoving David Sedaris’ “When You Are Engulfed In Flames,” cd version, in the slot before boogying back to the car. We hit the road.
Three days later, my email inbox presented a scolding message: “This item is overdue. Please return as soon as possible to avoid fines.”
I called immediately, declaring my innocence. In a neutral tone, the librarian said she’d do a shelf check. A week later, another reproachful email, another call, another shelf check.
I was more upset about this than might have been reasonable. I hate it when anyone is mad at me. And I really hate it when the library is mad at me. I love the library. I need the library.
Finally, 16 days after I returned Sedaris, this call: “Your item was returned and checked in today. Thank you.”
My faulty memory recalls no one in particular near enough the return drop to snake a hand in after my hasty retreat, but there could have been any number of someones: the sidewalk was crowded that morning.
This much is sure: Sedaris was somewhere. Someone had him. He was in the hands of a considerate thief, a stranger who took leisure with my overdue item and eventually returned it, possibly convincing himself in the process that he was more good Samaritan than criminal.
Whoever you are, thanks—I guess. Are you a Sedaris fanatic? Or simply an opportunist? Only the cds know for sure.
I doubt the library will be doing any fingerprinting. Why would they—they think I had it.