Chuck Tinkered,My Short Science Fiction Story

Hi Gloria,
Your short story is scheduled to be posted on the blog on 14th September 2012.

Kind regards,

BestsellerBound Recommends Staff


New on KDP

I’ve just uploaded my new e-book release to Amazon’s KDP, where it will be free Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26.

Wren, a shape-shifter with flawed magic, must become hostage of an emperor before he can find freedom for himself and his captive king. However his struggle embroils a nation in conflict, and he must save a little girl’s life or die.

Library in the Park

Years ago, my mother would drive to town to visit the library and take me and perhaps another sibling with her. The building resided in a park with a double sidewalk with flowers in the middle that brought us to the concrete steps. We might sit beside the steps for the library to open, and when it did, I would turn right to visit the children’s section while my mother explored the adult section on the left. Large, narrow books awaited my touch. Books with big, wonderful pictures. I loved the artwork as much as the words, perhaps more.

That was the only library I knew that dwelt in a park, appropriately called the Library Park. Other libraries resided in schools, beginning with the bookshelf in the country school I attended. I checked out every book I had time to read. One, however, brought embarrassment. My teacher had read this story about life on the Yangtze River in China, about boats with eyes and about cormorants that fished for fishermen. Intrigued, I took it home, and my younger sibling scribbled on its pages with crayon. I don’t know why I didn’t report what had happened. Instead, I remained mute when my teacher asked for the book’s return. It’s likely she may have said something to my folks. Embarrassment kept me quiet, and the matter seemed quickly forgotten.

I particularly liked the old brick library with its ivy-covered walls at our college. The library had the usual tables between stacks where people could sit and read, but what was especially pleasant were the private reading cubicles that lined the walls. There, you could read whatever you chose without risk of discovery, such as so-called risqué books on anthropology or biology or art.

The old college library was replaced with a modern one, sans air conditioning, as was the habit in those days. One hot day, the temperature was high enough the lights kept going off. Those were the same fluorescent lights that caused eye fatigue. Still, I found treasures in that library. I discovered an autobiography by the Dalai Lama, My Land and People. I found the musical score to Elijah and had it copied.

While at college, I also visited the nearby city library. Ordinarily libraries are safe havens, but on one particular occasion I felt the intense presence of a young man—tall, blond, round blue eyes. He would move behind my chair, leave, and appear again, as if waiting for me. At first I ignored him, but he was persistent. The hour was late enough that the library was slowly emptying. I felt an urge to get out of there. So I made for the exit. I entered the college campus. The young man was behind me, following. From habit, I entered one of the buildings with its long hall, and realized my mistake. What if the man ambushed me by cutting around outside and heading me off? I increased my pace and about fifty yards down the hall, I noticed over my shoulder that he was entering the same way I had come.

I turned around and faced him. He hauled up, startled.

I passed through the building and continued across campus, careful to keep in the open and where other students were walking, though in diminished numbers. I didn’t want to walk directly to where I was staying, lest the stalker would see. Should I approach a male student and ask him for protection?

I didn’t. Neither did I see the stalker. My confronting him had scared him off. When I reached the house where I was staying with other coeds, I told them of my adventure, and one of them, a librarian who had traveled the world, told me of her experience with male predators and said this one was harmless.

Since leaving school, I’ve discovered libraries in other places. There’s a bookcase at a dialysis center where I’ve taken kidney patients. There are shelves upon shelves of donated books, magazines, and jigsaw puzzles at Gleaners, a food distribution center I’m connected with. No librarian controls these libraries. You borrow and return through trust.

I always come back to the Library Park where I used to go as a child with my mother. She loved biographies. My father read every Louis L’Amour book in the building. My parents are gone now, but the family reads on. My brothers like action thrillers. My sister has an eclectic taste but leans toward mysteries. She’s the one who passes the books among siblings. The library in the park has changed, though. The building we used to visit houses the community center. Behind it stands the more modern library, with glass doors and no stairs. Stacks carry not only hardbound books, but plenty of softbound. In addition, there is a growing collection of movies and audio books. I miss the card catalogue. I guess I’ll have to use the several computers that border the lounge. Or ask a librarian for help.

I would love to see my books grace a shelf. Old newspapers contain articles I’ve written, but a book! Well, some day.

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