Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Miss O'Brian's Library, Chapter 1

   The concept introduced under the working title "Unfinished Business" has been re-named "Miss O'Brian's Library". While the new name is a little bit less self-explanitory, the old one seemed a little cliche to me and was probably taken anyway.

   I've only got the first chapter so far, but I hope you enjoy it. I'm kinda' doing this one on the fly, so it might not be super polished, but here it is.

Miss O'Brian's Library Chapter 1



Rrgg.. what is that horrible ringing? What time is it? Why are those blinds still open? Damn it, it's too early for sunshine..

Evelynne fished through the papers on her desk for the little clock-radio that never seems to be around when she wants to see it. After sucessfully mixing up all her notes, and knocking a few weighty books to the floor, she spied something flashing red behind a thin piece of tracing paper. Ah-ha!

She plucked the piece of paper out of the way, and stared at the clock in dismay. Seven-thirty? Who in the bloody blue blazes gets up at this ungodly hour, let alone drives five miles into the middle of Forsaken-Nowhere USA to go to a book store?

Technically the shop was supposed to open at seven. The sign on the door, and the message on the answering machine both still clearly said so, but those were posted years ago. Nobody really went by those anymore, because everyone who bothered to come around these days knew not to expect Evelynne to be awake a minute before twelve O'clock. Evelynne herself never bothered to change the postings.


Yes. Yes, I do hear you out there. I'm coming. No.. not because you keep ringing that bell (although that sounds just lovely, please don't stop), but because this had better be a real emergency. Seven-thirty.. good lord... somebody better be dead.


Irony. That's funny.

Evelynne fumbled down the stairs, barely keeping from tripping over her scarf. Looking at her reflection in the little mirrors along the stair's wall, she quickly pushed back her messy auburn hair into a shape that was somewhat acceptable, as she made her way down.

The base of the stair lead right behind the front desk, and when she got there, she caught sight of the bell-ringer. The woman.. girl, really.. stood up perfectly straight on the oppisite side of the desk, and flicked the bell once more with perky enthusiasm. She looked like one of those "hip" teenage fashion-dolls, only without the perpetual snobby pout. The sunshine blazing through the window shone directly on her bright pink hair, lighting it up like a lava-lamp.

"Oh. Hi," she chirped in a chipper voice, "Is Miss O'brian here?"

"I'm Miss O'brian." Evelynne answered patiently.

"Oh!" the girl twittered nervously, flipping her flourescent hair "I'm sorry, I just saw your wedding-ring.. and then well I thought you'd be much younge--"

Evelynne cleared her throat, and drummed the counter with her fingernails. "Is there something I can help you with, Ma'am?"

The girl awkwardly continued. "Of course.. yes... um. I'm here about the job opening, the one posted in the paper..."

"You're here for a job interveiw? Now? ...and why didn't you call first?"

"Well you're psychic, right? I thought you'd be expecting me anyway, so I didn't want to bother you with something silly like that. I know it's a little late, but I heard you liked your sleep, so I figured I'd give you a half an hour to drink your coffee.. or.. or your tea... or... whatever it is... you.... drink........."

Evelynne's patience was ticking down like the precious minutes of shut-eye she wasn't getting. The young lady on the other side of the counter pursed her lips shut, as she began to notice that her prospective employer was not amused. The two stood silent for a minute before Evelynne slowly leaned forward, resting one arm on the counter.

"It doesn't work that way," Evelynne began, "And I would be happy to explain it to you, if I hadn't already wasted my breath explaining it to every other delusional wannabe who wanted me to guess his birthday, or talk to his dead cat, or tell her the name of her true love. Don't think I don't hear your friends goading you on at the other end of the phone, with your death-metal playing in the background, when you guys call me up.

"'Ooh! I'm gonna' be a psychic's assistant and she's gonna' teach me to talk to the dead!' and 'Ohh! Maybe I'll make friends with her and she'll help me win the lottery!' Well guess what, Goth-Barbie, I'm sick an' tired of it. Forget the ad. I'm takin' it down tomorrow. I'll file my own goddamn paperwork, and run my own goddamn errands, before I answer another one of those goddamn phone calls!"

The girl stepped back, smiling nervously as Evelynne finished her rant. "Well," she squeaked in response, "It's a good thing I didn't call you on the phone after all?"

"Get out of my store!!" Evelynne roared as she pointed emphatically toward the exit.

"Miss O'brian wait! Wait! I'm sorry, I was wrong about you, OK, but you were wrong about me too! I'm not just here to win the lottery, or impress my friends, or talk to my dead cat. Just listen!"

Evelynne folded her hands on the desk, and listened with an air of annoyed tolerance as the girl carried on.

"I'm not one of those teenagers just like you're not one of those psychics! It's just that.. well.. I've heard about what you do, and I think it's amazing. Besides, I really need this job, and I don't care if I'm just folding your laundry all day or something. Just please gimmie a chance?"

By this time, Evelynne's expression had softened. She took a second to look the girl up and down. Well she was ignorant.. and annoying.. and way too chipper for this hour.. but at least she did try to be thoughtful. And she did seem to be pretty serious about the job.

"What's your name?" Evelynne finally asked.

"Tracy Masters." the girl's quick reply.

"Tracy Masters.. you from around here, Tracy?"

"No. I came out from the downtown area over near the college."

"From the college? That's clear across town.. You mean to tell me you're going to come from there to here every day?"

Tracy nodded as matter-of-factly as if Evelynne had asked if she meant to make her bed in the morning. Evelynne couldn't help but smirk. "All right, kid, if you think you know what you're getting yourself into I'm willing to give you a shot. I'm warning you though; no funny-business."

"No funny business." Tracy parroted back with a nod.

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