Friday, 23 May 2014

Number 19 update

It's a quiet day at the library. The excitement is centred around the computers, where Age UK's 10 o'clock session for silver surfers is in full flow. I hide in a corner and prepare my Witney Gazette.
I cleverly bought my own copy, then not so cleverly spilled milk all over it – but I'm not going to cry over that. I place the bait on the table, settle down with my laptop, and watch like a hawk who has a lot of work to do and not much to watch yet.
A man about 50 with special needs and a big bundle of legal letters and forms comes in, receiving help from a volunteer legal helper. They're both very sweet and I'm willing one of them to open the paper. But no – they move it around and test their biros on it, but then leave after 20 minutes intense discussion.
Three 60ish ladies sit down for the 11 o'clock silver surfers' session. Eventually one pulls the newspaper over. 'It's a bit wet'. She pushes it away again, then decides it's dry enough to open. Then 'Ooh ...' Look, it's my lucky day. I wonder who's left that.' They look at me – I pretend to be interested rather than guilty. 'Damn, I almost opened that paper ... erm ... but it was wet,' I say, deflecting suspicion brilliantly. The lady is delighted. 'I'll have to get something from Marks and Spencers. Or maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.' The rest of the group arrive and I have to move tables. The whole group is a-buzz with the find. One person is greedily looking through the paper again in case there's another fiver. It is the third most exciting thing that has happened in Witney, after the barbecue blaze and Neil Lyon's eighteen dolly-strikes.
The downside is moving tables. I'd deliberately sat with my back to the window where no one can go  behind me,  because I'm working on a children's magazine, and there's nothing more disturbing than a 50-year-old man staring intently at a 'colour the dog' activity - I know this from travelling on the Tube while reading the same magazine - even on a really crowded train, it gains you two empty seats on either side.

Lots of people pass behind me and have a good look, and there is tension in the air. I really want to tell people that I'm not a dangerous nutter, but think on balance that might worry them more. To take my mind off my dilemma, the money-finder is leaving. 'I'm off to spend my fiver' she says. She's large, smiley, and warm – I would put my money on her being a retired nurse. I hope she enjoys it.


Claire Potter said...

Love it. Glad a nice, appreciative lady got it!

Next challenge: Follow the lady. See what she buys with it. Ask her her name. Her life story....If she'll be our mother figure, clean for us, love us ...

Molly Potter said...

Do they let you have milk in Witney library then? Progressive.

jim_greenan said...

As long as you don't give it directly to your baby. (I didn't)