The most looked-at publication in this outward-looking town – so in demand that they have to keep it behind the counter because it's been stolen so often – is the Witney Gazette. So I could borrow it, sellotape a fiver in there, then hand it back over the counter, and sit nearby waiting for someone to borrow it so I can monitor their reaction ...
... As part of my meticulous, almost military preparations, I have just borrowed the Witney Gazette, and looking randomly through it at this week's headlines, you can see why it's such a rip-snorting read: Barbecue Blaze (disposable barbecue burns small portion of garden hedge); Knicker Nicker (six pairs from washing line); Scooter Stolen (child's); Tennis Court Facelift After Six Year Dispute (retarmac). The back page is devoted to a single story, whose magnitude only people from Oxfordshire will grasp: Lyon Delighted As He Hits The Max. Achieving a feat equivalent to six sixes in an over, a 147 clearance or a four-minute mile, Neil Lyon of the Three Pigeons hit a maximum EIGHTEEN dollies in the Oxford and district Aunt Sally league, becoming only the sixteenth player in its history to do so. The story features an exclusive, full-page interview with Neil in which he talks through his feelings as the stick hit each dolly. Sensational.
Where I'd like to leave the fiver is in the self-help section, so it could be found by someone who's looking for Success as an introvert, who wants to know How to stop worrying, or is plucking up the courage to Dare to be you**. Maybe the person who I didn't actually see a couple of weeks ago, who'd clearly dropped a copy of Dealing with panic attacks and run out of the library would find it (on a happier note, on the same day I saw a copy of Coping with OCD left carelessly at an angle on top of the photocopier). Risky though – who knows what finding a fiver could trigger. I'd predict this sequence: joy – doubt – suspicion – paranoia – anger – guilt – sleeplessness – depression, with someone who has panic attacks probably feeding in between suspicion and paranoia. Hmm ... maybe too much for my conscience.
The other possibility is the 'Quick choice' section – I think it's just called this because it's nearer the door – the books don't look any better. The only book in this section which I've read and liked is Misery by Stephen King. The expression 'You dirty bird' is a popular catchphrase in our house, and comes from this book, so maybe that's the one. So they are my choices – Gazette, Self-help or Misery. I'll let the fickle finger of fate guide me in the morning.
*Not as a librarian, but on my, erm, 'other' stuff
**Not you, obviously; him or herself