"My sweet librarian gruntling, was that an attempt at sophistication?" She stroked the side of his face as she spoke, and I smiled, waiting for the eruption. "I assure you, you're no GalleyCat! Now drop everything and give me ten...books!" Newspapers scattering, the recruit had already been halfway to the floor before Catherine completed her order. The sudden change in direction as he headed for the stacks made me suspect I'd find him in the infirmary tomorrow with a pulled bunion.

I appreciated the way Catherine handled the recruits. No subtle snark from her, just in-your-face abuse. Rare moments of tenderness were a sure sign of impending doom for the recipient.

"And you, don't stand around with your thumb up your ascot. Pick up those newspapers and get them ready for the binder!"

I chuckled as I watched her work. A classic DI. Every good leader knew to let his chiefs do the heavy lifting, and I fancied myself a good leader. Tucked into a comfortable chair on the balcony with a warm cup of terrapin soup, I allowed my commanding presence to be felt by the grunts below. That was enough. Catherine would handle the rest. Her skill and thoroughness gave me time to reminisce about my glory days on the bodypaint circuit. The roar of the greasepaint, smell of the crowd... (Florescent paints and four-day bratwurst conventions made for a tough gig, but we all had to learn our chops somewhere.)

"Everyone else, twenty laps. And I don't want to see a bunch of promenading poodles this time. This is a library! Show me fierce!"

When Catherine showed up to interview, I had my doubts, yet all became clear during the psychological evaluation. Seeing the rage she exhibited in response to "your mother wears Army boots," I immediately terminated the interview and offered her the job of instructor. She was fresh from the Navy SEALs, a common enough transition since the Intellectual Property War of '23, but the intensity of her response told me there was more to her anger than one too many Army-Navy games. This lady had the library in her genes.

"Wilson! I see you lagging behind one more time and you're gonna have a stiletto heal up your backside. Move it, librarian!"

And good riddance to Jones, my previous instructor. No intensity at all. You'd be more likely to find Bat Segundo in a twelve-step program than get any adrenaline out of Jones. Her recruits muddled through training while she drifted around like a will of the wisp, luring them one by one into the stacks to be lost forever. Granted, those who lived through training made decent librarians--they were survivors, and strong willed--but they had no fire, and a library isn't a library without fire.

Made the insurance company happy, too. They get cranky if we have more than one fatality a week during training. The private sector does have its downsides.

Librarian drill instructor! Miss Snark is getting on THAT career path tomorrow morning. And the Intellectual Property War of '23!!!! Miss Snark will be combat ready (a bazooka concealed in her walker of course).

Scores to come.

No comments: