Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black Letter Law, Episode 3: Naomi O'Connor

I used to work three shifts a week at the law library. All night shifts. It was decent money to supplement the student loans, and whatever I made there, I didn't have to account for to my parents. So I ate out and bought more gadgets than I should have. I love gadgets. Unfortunately, they're usually not much help when it comes to the supernatural. Because, you see, the gadgets run on logic. It's the only way they exist. And the supernatural, as i've experienced it, is profoundly illogical.

I didn't want to touch the gun, because the sum total of my experience with weapons goes something like this:

“This is your grandfather's rifle. Don't ever touch it.”
“This is your father's BB gun. Don't ever touch it.”
“This is a bow and arrow. Start shooting when I blow the whistle and stop when I blow it again, otherwise you could hurt or kill someone.” It wasn't even a compound bow.

So I was not at all eager to be involved in some sort of library gun mishap. We all knew students did stupid and thoughtless and occasionally dangerous stuff around finals. And I was just finishing off a quarter full of crim law. If that gun was fishy, I wanted nothing to do with it. I might have been further along in school, but Maryanne had certainly worked at the library longer.

I knew about the noises. Students started coming to me and complaining. At first I was sure it was the wind, or rats, or the foundation settling. But then when I finally heard them, I knew it wasn't any of those things. The gun was in a study carrel within sight of the front desk, so I paced back and forth between the desks to make sure nobody else touched the gun and that I could help if someone came to the front desk. It helped to burn off nervous energy. I fidgeted with my cell phone in case i'd have to call the campus cops and/or head librarian again. Maryanne and Nick went upstairs.

I heard her scream and my discomfort shot through the roof. I couldn't be in two places at once, much less three. She was with Nick, and i'd have to comfort myself with that. I stopped pacing for a moment to dial the head librarian. I honestly didn't know what else to do. I hadn't ever learned the protocol for this, and if she told me to call the campus police i'd try that again, but my hierarchical brain said to follow the chain of command. And since Maryanne was... screaming, that meant Sandy Richardson, the head librarian.

On the third ring, she picked up. “Hello?” She sounded sleepy and annoyed. It was just past 10.
“This is Naomi. I am SO sorry to bother you, but we found a gun and there are strange noises.”
“Call the campus police. I'm coming up there.”