Love in the Library
Just fixing a few spelling and grammatical errors. No new material here, sorry.
I never read songfics. In fact, when I see them, I roll my eyes. I'm not sure why, but the entire sub-genre seems to be a Mary Sue-filled angst fest of cutters and suicides all costumed by Hot Topic. So, of course, what happens to me while I'm working on Love In Shades of Green And Grey but I hit a song with a narrative that I simply can't resist. I couldn't shoehorn the action into Love, so I've knocked out a quick AU story set in a town in the Deep South in a small town similar to the ones I vacationed in in summers when I was a boy. The inspiration for this little piece of fluff is Love in the Library, a song by Jimmy Buffet, from the album Fruitcakes.
The July heat pounded down on the sidewalk of Pascagoola, Mississippi. The glare from the concrete made Garfield wince as he tied his battered Converse Hi-Top. He stood and lifted his sunglasses to the top of his head as he tried to read the signs on the stores above the main street. He was a small young man, barely topping five-foot-three. He wore a casual pair of cargo shorts, a green T-shirt with the Green Lantern heraldry silk-screened onto it, and a Hawaiian shirt. His shaggy hair was normally slightly spiked due to judicious use of "hair product," but today it was plastered to his head and his T-shirt was sticking to his body.
"Man, there is no way I'm making it to the theater for a matinee without melting. Where can I cool off?" he wondered.
He stood on the corner of Government and Bay Avenue. Nearby walked an old man wearing an old-style sandwich board sign saying "The End is Nigh – Prepare to Meet Thy Doom." The old man appeared oblivious to the blazing heat and omnipresent humidity, his crown of kudzu leaves gently waving as he walked down the block. In the distance, Garfield could hear sirens wailing in shimmering air. It seemed like the whole world was in forced retreat.
Garfield glanced around and saw the words etched on the nearest door: Pascagoula Public Library. Welcome. (Air Conditioned)
"Great! Maybe they have comic books!"
Garfield wasn't much of a reader, but they had him at "Air Conditioning." He paid no particular attention to where he was, casually strolling past the newspaper racks, his feet making no noise on the marble floor. Idly, he wandered around the stacks, the sweat slowly drying on his body as he slowly cooled off. He was passing by the Civil War section of the non-fiction racks when his heart skipped a beat. There, over in Fiction was a young girl, about his age, stretched high on bare feet.
He glanced at the titles nearby. Captain Blood, by Rafael Sabatini. In his mind he conjured a picture. He was Sir Francis Drake, and she was Queen Elizabeth. He grabbed the book and idly leafed through it as he watched her out of the corner of his eye. She was fair skinned. Almost pale.
"How," he wondered, "Does anyone in Pascagoula stay so pale in this weather? She must never get outside. Her skin, the color of new ivory, contrasted sharply with her raven-black hair. Under the fluorescent lights it was so dark it almost seemed to have purple highlights. He would have suspected it was dyed, but it seemed to silky to have had a bunch of chemicals applied to it.
He read bits and pieces of the book, but mostly he watched the girl as she continued to gather a veritable mountain of books. As she collected more reading material she walked past his table several times, leaving the faint sense of Jasmine behind her. He really did try not to come off as a creepy stalker, but despite his best efforts, they made eye contact just as she reached for Madame Bovarie, by Gustave Flaubert. She glanced down shyly, then looked back up at him, and smiled warmly. He blinked, startled. Most people though his eyes, the color of emeralds, were unusual. But hers were almost . . . purple.
They bumped into one another once coming around one bookshelf. Again, they made eye contact, but she didn't speak. The single security guard was a fit black man in his mid-twenties named Victor. After an hour or two, Vic lowered the shade to the window and a chime sounded. He spoke softly.
"We will be closing in a ten minutes. Please finish your selections and head toward the check out."
Garfield looked up and realized that she was already leaving. She had finished going through the checkout line already and, carrying a stack of books almost to her chin, she stepped through the door and out of his life.
"Oh hell," he thought, "she's already left. I should have said something to her. Or gotten her name, or something. But I've been watching her all afternoon. If I just introduce myself, I'll just come off a creepy stalker. A girl that pretty has got to already have a boyfriend or a husband or something."
He sighed and turned to walk Captain Blood back to its place on the shelves. He was startled to bump chest to chest with Victor. The guard gripped the book. Their noses almost touched as he looked into Garfield's eyes.
"Don't be a fool, boy. Her name is Raven. She's single, and mortally shy. She parks her car two blocks down on the right. In this heat, that forty pound pile of history and romance will have slowed her down. This is your moment. Grow a pair, and move."
Garfield looked toward the door, then glanced back toward Vic, who snatched the book out of his hands and almost snarled, "Well?"
Garfield set his jaw and sprinted.
"Well stories have ending, fantasies fade
And guard by the door starts drawing the shade
So write your own ending and hope it comes true
For the lovers and strangers on Bay Avenue!" – Jimmy Buffet