WHAT IS THIS MAGIC?

I just wanted to go to the library to see if I had any ten-year old library fines from my immature adolescent days. I got halfway there, right past the James Harrod Conference Center. That building was the only part of town that reminded me of Old Louisville, and I couldn’t even really tell you why. And then it started to rain. I ran back. I was lucky I didn’t have my laptop with me.

The next day I remembered the concept of a library and wanted to go again, but I couldn’t open the front door because apparently there was a dangerous man outside, honking his horn, hours and hours. I was surprised no one else called the cops on his ass.

On the third day, I walked to the red-bricked library. I walked up to the desk and over-explained that I was a college student at UofL, and that I was back in Harrodsburg for the summer, and that I used to have a card but I lost it, and I needed to know how much a new card was, and if I had any fees on my account, because I was a teenager once. The short-haired lady, pretty, older, bigger, looked up my name, Eric Howard, I said. Nada. New card. No fees. What is this magic?, I thought. She said “we’ve never had a college student come back, let me find out what to do.” I waited for ten minutes and then I gave her my UofL address and my temporary Harrodsburg address and got a Joyce Carol Oates book, The Accursed.

I had my laptop with me when I took the book back the next day; it was sunny outside. I only read the first chapter of the book. I’m like that with novels. That’s probably why I have a hard time writing one. I got three more books and then I sat down at the table opposite the sign, SILENCE OR ELSE, and pulled up my laptop screen. I was the weird bearded guy in the library for an hour or so while I checked my email, my fiction submissions, my Twitter. I heard a loud truck taking a shit outside, and then I realized that it was thunder. Water gushed down onto the street outside, and I texted my mom for some reason, which was stupid because she doesn’t have a vehicle, and neither do I — I can’t drive because I can’t see out the sides of my eyes — and so I called my cousin. I decided that I’d just sit and wait it out. At least the library had wifi.

I’m back at the library. Or I’m still here. I can’t remember.

Author: Eric

Eric Shay Howard is a writer living in Louisville, KY. He has a BA in English from the University of Louisville. He is the editor of Likely Red, a literary magazine.

Something to say?