Miss vanderSnook seemed to pay no mind, her beady eyes intent on a Katherine Mansfield short story, pausing to gaze into the faded yellow wallpaper ahead, before Brix would gesture me to follow him outside so he could borrow a “spark” as he called it, for his cigarette, which I obliged only after watching the librarian patiently shuffle behind her library cart, as if pushing a pram, gather up the crumpled balls, and depose them in the recycling bin by the photocopier. This was the library’s daily routine, and it was a snare of intrigue.
The next morning, I arrived eagerly the next morning, pen in hand at 7:15 am, ready to frame my report, in order to make good on my employer’s scheme. I felt obliged to tell Gertrude my mission, that her library’s fate was in my hands, but instead merely scribbled notes of my conversations with Brix over his cigarettes, whose sole purpose eluded me. It was as if he woke up in the morning with something the world needed to know, yet as he gazed outside at that whale and the men on the park bench, he disappeared through a trap door in his head.
“Nada! Nada! Nada!”, he’d yell, and his jaws snapped tight like a bear trap, amidst mutterings wondering why so many herded around the eyesore whale in the square, and I wondered as well, why so much attention was spent on nothing. The matter of finding significance eluded me, and I turned my attention back to Gertrude, so intent I was on finding some kind of indiscretion something to report with – my silver pen rolled itself between my fingers, capturing the glare of the lights above it, and reminded me of a trick.
There was something else I had learned from my employer, for I cannot pretend that I have always warded off his ways – it was a matter of subterfuge, espionage maybe, but certainly stealth was involved. To engage myself in conversation, to provoke some type of interaction would only serve to frustrate my end game further. Deliberation was key, as to betray my employer’s secret would ensure that no report was given, and thus there would be no commission from the unwary council who my employer had guaranteed some type of resolution.