Beware the Book Collectors

((Humor to get you through the first day of the week! Written to all of us who have checked out library books, renewed them multiple times, and then not even read them, but still can’t manage to return them . . . ))

<<Knocking.  Pause.  Louder knocking.  The woman, known only as “Miss”, opens her door to reveal two sharply dressed gentlemen with neat grey fedoras and grey suits with large stalks of moth balls in their lapels.  Though of course, moth balls don’t grow on stalks…right?>>

That’s all right Miss.  Though a doorbell might be a wise investment for you.  Especially if you plan on blaring ABBA and Shut Up and Dance out of your windows.

We’re not really interested why you’re playing the music, Miss.  Although your character could have better taste.

Miss, the reason we’re here is to discuss your library books.

We were hoping you would know.  Are you aware they are three months past due?

Yes, it has been that long.  Time slows for no man.

Or no woman, we agree.  But we’re not here to argue over semantics Miss.  We’ve come to collect the books.

Yes, all of them.  Until such time as you have paid your fine, your borrowing privileges are rescinded.

The amount is–substantial.  But that matter is for the accounting department.  We’re just here for the books.

Miss, we regret that you don’t know where they are, but might that be what got you into this predicament in the first place?  Have you heard of putting your borrowed materials in one central location?

Rumors aside, most books do not, in fact, sprout legs and wander off on their own.  That is a common misconception.  And trust us.  We know books.  The sort of that grow legs and brains are not lent out for public consumption.

They’re not your concern, Miss.  Finding the books is.  We suggest you do so with all speed.

Excellent question.  Should you fail to produce the books, we will take any and all drastic action we deem necessary, to jog your memory and encourage your participation.  This might include round-the-clock polka music bombardment, switching the font in all your computers to Unicode, or even permanently revoking your borrowing privileges at all libraries in the world.

You might be surprised what we are capable of.

Yes, we would dare, if the time called for it.  We of the Book Collectors Agency are not known for our sense of humor, but we do enjoy getting a pay check for a successful commission.

Thank you for your cooperation, Miss.  Though there’s no need for undue haste.  We are not certain that those pens needed to be thrown across the room.

Ah, thank you.  One question: was there a reason you have out so many books on ostriches, medieval spoon usage, giant asteroids, assassins, and the chemical make-up of Tic-Tacs?

Aha.  Well, I fail to see the connection in your speculative novel, but that will be your problem, not ours.  Good day Miss.  We hope to never see you again.