Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Yesterday got lost. I looked everywhere for it: under the bed, in the garage, in both my and Nancy’s rooms. It simply was nowhere to be found. We did get a call from the hospital in Vancouver with my surgery time. I told Nancy, ‘Good news. We don’t have to fight morning rush hour. I check in at 6 A.M.’ She was not amused. At least I will have fewer hours on Monday the 13th to fret.
The rain got rid of the last vestiges of snow, except where people put it in big piles to try to save it; you now, like in the corners of parking lots. There it remains as very little piles. If they had put a white tarp or plastic over it they could have kept more of their piles from being washed away. As it is the piles are so small and covered with dirt (why to people throw dirt on piles of snow?) that one really has to know what one is looking for to see them. Indeed, some people actually run over them with their cars or park over them. Yes, the dirt covered snow piles are that small.
Nancy has an attack of her Meniere’s on Thursday. She got up in the morning and was back in bed trying to fight off the vertigo ten minutes later. It took all day for her to bring it under control. (Maybe it was Thursday I lost and I made a mistake looking for Friday. I look in all those places again for Thursday this time). I am going to guess she had been cavalier about taking her daily meds. However, to be fair, this is the first attack (outbreak, resurgence) since about 2008. You don’t suppose it is on a 9 year cycle? She was up an about, then, by bedtime. She seemed fully recovered yesterday and she is back to her normal self this morning. Yes, I remember Thursday a bit better now with the trips between the bedroom and bathroom and the, er, well, loss of cookies. I guess I had best think of looking for Wednesday as that lost day, neither Thursday nor Friday actually turned up missing. Yes, it must have been Wednesday. No wonder I couldn’t find it; who would recognize a Wednesday when one is looking for a Thursday or Friday? No matter, I’ll do my best not to lose today.
I am appending the next episode of the Agent Amanda story; in which, I might add; I have yet to find an Amanda. And to think I created a passel of them in Amanda7. You don’t suppose I mislaid the Amandas as I did that missing day this week, do you?
I trust this finds you seeing the possibilities of Spring and in a healthy, happy and warm state.
Warmest regards, Ed
006 Alice Goes to the Library
Fiction in 1186 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
When Alice Beaverton opened the portal to the building the woman and child had entered, she thought ‘I must have taken a wrong turn. I have never seen so many books. I didn’t know this many books existed.’ The room she entered was floor to ceiling books. All the books were shelved behind what appeared to be acrylic or glass panels. She walked over to the nearest shelf and ran her hand over the acrylic covering the books. Space at interval corresponding to the books were slight rough spots on the acrylic. She was fascinated by what seemed like millions of books. She rubbed her hand over the rough spots, ‘I wonder what these are for?’ she thought.
After a few minutes, young woman came up to her and asked, “Where do you want the books you ordered delivered?”
Alice was taken aback, she said, “I didn’t order any books.”
The young woman pointed to one of the rough spots in the acrylic and said, “When you touch one of those, you order a facsimile of the book behind it.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Alice. “I was just overcome with some many books I wanted to touch them.”
“Well, they are fragile and we only lend facsimiles and electronic copies. The originals are protected with nitrogen and other paper stabilizers behind the clear protective shield,” explained the young woman. “So, I should have those books you, er, inadvertently ordered in your enthusiasm for books, returned?”
“Yes, please,” said Alice Beaverton. “A woman with a small child came in. I was to meet her. Can you tell me where they might be?”
“I should think they came in for the daily reading down in the children’s reading room one flight down,” said the young woman pointing to a stair case. “Our Children’s Librarian does excellent readings. The children just eat them up. Now if you will excuse me, I’ll see about putting those books back.” The young woman hesitated and then said, “Be careful what you touch.” With that she left Alice still standing in awe of, what seemed to Alice as a million books.
As Alice descended the stair case, she could hear a cadence of a reader reading out loud and the sporadic murmur of little voices showing approval or concern as the cadence changed. As she got further down the staircase the words finally became clear. “. . .and the cricket said to the bird, but if you eat me, who will sing you to sleep tonight? Is that you asked the bird? Yes, said the cricket, I have practiced that song all my life. Well, then, I better not eat you; for, I love your nightly song. So that, children, is how the cricket and the bird became friends.” Little hands clapped and children’s voices sang out approval. The voice that had been reading said, “We will read another story when the big hand is on the 6 and the little hand is on the 12. That’s twelve-thirty. Time to use the restroom everyone.” The staircase was filled with the sounds of people talking. A sound not unlike a field of geese discussing gleaning rights. The hallway filled with mothers with small boys and small girls heading to restrooms. Alice though, ‘Baby Jessica Ann would love this. I must bring her here.”
The children’s Librarian’s desk was opposite the reading room. The Librarian behind the desk was working by herself. Alice walked over and the Librarian immediately stopped what she was doing and asked, “How may I help you?”
Alice Beaverton stammered a bit, “My, er, little, ah niece is coming and, I, er, well, want books to read to her.”
The Librarian asked, “How old is your niece?”
“Four,” replied Alice.
The Liberian put two flat screens on the counter and said, “Children’s books are accessible with a regular reader,” and she held up the thinner of the two, “or a deluxe reader.” She then pointed to the thicker screen.
What’s the difference?” asked Alice.
“With the regular reader, the pages appear sequentially on the screen. As you finish one you tell it to turn the page. With the deluxe,” she picked it up and the screen came to life with the cover of the book How the Cricket and Brid Became Friends. The Librarian, showed Alice that the thickness allowed the screen to open into an artificial book with pages on each side. The inside pages turned, “See, how it mimics a real paper book with pages. It is almost a facsimile of a real paper book. Children’s books since ancient history came with 24 pages, 12 pages of paper with two sides, we mimic that in the deluxe version of the reader. It is a bit more expensive, but children love it?” said the Liberian. “they get to turn the pages. That makes them a part of the reading.”
Alice turned the pages and oohed and aahed at each page as she turned them. ‘How do they get the pages to feel like real paper?’ she asked herself. Then she closed the book. “I like this too. Do I buy one here?”
The Librarian smiled, “You can rent one here, but to buy one you only need to go to any general merchandise store.” Then the Librarian realized that Alice did not understand publishing so she explained. “Once you have either reader; you may put as many books on it as you want.” She turned the deluxe reader over and on the back screen was a list of books on that reader.
“As many as I want,” Exclaimed Alice. “100?”
“10,000 if you wish,” said the Librarian. “There is only a small charge for each book you put on your reader.
Alice picked up the deluxe reader and it instantly came on. She put it down and it went dark. She picked it up again and look at it closely turning it end on end and around. As with everything else, there were no cracks, no slots, no openings. “So this responds to implants?”
“No, said the Librarian, “It responds to touch. If transplant were needed, children would not be about to use them. We certainly wouldn’t want that, now would we. And, just like everything else, it maintains power by picking up story electrons from the electrical grid. If you take it camping, just get it close to your conveyance’s batteries and it will do just as well as being placed near anything that runs on electric power.
“How long do the readers last?” asked Alice.
“I’ve been here for 20 years. I do not recall one ever breaking or wearing out,” replied the Librarian. “And, our readers get a lot of use.”
“Do I buy the books here?” Asked Alice.
“You can borrow up to ten at a time here for two weeks at no charge; or you can buy them where you purchase the reader. Indeed, you can buy books by taking your reader to any merchant or placing it near any screen, public or private,” explained the Librarian.
Thank you,” said Alice and left on a mission.