The plaque looked over her shoulder and Palma Lewis could never tell anyone it creeped her out. She didn’t want to sound ungrateful.
The plaque was an etching of her, presented when she retired from the city Library Department after 45 years, 38 of them at Whitcomb.
The retirement lasted two months and four days, and when she asked for her job back Daunte Barber had to turn her down, citing budget cuts.
So Palma volunteered, with a brass herself looking over her shoulder, and no paycheck, but everything basically the same; the kids club, classic movie night, and Ernie almost every day, dancing in the courtyard.
Ernie had done about 20 years, dancing outside the library, and for about 18 of those years Palma got him a Christmas gift, usually socks.
She added him as a denizen of Whoville when she read Dr.Seuss to the kids, so he would be a celebrity to them, and not an object of ridicule.
Palma always set aside at least five minutes of her lunch break to spend time with Ernie. Sometimes he was too busy dancing to talk, a car wash baseball hat collecting whatever change people might toss the guy.
Palma confirmed Thursday’s guest lecturer, a man with a questionable physics degree for a university somewhere in the Balkans, who was speaking about the real possibility of time travel, then she logged out of the computer and stood.
She felt her hands slap down on the desk. Though she had done it herself, it felt like an outside force was doing it for her, or even to her.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Jimmy Doom's Roulette Weal to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.