It has been a quiet morning in our local library. Eager for my lunch I watch the hands of the clock move slowly around to twelve. Only three minutes before I can dive into that large piece of coffee cake. Salivating at the prospect, with one eye still on the clock, I wait for Sally to return and relieve me. She is always late. I sigh. I hate my job sometimes. Excitement, I crave excitement.
At last, the door opens, but it is not Sally. It’s a Mechanical Cowboy, a CowBot. Human size. Hat, chaps and boots. Wonder where his horse is, I think. As he nears the counter, I see that one arm is broken and I hear the faint aftermath of music with every stuttering step he takes.
Excuse me ma’am do you have a book on Robot Repairs??
I’ll… um… just look…. I say, not nearly as cool as I’d like to be.
What is wrong with me, I berate myself as I type in the request. Only a moment ago I had been yearning for excitement! Now, with a CowBot needing my help, I’m wavering.
I type mechanical repairs + robot into the search engine. One entry pops up. In the stacks. At the very bottom. In books waiting for repair.
Downstairs, I say to the CowBot. I’ll have to go down into the basement and see what condition it’s in. It’s down there for repair.
As I speak, he turns to the front door as if listening for something. I look over but can’t see a thing besides the door.
Can you hear it?? He says cocking his head to one side like an adorable German Shepherd pup.
No, I say, but that’s not quite the truth. As the words leave my lips, I can hear a faint sound of shooting. Pop. Pop. In the distance.
Is that…. Gunfire?? I say.
Yes, the CowBot answers, they are getting closer.
He gestures with his good arm. We’d better go find this book. I need my arm repaired, pronto.
He follows me down the stairs. With each step I hear the faint sound of a famous tune, but can’t quite place it.
The book sits in the middle of the repair table. The air hums with the same tune as the CowBot emits. I find myself humming along as he thumbs through the repair book.
Aha!!!! He rips out the page. Asks if we have a back door.
I show him the fire exit.
As he leaves, he says, I’m in your debt ma’am and doffs his hat.
Behind us, I hear the library door blown off its frame.
Take me with you!
He doesn’t say no. He doesn’t say yes either. He merely looks me in the eye.
Please. I say.
He turns and walks off.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
I hear the tune.
Follow me, he says.
And I do.
Copyright october 2019