Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian
Saturday, February 14, 2009

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MB (ANNC): And now, from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library-it's Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

(THEME)

SS: Well, another hour and we'll be closing, Trent. Used to stay open until ten on Saturday night but the Library Board has been slashing the budget so we have to close earlier and earlier. I just wish they could see the patronage we've had today.

TK (TEEN): Three-hundred and thirteen patrons, Miss Harrison. That's pretty good for a Saturday in February.

SS: And did you notice all the people who came in to look at Shakespeare's sonnets?

TK (TEEN): Yeah. What's going on? Is there an exam?

SS: It's a poetry contest, Trent. A radio show is offering prizes for the best love poems.

TK (TEEN): Gee willikers. Wish I'd known that before. I would've written one and entered it. Could've been done by now.

SS: Could've been finished by now, you mean.

TK (TEEN): That's what I said.

SS: You said "done" — Dinner is done, Trent. People are finished.

TK (TEEN): You made dinner?

SS: No, Trent. Never mind.

TK (TEEN): Oh, by the way there was some guy at the circulation desk, waiting for you or something.

SS: Thank you Trent, and don't forget to reshelve thesebooks now. Thank you.

TK (TEEN): You bet, Miss Harrison. (TO SELF) Let's see...The Private Secretary...How Black Was Her Chemise...Raging Passions Of The Giant Sea Turtles... (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Oh. Hello.

SS: I'm sorry, sir, I was busy helping my intern. What can I do for you?

GK: I couldn't help but notice you correcting his grammar.

SS: Yes, well, that's how we learn, you know. From people daring to correct us.

GK: I was sitting in the reference room writing a poem and suddenly I thought maybe you could read it and tell me what you think.

SS: A love poem? (UNCOMFORTABLE LAUGHTER) I'm only a reference librarian, sir. A literary critic I'm not.

GK: No, but you're a woman. And you know what a woman feels and I need to know what someone would think reading the poem I wrote.

SS: Well—

GK: I'm sending it in to that contest.

SS: I thought the deadline had passed.

GK: So you wrote a poem too?

SS: No. I was thinking of it and then— I don't know— I just wasn't in the mood, I guess.

GK: Well, I was. I think I was. So I wrote this—

SS: When is the deadline?

GK: In ten minutes.

SS: Oh. Well, let me have a look. (PAPER)
Let them talk about us if they like. I don't care.
I am engrossed in your excellent profile,
Your noble nose and quick lips and mahogany hair
Clipped up high in a Grecian goddess pile.
You are of all women the most exquisite,
Most elegant in or out of clothes—
And I remove them and my own—

GK: Is there a problem? A grammatical problem?

SS: I'm not sure. It just doesn't sound quite right.
"You are of all women the most exquisite,
Most elegant in or out of clothes—
And I remove them and my own—"

GK: I remove your clothes and my own...

SS: Oh. Okay. Sorry.

GK: You seem flushed.

SS: Oh, it's just a virus or something— anyway—
I remove them and my own—and we visit
In your great flowery bed and my heart goes
Boom — and I—

GK: I'm sorry. Can't you read my handwriting?

SS: I can. Yes. I just stopped for breath.

GK: Is there something wrong with it?

SS: I don't know how to answer that question.

GK: Well, if you'd rather not read it, I'll just send it in.

SS: No, it's fine. I'm just reading it closely —
"— and I hear you say,
"Speak to me in a voice that is soft and low
And kneel right there —and I'll turn this way —
Yes, like that — " and on and on we go
Up to the top and Boom and then the slow descent,
Me lying beside you, happy and enormously content.

GK: So what do you think?

SS: I'm not sure about "me lying beside you" —

GK: Oh?

SS: Maybe it should be "I was lying beside you"—

GK: Maybe it should be I— doesn't sound right. I think I should be "maybe it should be me lying beside you—

SS: No, you misunderstand—

GK: But if you want it to be you lying beside me—

SS: That's not what you have here—

GK: No, but I could change it—

SS: Well, one of the rules of the contest was that it should be written for a specific person—

GK: Right.

SS: So this was written for someone?

GK: This poem?

SS: Yes. Was it written for someone?

GK: I'm starting to think so, yes— (DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS)

MB (LOUD): Ruth! Ruth! Oh there you are.

SS: Oh— it's Mr. Anderson from the Library Board. Excuse me, sir—

MB (LOUD): Just came by to pick up the January usage report before the Board goes on its weekend retreat.

SS: The Library Board has been retreating for years, Mr. Anderson— why set aside one weekend?

MB (LOUD): Very funny, Ruth. Anyway, all ten of us and our wives are heading to Hilton Head. On Mr. Parker's company's private jet. Play some golf and talk about fiscal problems.

SS: How lucky for you.

MB (LOUD): Been such a hectic year with all the budget cuts. Very exhausting for us Board members. So we thought a weekend on the golf course might help us get back that old team spirit.

TK (TEEN): Hey Miss Harrison-I found this rat in the rare books room. (RAT)

SS: Looks like the same one we caught there last week, Trent.

MB (LOUD): You don't have mousetraps?

SS: Cut out of the budget, sir.

MB (LOUD): Well, you should've spoken up.

SS: I did. Anyway— take him down the block, Trent. Set him down by the deli, he'll be happier there.

MB (LOUD): What's this? You had three hundred patrons in the library today?

SS: Three hundred and thirteen.

MB (LOUD): Well, I better be off, Ruth. Our private jet leaves in an hour.

SS: And tell the Board that people love their library and we can't keep reducing the hours and we can't keep cutting the book budget.

MB: No reason to be so hostile about it, Ruth. We're doing our best.

SS: That's what we're afraid of.

MB (LOUD, OFF): Well, I'm outta here, Ruth. Anything I can bring back from Hilton Head? (DOOR OPENS, CLOSES)

SS: How about a new Library Board?

TK (TEEN): I don't think he heard you, Miss Harrison.

SS: They never do, Trent. — Say, where'd the man go who was standing right here?

TK (TEEN): The one you were talking to?

SS: Yes. He was here just a minute ago.

TK (TEEN): Guess he must've left. What's that he left on the counter? Let me see that—

SS: Never mind, Trent.

TK (TEEN): Looks like a poem. "Me lying beside you, happy and enormously content."

SS: Just you never mind.

TK (TEEN): Is that good grammar? "Me lying beside you"?

SS: Depends on who it is, Trent.

(THEME)

MB (ANNC): From the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library, this has been the Adventures of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

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