Posts by Dr. Boli

L.C.I.S.

ANNOUNCER. And now Runcible Publishing and Finer Meats, Squirrel Hill’s finest publisher and delicatessen, presents…

(Music: “Washington Post” March, in and under for…)

ANNOUNCER. L.C.I.S., the adventures of our brave federal agents in the Library Criminal Investigative Service. Whenever crime strikes our nation’s libraries, L.C.I.S. agents are there.

(Music: In full, then out.)

ANNOUNCER. Tonight we find Agents Pleasant and Cuzzi heading into the Carnegie Library of Grant Borough, hot on the trail of the Swinburne Slasher.

CUZZI. I think you should talk to the librarian first.

PLEASANT. Why me?

CUZZI. First, because you’re the attractive female half of the team, and that makes people trust you. Second, because it gives me the chance to interrupt you with witty banter.

PLEASANT. It’s not really banter unless I do it too, is it?

CUZZI. What do you mean?

PLEASANT. Isn’t the essence of banter the back-and-forth thing? The exchange of barbed remarks?

CUZZI. Shut up and do your job, Pleasant. Ha ha! See? That’s witty banter.

MR. DEWEY. May I help you?

PLEASANT. Federal agents. We need to see your circulation records for all the Victorian poets, especially Swinburne, Tennyson,—

MR. DEWEY. What did that badge say?

PLEASANT. L.C.I.S. We need—

MR. DEWEY. L.C.I.S.? What’s that?

PLEASANT. Library Criminal Investigative Service.

MR. DEWEY. I don’t think that’s a real thing.

PLEASANT. Well, of course it’s a real thing. It’s an important federal agency. Part of the Department of Education. (Pause.) We even have our own TV show and radio drama.

MR. DEWEY. Kermit the Frog has his own TV show, too, but that doesn’t mean he gets to look at confidential library records just because he and Miss Piggy show up here claiming to be federal agents.

PLEASANT. But we have badges.

MR. DEWEY. I have a badge, too. See? It says “Carnegie Library of Grant Borough.” Sometimes we call it CLOG for short.

PLEASANT. No, I mean the kind of badge that’s a little metal shield thingy.

MR. DEWEY. How do I know you didn’t get that out of a cereal box? I haven’t had any coffee, and I’m not in the mood for these games.

CUZZI. Look, uh—what’s your name?

MR. DEWEY. Mr. Dewey. It’s on the badge.

CUZZI. Look, Mr. Dewey, that’s a computer terminal, right? You can look us up. We have a Web site.

MR. DEWEY. Anyone can put up a Web site.

CUZZI. You can look us up in Wikipedia!

MR. DEWEY. Anyone can—

CUZZI. I don’t have time for this. The Swinburne Slasher is still at large. He may be cutting up another book even as we speak. I’m calling the big boss. — Hello, sir.  — Fine, thank you. Listen, we have a matter of national security here. We need to catch the Swinburne Slasher, and we need information to do it, but this librarian here won’t believe we’re real federal agents. — Yes, sir. I’ll hand him the phone.—Here, talk to him.

MR. DEWEY. Hello? — Fine, thank you. — Yes, but you see the problem is that anyone can just pick up the phone and say, “I’m Donald Trump,” but— Yes— Well, if you want to talk about emergency situations, I haven’t had any coffee in three days. Our supply ran out, and the new order won’t come in for a week. It makes me cranky. — What? — Yes, I suppose that would work. — Yes, I guess that would be fair.—Here, he wants to talk to you again.

CUZZI. Hello? — Yes, I— Five pounds? — Well, yes, I suppose I can— Yes, sir. — Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. — Come on, Pleasant. The big boss worked out a deal. We’re going down to Nicholas to get coffee.

PLEASANT. But…the Swinburne Slasher!

CUZZI. Haven’t you ever bought information with coffee before? Come on before it’s too late!

(Music: “Washington Post’” March, in and under for…)

ANNOUNCER. So once again our dauntless agents of L.C.I.S. face down evil wherever they find it in our nation’s libraries. Tune in next time when Runcible Publishing and Finer Meats presents another adventure of our brave and witty L.C.I.S. agents. Friends, when you’re reading a book, do you find yourself listlessly turning pages, or reading the same paragraph over and over? Decreased reading comprehension is one of the first symptoms of protein deficiency. Runcible Publishing and Finer Meats is your source for everything you need for the optimum reading experience. Runcible reminds you: Don’t forget to eat meat while you read!

(Music: In full, then out.)

 

THE GNARLED TREE.

A tree decays,
dropping random branches,
shaking its fist.

(4-6-4, but don’t say anything to Mr. Stalin in third-period English class.)