DISAPPOINTING

My father was a busy man, but he always brought me to the library with him on Saturdays. I’d toddle down to the children’s room, grab a book off the shelf, then toddle back up to his favorite table. I’d sit there under the great big brown mahogany ceiling near rows and rows of books, some of them hundreds of years old maybe, and I’d rub my feet on the nice maroon carpeting and sometimes wiggle a little bit in the too-big oak chair. I knew my father wrote about stories. I read my own stories while he wrote about other stories. I asked him one day if someone could write a story about the library.

“About the library, son?” he asked. “What do you mean?”

I pointed around to the librarian, Mrs. Tilwell, with her bent ankle and the scar that ran up her leg, disappearing under her dress. I pointed to the bookshelf closest to us, which had a chunk cut out of it about a foot above the floor. I pointed to a couple sitting a few tables over, holding hands, her hair dyed bright green, his shirt buttoned all the way to the top.

“No one wants to read a story about this, son,” my father told me, keeping his eyes on his books. “No plot. It would be boring.”

I stopped pointing. My father went back to work, writing in books he’d brought with us, copying things out of books from the library. The next week, when he told me it was time to go to the library, his yells bouncing off the green walls of my room, I told him I didn’t feel like going. He didn’t even ask a second time. I heard him shut the door with a loud, thwacking noise that vibrated off my green walls too, and then there was nothing.


Daniel Loring Keating grew up in post-Industrial New England, where he earned a BA in Creative Writing from Chester College of New England. He has recently completed his MFA in Creative Writing at the California College of the Arts and is the Managing Editor of Eleven Eleven Journal. His work has previously been published in Strange Fictions, Petrichor Machine, Obra/Artifact, and The Hungry Chimera.

 

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