Jon de Vos: CSI forensics in Fraser
December 2, 2011
Librarians are still waters that run deep.
“Hello, there, nice to see you.” That’s what she said when I walked by the check-out desk, but I knew she was thinking, “Uh-oh, heads up. That’s the guy with the bad dog. Should I call for back-up now or wait to see what he’s up to?”
“Hello, Marion,” I replied, amusing myself with my little library jest. Her smile lost a bit of its charm at the cliche. I stood there, waiting for her to go back inside her office so I could slip a movie into the return slot.
“Are you returning something?” she asked, “If so, just hand it to me.”
“Uh, no. I’m just waiting, thank you.”
“Waiting? Waiting for what? You’re just waiting to slip that movie in the slot when I turn my back, aren’t you? What’s wrong with it?”
I set the DVD on the counter. Leaning forward, I said in library-confidential tones, “The disc is bad. It doesn’t play right.”
She looked down, still smiling, “Well, did you try gently washing … wait a minute. Was that duct tape wrapped all over the case like that when you checked it out?”
“I, uh, didn’t notice, but, uh-huh, sure, of course, it must have been. Yes, definitely. It looked just like that.” Beads of perspiration were breaking out on my forehead.
She lowered her head and stared at me as if searching for some tell-tale sign that I was lying. Reaching out an extended forefinger, her red-tipped nail came squarely to rest in the center of the case. She pressed down and slowly slid it towards her, never taking her eyes off mine.
“What,” she said quietly, “seems to be the matter with it?” She pursed her lips and waited, tapping the case slowly.
“I, uh, think it may have a scratch … or something.”
She turned the case toward her and pried it open with a snap. Three pieces of DVD came tumbling out. One of them had two puncture holes in it. We both grabbed for it at the same time but librarians are very quick with this type of move.
She backed up, leaving a space and the counter between us while holding the jagged piece in the air where it caught the sun, casting a dual beam through the two holes in the shard.
“Aha!” she exclaimed, “What’s this? A scratch? I don’t think so. This looks like a case of wanton destruction of library property! We’ve got you this time. You probably didn’t know that because of several mysterious book gnawings over the past several years, the library district has hired its own forensic bibliophile with her office right here in Fraser.
“We’ve been collecting DNA samples and plaster casts of teeth marks from other books you’ve returned. We’ll compare the spacing and the diameter of these holes and if we get a match on your basset hound, well, I wouldn’t want to be holding your library card if we do. I’ll be right back, don’t try to leave or the sheriff will be waiting for you before you get home.
“We’re librarians. We know where you live.”