Friday, May 20, 2011

The Mystery of the Lost Key

Where, oh where did the spare key to the library go?  Here are the facts: someone borrowed the key yesterday so that they could use the community room for a meeting at 7 pm, after which, said person then dropped the key into the book return box outside the library.  At 2 pm the next day, the librarian (me) does not find a key in the return box.  At 3:30 pm, previously mentioned librarian becomes suspicious of the key's whereabouts and calls the borrower.  The borrower insists she put the missing key into the drop box last night and made sure it went down inside.  3:45pm: librarian checks drop box again, to no avail.

This is how I ended up crawling inside the library drop box this afternoon.  The drop box has a square metal cart that fits snugly inside to catch the books that are dropped in.  In order to get the books out, the librarian has to unlock a door at the front of the drop box and pull the cart out.  Usually, I don't pull the cart all the way out because it is hard to push back in.  However, I thought that maybe the key had somehow fallen outside of the cart onto the inside of the box.  I pulled the cart out and found nothing inside the box but dust and cobwebs and dead insects.  So I looked in the cart again.  I pulled back the padding on the bottom of the cart, got down on the ground and looked at the bottom of the cart, and peeked down the tiny cracks in the cart.  Nothing.  Finally, I noticed that there were a couple little ledges inside the box.  So, I did what any amateur Indiana Jones would do: parted the cobwebs and crawled into the unknown.  I felt the two back ledges, hoping I wasn't going to find something like a wasps' nest.  Again, nothing.  By this time, a kid had ridden his bike past me twice to stare and wonder what the heck I was doing.

And so, I crawled deeper inside the dusty bin and then turned and found a ledge at the front of the box, under the drawer you pull open to put the books in.  And that's where the treasure was hiding!  Not only did I find the set of keys I was looking for, but another set of keys to the library!  And who knows how long they had been there because since I started working here last year, we have only had one set of spare keys.  I also found a dust-covered copy of Homer's Illiad that had apparently been hiding in there since February and two extremely moldy dollars.  Jackpot!  I solved the case of the missing key and the case of the missing library book!  (Good thing I hadn't fined the patron for having an overdue book yet!)  I had also accomplished covering myself in dirt and bug exoskeletons and amused some kid on his bike.  I guess my day is pretty much complete.

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