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The Simmons public library - The First Line Competition entry.

The Simmons public library was a melting pot of the haves and have-nots, a mixture of homeless people and the wealthy older residents of the nearby neighbourhood.

It was into this human smorgasbord that she stepped. A breath of fresh air, smelling of exotic perfumes and rose petals. Her light floral summer dress rippling across her toned thighs as she strode towards the librarian's desk, passing under the dusty ‘Quiet Please’ sign hanging from the ceiling tiles. Her matching floral shoulder bag tucked tightly under arm and large designer sunglasses covering her eyes. Was this perhaps a lost celebrity? Some superstar cast-a-shore on this literary beach? She ran her hand through her hair unconsciously, in just the right way, to release her auburn mane cascading across milky white shoulders. If a beam of sunlight had at that moment shone down through a high window and a choir of angels begun to sing ‘hallelujah’ it would have seemed perfectly appropriate.

Malcom watched her approach with open mouthed awe. An average day at the Library was very, very dull. This vision before him suggested that he had somehow wandered into a parallel dimension where creatures like this existed. He shook his head and blinked in an attempt to convince himself this was really happening.

She leaned in over the desk. His desk… suddenly brought to life by her mere touch. Her dress, very low at the front, chest rather too visible to allow Malcom clear thought.

‘Mr Singleton, I’m looking for Mr Singleton’ She purred with quiet confidence. A cat, toying with a mouse.

Malcom gulped.

‘I, I.. I..think I saw him reading the newspapers at the back’. He said, indicating the direction with the smallest nod. He couldn’t help but be entwined in that perfume. It had to be custom alchemy, they couldn’t be selling that stuff over the counter in stores. It was like nothing he had experienced before, he wondered if there was perhaps a hallucinogenic property. Either way he was held entirely captive by those tantalising whispers of scent. He could think of nothing else. Only his eyes could follow those swinging hips as they swished along between the Poetry and Art aisles. Subjects which he suddenly understood on a - whole - new - level. He watched mesmerised as those long legs purposefully strode towards the back ...and Mr Singleton; an annoying, grumpy man rumoured to be worth many millions who came to the Library to read the paper for free everyday, rather than buy his own copy. A penny saved… Malcom assumed. He watched as her slim pale arm crossed her body and reached into her large floral shoulder bag. Her hand smoothly reappearing with what looked like a small black cylinder which she pointed further down the aisle towards the newspapers.

‘Phut, Phut…’


She was turning and striding back towards Malcom in a blink, as if she had forgotten something essential in her car. Black tube sliding back into bag in one fluid motion. Just as he was being released by the tendrils of scents from his first encounter, he was again entrapped, defenceless on her second pass. He could only watch her passage in stunned devotion.

‘Overdue library fines’ She whispered as she swished passed him, holding her index finger to her full red lips and winking ‘Ssshhh’.

The door was swinging behind her before the first screams filled the room.

[This piece was written for The First Line writing competition.

feedback - 'Fun, Andrew. Just missed' - David LaBounty (Editor of the]

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