Tim Russell: Once again we take you to the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library for the adventures of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.
Sue Scott: Almost six o'clock, Trent. Time to lock up.
Tom Keith (TEEN): Yes, ma'am.
SS: A shame, but due to cutbacks by illiterate goombas on the city council, we're forced to reduce our hours. So- lock the doors, Trent. I'll turn out the lights.
TK (TEEN): Yes, ma'am. (WOMAN'S FOOTSTEPS AND STOP)
SS: The library is closed now, Mr. Foote. You'll have to pack up now and go.
TR (OLD): Oh really? But I just got here-
SS: Time flies when you're engrossed in a subject like the Civil War-
TR (OLD): Couldn't I have just five more minutes?
SS: We open at nine tomorrow morning, Mr. Foote. I'll see you then. (FOOTSTEPS AND STOP) Yes, Trent? What is it?
TK (TEEN): There's somebody in the subbasement, Miss Harrison. I heard footsteps down there. And voices.
SS: Oh nonsense, Trent- you've been smoking those cigarettes again, haven't you.
TK (TEEN): Honest- I heard someone. We better call the police.
SS: Fiddlesticks. I'll go see for myself. (FOOTSTEPS ON STAIRS) Before the budget cutbacks, we used to be able to afford qualified help too - poor Trent - loyal but he doesn't have the brains of a pop-up toaster - (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE, DESCENDING) - nobody here on level A- I'll check B - (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE) Nobody on B, let's see about C - (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE) Budget cutbacks meant we had to put in 40-watt bulbs too - (FOOTSTEPS) Pretty dim down here- (FOOTSTEPS) Well, D is clear - that just leaves E- (FOOTSTEPS AND STOP) Okay, who's there? Is somebody hiding behind the stacks? Don't make me come and get you. (PAUSE, THEN A FEW FOOTSTEPS) I can hear you. Come out. Now. (SCRAPE OF FEET SHUFFLING, OFF) Come out here. Let me see you. (SCRAPE OF FEET) Well, for heaven's sakes. Robert Louis Stevenson- what are you doing?
TR (LIGHT SCOTTISH): I'm moving some of my books from storage up to the reading room where people can read them.
SS: Mr. Stevenson- why?
TR (LIGHT SCOTTISH): I want to be read! That's why.
SS: People read you. We have several copies of "Treasure Island" upstairs-
TR (LIGHT SCOTTISH): It's the abridged edition. Abridged!
SS: It's what people want.
TR (LIGHT SCOTTISH): It's not what I wrote. And what about "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"?
SS: It was made into a movie. Several of them.
TR (LIGHT SCOTTISH): Terrible movies.
SS: Mr. Stevenson - I sympathize, I really do, but- life moves on. Who is this?
Garrison Keillor: I'm a historian. Simms. James Frankfort Simms.
SS: I never heard of you-
GK: I know. I died in 1959. The Times didn't even print an obituary.
SS: What did you write, Mr. Simms?
GK: I wrote a definitive six-volume history of American missionary work in China from 1814-1926.
SS: Is that what you have in your arms?
GK: Yes. Nobody's read it since 1947.
SS: Put it down, Mr. Simms.
GK: One reader. That's all I want.
SS: We can't force our patrons to read the books-
GK: I spent my life writing that history.
SS: And I hope you enjoyed it.
GK: Please- just let me put it upstairs for one week- next to the DVDs - that's all I ask- one week.
SS: Look. I thought that God arranged a lot of activities for you people in the afterlife. Am I wrong about that? Shouldn't you be off somewhere praising and kneeling in adoration? Who is this in the white dress?
TR (WOMAN WHISPER): It's me.
SS: Emily. I am astonished. You-! You're one of the most popular poets ever. Everybody knows your work! "Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me" and so forth. When you google Emily Dickinson, you get millions of hits. What's your problem?
TR: They all read my poems but nobody reads the novel I wrote. "Savage Love".
TR: Why don't you put my novel out on the shelves?
SS: Because- it would destroy your reputation.
TR: I don't care.
SS: The scene in the jungle, under the waterfall-
TR: It's the best thing I ever wrote.
SS: It's too explicit.
TR: You're embarrassed by the idea of a naked woman who happens to enjoy -
SS: I don't want to talk about it.
TR: Something in my book touched a chord, didn't it. (RAPID FOOTSTEPS)
SS: I've got to go.
TR: I know plenty about you.
SS: Good. - And I know about you. - And I think Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a better poet-
TR: You've got to be kidding- : That wimp??
SS: Put down that pistol, Miss Dickinson. (GUNSHOTS)
SS: (RUNNING, BREATHING HARD) You people go back where you came from! Hear me??? (RICOCHET) I expect to find you gone in the morning!!! (SLAM STEEL DOOR. SS STANDS, BREATHING HARD FOR A COUPLE BEATS) I've been in this library too long. I've got to put in for a sabbatical. (A FEW FOOTSTEPS, THEN SHE STOPS) Wait- those idiots cut out all the sabbatical money. Damn. (FOOTSTEPS, THEN STOP) I guess I'm going to have to get me a pistol. (THEME)
TR: Join us again in the near future as we continue the adventures of RUTH HARRISON, REFERENCE LIBRARIAN. (MUSIC OUT)