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Overdue Notice

By RRButler All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Horror

Blurb

Paradise Gardens is a charming town with a very nice library and a history of people disappearing without a trace. A grim tale of the real cost in letting library items go overdue.

Overdue Notice

10/01/15 9:37 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Overdue Notice

Hello, sir. This is to inform you that you now have four items that are past their due date. These items will accrue 15 cents each in fines per day until returned. Additionally, if the items are not returned within 30 days, additional fines will be levied and we will take measures to retrieve the overdue materials.

Thank you for using our services, and we hope to see you soon.


10/03/15 10:02 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Follow-Up

Hello, sir. I am following up on a previous notification for several items you have checked out, which are now three days overdue. I feel you should know that one of those items has had a request for over three weeks. This means that one of our other patrons is patiently waiting for you to return your materials. We hope that you can find the time in the next few days to drop by the library, return your materials and pay our fine, which is currently a mere $1.80.

Thank you.


10/07/15 12:40 PM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Notification

Good afternoon, sir. I don’t wish to intrude on your time, but I felt you should know that you have several very popular items in your possession. I have requests for three of them, with one in particular acquiring an impressive waiting list.

At the library, we do realize that there are often very good reasons why a patron can not return his or her items in a timely fashion. In the event of, for example, a sudden death in the family or a serious personal injury, it may not be practical to visit the library in person. If this is the case, please inform me and we will ease back on further notifications and find an alternative means of returning your items. If you do not have such an excuse, rest assured that we are more than capable of furnishing one for you.

Your current fine is $4.20, which I think you will agree is very reasonable given the services the library provides.

Thank you.


10/10/15 9:13 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Your Account

Good morning, sir. I take it from your recent response that you found the notice that our agents left in your living room. Normally, we would not resort to such assertive tactics after less than two weeks, but given the number of patrons waiting for the items in your possession, we felt it prudent to accelerate our timetable by a few days.

Before you go to the police, you should note that our agents did not damage, steal or even search anything in your home. There has been no harm and, as you will discover, no physical evidence was left. Note that we did not retrieve the overdue items at this point – returning those (and paying the $6.00 fine) is your job as a responsible adult.

Thank you, sir, and we hope we do not have to resort to further means to enforce our policies.


10/14/15 12:56 PM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: An interesting story

Good afternoon, sir. I was catching up on the news morning when I spotted a most interesting story that I thought might be interesting to you. It concerned a community not unlike our own with a library quite similar to if not as expansive as this one. One of the patrons decided he could turn a profit by stealing from the library before he skipped town. He opened multiple new accounts under the names of relatives and co-workers and used them to check out hundreds of items that he intended to sell on the second-hand market. He was only found out when the police apprehended him on an unrelated charge.

Isn’t that awful, sir? Such things happen when a library fails to take adequate action to secure its materials. Of course, the blame ultimately lies with the perpetrator. I think you’ll agree that there’s no ditch in hell hot enough for someone who would betray his own community for such petty gain.

Incidentally, I saw you coming out of the Weighty Shelf yesterday. You didn’t have anything with you - I assumed you were selling some items, perhaps to pay down your fine (currently $8.40). I do love the Weighty Shelf, although the staff could be a bit more attentive. On a few occasions, I have found stolen library materials among their stock. Fortunately, they are always very gracious in returning the materials and helping us find the perpetrators.

Thank you, sir, and have a good day.


10/16/15 9:39 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Your Account

I find your continued intransigence troubling, sir. Why are you so unwilling to live up to your obligations? I realize that to a man like yourself, our passion must seem perplexing. You must understand that a library is not merely a place for storing and lending books. It is a cornerstone of the community. Even as the short-sighted pundits and politicians have predicted the death of this institutions, libraries such as ours have grown and thrived. That’s because the community recognizes the merits of this and what it stands for.

I look at these walls and I see something beautiful - I see the future. I see a world in which information and resources are freely accessible to everyone, where needless struggle is replaced with the spirit of cooperation. It’s not just me, we all share this vision. But every utopia has a critical flaw. You see, sir, for our vision to work, people have to respect the community and the people who live there. Without that respect, the system crumbles under the weight of the explorers.

That’s why I must continue to apply pressure, sir. There is now a waiting list for every item you possess, and I must recover them by any means. If you can’t respect our rules, then we’ll have to resort to more intensive means to enforce them.

Good day, sir.


10/19/15 10:12 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: (no subject)

Good morning, sir. I understand that you’ve recently had an opportunity to become personally acquainted with our agents and their advanced enforcement methods. I have in front of me a copy of your police complaint. We have already spoken with the police and explained to them that we had no role in your unfortunate accident. I think you’ll find that they are likely to believe our version – you would be surprised how many of our patrons sever the first joint of their own left index finger while performing routine home maintenance.

Your fine is now $11.40. Please try and return your materials as soon as possible.


10/22/15 2:01 PM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Question

Sir, your routine is most puzzling to me. Several times a week, you walk through the downtown area, passing within a block of the library. You could easily detour to the library with minimal disruption to your schedule. Then again, as of late you’ve adopted a very circuitous path that must add thirty minutes to your routine. I can only surmise that you are trying to avoid passing by the library, something which is disturbing to me.

Is it possible that you have lost the materials that we lent you? In my experience, it is not uncommon for someone who has misplaced an item – or perhaps lent it to a less than trustworthy friend – to avoid reporting it, out of shame or a hope that he or she can recover the item in due time. In most cases, this only leads to further complications. If you have lost your materials, I would recommend reporting it immediately and paying your dues – the cost of the materials plus outstanding overdue fines and a restock penalty. This will not be cheap, but I believe you’ll find it less costly than the consequences should you continue to ignore your responsibility.


10/24/15 11:31 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Good Morning

Hello, sir. One of my colleagues has informed me that you recently took your vehicle to the auto shop for a tune-up. Are you planning a trip out of town, by any chance? Here at the Paradise Gardens Public Library, we are happy to offer materials to patrons who travel extensively – indeed, many of our collegian patrons extensively employ our music CD collection on road trips. However, we do frown on individuals with extensive fines (and may I remind you that yours now exceed 14 dollars) taking materials outside of the city limits. I hope you understand.


10/26/15 3:18 PM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Something to consider

I’ve been reading a lot of history lately, sir. I wanted to figure out why powerful men fear educators so much. Did you know that the Qin Emperor tried to have every scholar of Confucianism killed? But it’s not just the ancient age, sir. There were plenty of teachers lying in shallow graves in Katyn Forest after Stalin was finished, alongside soldiers and police. Even the wealthiest men of our own age seem obsessed with eliminating teachers and librarians, albeit by less savage means. They bleed us a dollar at a time with hopes of replacing us with their own loyal agents.

What it is about us that invokes such terror, sir? I think it’s our creativity that they fear. In other times, the masses were ignorant due to lack of opportunity. Today, the cause is numbness brought about by a lifetime of overstimulation. I don’t blame the entertainment, sir - it would be hypocritical given the media library I help to maintain - it is merely a fact of life. Most people lack either the opportunity or the motivation to truly contemplate the nature of things.

We, on the other hand, possess both the opportunity and the motivation to truly exercise our creativity. My mind is operating at full speed all day, weaving new worlds of possibility that may one day exist. One of those worlds involves you, sir. I would tell you about it, but if you continue to ignore our requests you will soon find yourself living in it. Suffice it to say, sir, that losing a finger is far from the worst thing that can happen to a betrayer of his community.


10/29/15 4:03 PM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: (no subject)

Our patience is not infinite, sir.


10/30/15 9:01 PM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: Final Notice

I am sorely disappointed, sir. I truly believed that we could come to a civil agreement and end this amicably. However, you have proven time and time again that you are not willing to live up to your obligations, so now we have to resort to more extreme methods.

Have you ever heard of the phenomenon of the disappearances? Paradise Gardens has a disproportionately large number of missing persons, a rate of disappearances far beyond what one would expect based on our demographics. This has been true since the early days of the township. There’s an old myth that the statue in Mansion Park bears a hex, that anyone who falls asleep at its base is destined to be dragged off to the land of lost souls. An interesting superstition, but one that does little to explain why so many people simply depart without warning.

But not every disappearance is a mystery, sir. The most recent missing person was a woman named Layla. She was a frequent visitor to the library, so I knew her far too well. A most unpleasant woman, rude and irresponsible. She ran up over a hundred dollars in fines over the years, of which she paid back only the smallest fraction despite having the means to settle the balance at once. She vanished a few months back, and the police have long since called off their search. In a place with so many disappearances, one more is scarcely acknowledged, even by the authorities.

Do you want to know the truth, sir? The police called off their search because we told them to call off their search. And why should they waste their time? She’s not truly missing, sir. I know where Layla is. I also know where you are, sir, although I imagine that you are more mobile than she is.


10/31/15 1:41 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Richard Munroe

RE: (no subject)

If you haven’t yet, sir, I suggest you start running.


11/02/15 9:55 AM

From: Paradise Gardens Public Library Services

To: Paula Anderson

RE: Item Request Notice

Good morning, ma’am. I’m pleased to inform you that the item you requested is now available. You can pick it up on the hold shelf at your convenience. We appreciate your patience. Remember: Even though you had to wait, you are still responsible for returning this item in a timely fashion and paying the price should you fail to do so.

Thank you for using our services, and we hope to see you soon.

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