Gremlins In The Library

, , , , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(I work the night shift at a large university library that is open 24 hours. There are only three staff members, me included, working this shift, and the library is fairly empty. In order to get into the library in the middle of the night, students have to swipe their student cards to activate the outer doors, and then are required to physically show the card to a staff member as they enter. We take turns checking cards at the door throughout the night, and it is currently my turn to do it. I’ve been sitting at the security podium by the door for about three hours already; it is required that someone remain at the door constantly in order to make sure that no non-students enter the library. As I glance up from the book I’ve been reading, I suddenly notice a small, white dog dart between two study rooms on the opposite side of the floor. Not sure at first if I’ve hallucinated it, I finally decide to radio my coworker.)

Coworker: “Is there a problem?”

Me: “Yeah… Um, you’re not going to believe this… but I think there’s a dog loose in the library.”

Coworker: *after a pause* “You let a dog into the library?”

Me: “No! Nobody’s come through the front doors in at least two hours, and I didn’t see anybody come in with a dog. I don’t know how it got in.”

(Another coworker, who has been listening in on the radio, decides to pipe in:)

Coworker #2: “You let a dog into the library?”

Me: “No! I don’t know how it got in!”

Coworker #1: “Where is it now?”

Me: “I think it’s in Study Room B.”

Coworker #2: “I’ll go check it out.”

Coworker #1: “All right. Radio back when you know what’s going on.”

(The coworker arrives a few minutes later and walks into the study room where I saw the dog enter. I hear her shout something unintelligible, and then her voice comes back on the radio)

Coworker #2: “It s*** all over the place!”

Coworker #1: *on the radio* “The dog did?”

Coworker #2: “Of course it was the dog!”

Me: “We hope it was the dog…”

Coworker #1: “All right, I’m coming down. Where is the dog now?”

Coworker #2: “Not in Study Room B. But he’s been here. He left his mark.”

Me: “I haven’t seen him come back this way, either.”

(My coworkers lock up Study Room B to be cleaned, and then do a sweep of the floor. They can’t find the dog, but they do find more of its feces scattered around the library, mostly in study rooms. Finally, they radio back to me.)

Coworker #1: “You’re sure this is a dog?”

Me: “You think a person is doing this?”

Coworker #1: “I guess not. It’s just…”

(He pauses.)

Me: “Just what?”

Coworker #2: “There’s a lot of s***, [My Name]. So much s***. It’s everywhere. This dog knows what he’s doing.”

(I try not to laugh as my coworkers frantically continue their search. Just as I’m about to radio in for an update, a white blur passes in my periphery, and I turn to see the dog darting beneath the wide central staircase, which is just a few yards from my post by the door.)

Me: *radioing* “Guys! He just went under the stairs! Do you want me to go try to grab him?”

Coworker #1: “No! Stay by the door. You need to watch for students. Just stay where you are; we’re coming to you!”

(They both come bolting down the stairs, and as they turn to duck under the steps to look for the dog, the dog darts back out the other side and goes running for an open study room opposite the stairs.)

Coworker #2: “No! Not in there! That’s one of the only rooms he hasn’t gotten yet!”

(I get up from my post to help give chase, but as [Coworker #1] passes me, he motions for me to sit back down. Begrudgingly, I obey. They chase the dog into the empty study room… and then back out again. They chase him around the floor for several minutes before the dog hops up the stairs and heads to the second floor. My coworkers frantically follow.)

Coworker #2: *on the radio again* “[My Name], watch the stairs. If he comes back your way, you ditch the doors and grab him. It’s time we put an end to this.”

(I suddenly hear someone shouting from the second floor. Concerned, I radio in to ask if everything is okay.)

Coworker #2: “The dog just blasted feces all over the Help Desk. I think there’s something wrong with this dog!”

(At that moment, I see a student swipe his card at the outer doors and enter the library. He walks up to me and shows me his card, as usual, then looks around.)

Student: “Hey, have you seen a little white dog in here?”

Me: “Yes! We’ve been trying to catch him for an hour. Is he yours?”

Student: “Yeah, I dropped him off.”

Me: “You… what?”

Student: “I said I dropped him off. Is he ready to leave?”

(I’m too dumbfounded for a moment to answer, and the student then turns to face the library and begins shouting.)

Student: “Gizmo! Gizmo, c’mere! C’mere, boy!”

(To my astonishment, the dog casually appears at the top of the stairs and makes his way down toward his owner. My coworkers follow, running at first, until they see that the dog is being beckoned by his owner. They slowly head toward us, visibly distraught by the entire experience, as the owner picks up his dog.)

Student: “Hey, Gizmo! Time to go!”

Coworker #1: “Hey, wait a minute!”

Student: “Oh, yeah? What’s up?”

Coworker #1: “That’s your dog?”

Student: “Yes.”

Coworker #1: “You can’t bring a dog into the library.”

Student: “I didn’t. I dropped him off.”

Coworker #1: “Well, he caused a huge disruption and damaged several of our study rooms. We’ve had to close them and they’ll need to be hosed down.”

Student: “I’m sorry. I didn’t think he’d be a problem.”

Coworker #2: “Well, he was! He defecated all over the library.”

Student: “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. But what do you want me to do?”

([Coworker #1], not quite sure how to handle this situation, ultimately decides to take the student’s information in case he may be asked to help pay for the cleaning that will be required. Still seemingly oblivious to the huge disruption that’s been caused by him and his dog, the student leaves, and my coworkers and I stand back for a moment to collect ourselves.)

Coworker #2: “Well, that was different.”

Coworker #1: “What is wrong with people? Did he think this was a doggy daycare or something?”

Me: “Honestly, I’m more concerned about what was wrong with that dog.”

Coworker #2: “Maybe he fed it after midnight.”

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