Monday, 19 November 2007

Falsely accused

The Council sent me a threatening letter about an allegedly overdue library book. If I did not return the overdue item within a fortnight, it warned me, "borrowing privileges will be suspended. Daily fine: 15p per adult item." By the time I got the letter the item would have been nearly a month overdue and attracted a fine of over £4; so of course I phoned the library at once and protested my innocence.

After an investigation lasting several minutes the librarian found the book right where it lived, on the fiction shelf under "R", and apologised profusely. I accepted her apology. Afterwards Paddy told me I should have requested compensation: for did this false accusation not cause deep psychological distress to me, bring shame and confusion to the family (me, Paddy and the tabbies) and cast a shadow of local ignominy upon me? People would have pointed as I walked through the town and whispered to each other: "She's been excommunicated, you know." I would have had to buy all my books instead of just most of them. I would have had to move to another county, perhaps change my name.

The book, by the way, was Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts (an author recommended to me by my friend Jack Gordon). This is not her best, and I am not fond of the Irish saga genre, but it was well worth reading, especially for the sex scenes.

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