ENCOUNTER WITH A LIBRARIAN
Starsky prowled along the aisles: books to right and left, books ahead
and behind him. Among all these, there had to be something to satisfy his
curiosity concerning Rene Nadasy and to confound his partner's skepticism.
Starsky was no stranger to the library. He was a cardholder, a regular
patron, legally qualified to prowl and to borrow. The shelves where he stood
offered information on soil erosion and desert vegetation. Not what he
sought. He felt that it shouldn't be so baffling: a detective ought to be
able to track down the location of a book. The search was yielding varied
and irrelevant information, but time was short. Better ask...even a trained
detective had his sources.
He approached the desk where other seekers after knowledge were also
congregated, and waited in line for expert help. The librarian was happy to
come to his rescue. Her manner was friendly; her name badge said 'Janice'.
"Good morning," she greeted him. "How may I help
"I'd like a book," he began.
"Yes," she encouraged. "Title? Author?"
"Don't know those," he confided. "I need -- uh --
something about vampires." The simple statement seemed to have made him
an immediate cynosure.
"Vampires?" she repeated, unduly loudly, he felt. "Did you
look in the catalog?" she went on. "Check the microfiche. They'll
give you the classification and the shelf number -- the location."
The helpless act paid off. She got up from her desk, came around to join
"We'll try legends. And some of the eastern European history should
help. And Sociology." He followed along as she indicated all the likely
places and left him happily browsing. A half-hour had gone by before he
realized it. These books were engrossing.
Colorful. Pictures, too. It seemed that a lot of learned people had taken
vampires seriously. Enough to convince a doubting partner?
Finally, Starsky reduced the must-haves to just five titles. He carried
the five vast volumes to the checkout desk. "Not more than three on one
card," the clerk reminded.
"That's okay." He'd been prepared for this, and produced a
second card, 'borrowed' from Hutch's place only yesterday. Surely, he'd
rationalized, Hutch couldn't object to something that was for his own good
Glancing at his watch he headed for the library parking lot. Only a
little late. Hutch must have found a way to cover for his unpunctual
arrival. He shifted his load to his other arm and unlocked the Torino.
Before driving off, he checked his pocket...okay. The garlic cloves were
still safely bestowed.