5/6/09

Laura Ellen Scott

The Temple Dog (for Michelle Reale)

Ricky the ex-porn star went to the wrong library when Family Friendly Libraries was absorbed into Parents Against Bad Books In Schools and he started getting action now emails from all over creation. It was confusing. The back of his Escalade was loaded with Cyberporn=Genocide signs, and Pickle Pie The Second, his hyper-spastic mini pin mix, leapt up and down in the passenger's seat like a weasel on fire. Ricky left the window cracked for her.

Ricky didn’t know he’d gone to the wrong library and just assumed he was the last noble man. Besides, what really mattered was the fact that librarians preferred pornography over patriotism. He passed through the foyer and nodded to the woman behind the desk. At the first available terminal he googled librarians + pornography and left the results up on the screen.

The Librarian looked at Ricky as if he were scum.

She was hot. He asked her out for coffee.

She said "No" and "Ssshhhh."

Then a bum peered over the carrel at Ricky. The bum's runny eyes went bright, and his head began to wobble in a homely rhythm. "Unh, unh, unnngh," said the bum, with one hand jammed down his pants to tickle himself. His other went in his pocket to tickle a gun.

Bang? Outside in the parking lot, Pickle Pie 2 bounced around the interior of the SUV, attracting a crowd of skate kids who heard a gunshot but ignored it. PP2 jumped up on the dash and screamed into the vents. She jumped into the rear and scrabbled across the signs, yowling as if she'd been skewered. Hands cupped around their eyes, the punks peeked into the back where they read the signs, mocked the message, and taunted the little beast. Pickle Pie lost her balance on a holocaust poster and pissed in a spiral arc as she tumbled to the floor mat.

Proclaimed: "Awesome!"

Inside, the Librarian forgot to scowl at Ricky because she was being robbed. The bum, demented, pointed his handgun at her. He’d already shot up into the ceiling to prove it was worth taking him seriously.

She offered him petty cash. He didn’t want that.

Ricky approached the bum, startling everyone. Without a trace of irony the gunman shot first and asked questions later: "Who the hell are you? I know, I know!" This, as Ricky lay bleeding on the tile across painted dinosaur foot prints.

Outside, through the cracked window of the vehicle, skate punks swiped Pickle Pie The Second. They took her to the woods and fed her Cheetos. They spirited her away to be the skate punk bitch queen.

Inside, the Librarian knelt by Ricky as his organs shut down, one by one. While she thanked him for his heroism, she failed to love him. He told her that he used to act in pornographic movies before he was saved. He asked her if she thought she was a patriot.

She began to love him just a little. Nice, but too late. From far away Ricky heard Pickle Pie 's cries, short bursts of anger bent over a moment like a librarian bent over a desk in a pornographic movie. Then those cries stretched thin, thin into goodbye music. Unbearable, no? That damn dog had learned to sing:

Heavenly shades of night are falling . . .


Laura Ellen Scott has stories forthcoming in Northville Review, decomP, and the Paycock Press anthology, Gravity Dancers: Even More Fiction by Washington Area Women. She teaches at George Mason University.

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