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E S S A Y

🍷 Everyone Was Drunk that Day

Or an old lady

☕️ Rolli
Mar 1 · 3 min read
Illustration by Rolli

War and Peace was overdue again so I carried it back to the library with both hands.

It was October, but it was snowing.

Everyone was drunk that day or an old lady. Three drunks asked me for money, though I only had a pair of quarters on me. The first drunk needed antibiotics for his dog. The second was distraught over his dog needing hip surgery. The third said she had twelve pups and they’d all had puppies. I gave her one of the quarters.

“Riffraff,” said an old lady into her scarf, as she passed. I wasn’t sure if she meant the pup-woman or me.

Illustration by Rolli

Three more drunks were sitting and standing and smoking around the front door of the library.

I went in through the side door.

I slid War and Peace down the book chute. There was a thud and a scream.

I turned. Everyone was staring at a sunburnt man with a backpack. Pacing between the rows and rows of computers.

For some reason, I unzipped my jacket.

“I feel like breaking things and people,” said a dishevelled man to the Reference woman.

“Try Nonfiction,” she said.

The sunburnt man punched the wall and screamed.

The ancient security guard whistled.

The previous spring, when the library reopened (it had been a crime scene), I went to look at the new titles.

I always read the back covers.

“A blinding work of luminous brilliance,” said the one cover.

“A deafening work of thunderous genius,” said another.

“If talent had an odor, this book would obliterate one’s sense of smell.”

On the bottom shelf, a big book with a coming-off spine caught my eye.

War and Peace.

I picked it up with both hands.

The sunburnt man punched the wall again and screamed. That brought me out of it.

I scanned the bookshelves. I’d pretty much read everything.

The librarian heaved War and Peace back onto the shelf.

I thought, What the hell. I was curious how Book One ended.

“I wish I was dead,” said a wobbly man to the Reference woman.

“You might like Poe,” she said.

I hoisted War and Peace onto the checkout counter.

“That’s a good one,” said the librarian.

“You’ve read it?” I said.

“Not all of it,” she said.

The sunburnt man punched the wall and screamed.

The security guard tipped his hat.

“Have a nice day,” he said.

Three drunks were lying and smoking and laughing by the side door. I went out the front door instead.

Right beside the library, an old man slipped on ice.

“My god,” I said. “Are you alright?”

“Spare change?” he said.

I smelled liquor on his breath.

I gave him the other quarter.

“Pathetic,” said an old lady, passing by.

I was pretty sure she meant me.

Author’s Note №1

This essay — rejected by Human Parts, among others — was “not distributed in topics.” Help it earn something by buying me a coffee.

Author’s Note №2

You might like these essays, too:

Author’s Note №3

You might like this book (which can be purchased here):

Rolli

Stories, Poems, Cartoons, Drawings — and More

☕️ Rolli

Written by

Writer of books (SEA-WAVE, KABUNGO). Drawer of cartoons (Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest). Drinker of coffee. Buy me a ☕️ https://ko-fi.com/rolliwrites

Rolli

Rolli

Stories, Poems, Cartoons, Drawings — and More

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