It was already dark when I reached the library’s third floor. The library itself was still open and brightly lit, but empty. Hurriedly, I headed for the desk full of screens and keyboards, to type the title of the book I was looking for.
While I found a screen near the information desk, my brain registered something odd. I slightly turned my head, so I could skim the area out of the corner of my eyes.
Sure enough: an outfit slowly moved from the farthest corner towards the information desk. Definitely not in a beeline, but staggering steadily closer. An accompanying murmur occasionally broke out in loud declamations.
The information desk was not manned. Security must be touring another floor. Any customers were either hiding behind the furthest bookcases, or had already scuttled towards the safety of other floors.
“Don’t make eye contact”, my brain ordered me. I huddled over the nearest screen, searching its blackness for information as if my life depended on this. But outfit had spotted me and abandoned an unsteady cruising for a fast forward, direct line.
Desperately, I scanned the floor to see if any feet were hidden by bookcases. No joy, all was deserted. Security remained occupied elsewhere, staff must have gone home, customers had evaporated. It was me and the outfit.
“RADIO ISRAEL HAS THE BEST RASTA MUSIC!” outfit declared more and more loudly, as he drew nearer. “RADIO ISRAEL HAS THE BEST RASTA MUSIC!”
This niche of the world is pretty far removed from Israel. My radio barely picks up the BBC World Service. Rasta music is not my thing. I was on a collision course.
Outfit increased speed and volume and now bleared non stop at full voice “RADIO ISRAEL HAS THE BEST RASTA MUSIC IN THE WORLD!” No idea what kind of antennea he used, but he was clearly orbiting earth, heading into space.
My brain was in overdrive. Suddenly, I remembered a song by Sting. Maybe not your thing, but I remembered an interview in which he claimed Sister Moon had been inspired by a similar situation. Reciting a Shakespeare sonnet had saved him. It was a case of behaving more irate, than the irate.
Querulously, outfit stopped right in front of me. He opened his mouth, so I stared straight into the bush of hair above his suit. “My Mistress’ eyes … ” I started off. Increasing my volume, I continued “ARE NOTHING LIKE THE SUN!”
Outfit’s mouth dropped wide open.
He stared at me in total shock.
Loudly, I continued “CORAL IS FAR MORE RED!”
Outfit looked desperately at the abandoned information desk.
He took in the five blank screens. It was truly him and me.
Very slowly, so as not to provoke this mad woman, he took a step back.
Very carefully, he circled the abandoned information desk.
Desperately he whispering “Radio Israel has the best rasta music.”
Then he ran for the escalator. Before his head disappeared beneath the floor, it turned slightly so he could check from the corner of his eyes, if Sister Moon was pursuing him.
Over ten minutes later, I was skimming a bookcase to locate the book. From somewhere outside and far down below, a loud voice boomed up to the third floor.
Defiantly it announced: “RADIO ISRAEL REALLY HAS THE VERY, VERY BEST RASTA MUSIC IN THE WORLD!!”