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By Donald Hubbard
Fat flabby arms flapping, Mabel Swing approached the section of the library dedicated to books on dogs and returned three books on the subject, like a priest holding the Body of Christ.
Clete Beezer had returned them late, incurring a dime fine, and it also looked like he ate a huge spaghetti dinner on one of his selections. See, Mabel Swing did judge books by their covers, qualified to do so by her forty seven years as the town librarian, which during school days required her to run the junior high library and on nights, weekends and summers to pull shifts at the Walker Noe Town Library.
Returning back to her front check-out desk, she heard a rumble and a witnessed a breathtaking white light, which drew her outside.
“Oh shit, not this again!”
A nanosecond later, the large alien ship had beamed her up for another round of experiments.
“Instead of poking me with needles and drawing blood like a fucking vampire, could you at least this time give me a good meal, even if it’s the Martian shit you like? Or give me some electrolysis on my face to get rid of all my hair?”
One of the aliens smiled at her and handed her a can of Mountain Dew that they had stolen on their last voyage to the earth. After cutting off a mole on her chin for a biopsy, they beamed her back down to the library lawn.
The unwelcome interlude, though it lasted only 17 minutes, irretrievably altered the landscape of Hale, Connecticut. In her absence, rude adolescents had pulled down books from the shelves, with the more profane Visogoths writing all types of swears in the margins of great literary works like Scouty Gets a Rash. Downstairs, Mabel witnessed townspeople necking and copulating amongst the magazine stack aisles while the Dewey Decimal System spontaneously meandered into Hell.
To save her library, Mabel had to destroy it so she waddled her frame onto a rickety folding wooden chair and lit a match near a fire detector until the sprinklers went off, dispersing the local sinners back to their cars and bicycles.
She contemplated burning down the entire structure, but since she had flooded it, that plan seemed silly. So she dedicated herself to restoring the library, throwing out the waterlogged inventory, while keeping the public away by staging puppet shows, temperance lectures and poetry slams.
She restacked the shelves with her own private collection and with volumes she stole from the libraries of neighboring towns. She slept with an encyclopedia salesman for a free set of Funk and Wagnalls.
Then five minutes before the Grand Re-Opening, the aliens permanently beamed Mabel to their ship; the townspeople who saw her mad cow form lifted away instantly voted to rename her beloved institution the Swing Library, where people thereafter went to swing with various romantic partners while their young children waited upstairs, joyfully scrawling obscenities with crayons into the leaves of the tomes.