Trapped in the Library Labyrinth

By Chad Leigh Kluck on

Here I sit in the university library like a misplaced book.  I have no clue where I am.  I’ve tried retracing my steps, but that just lead to more unfamiliar territory.  If you read this message, please be aware that I am sending it from a computer somewhere in a deserted room.  I only wanted to do a research report on Byron’s Don Juan, but now I seem to be lost for eternity in an infinite number of levels, sections, and corridors.

The handy library map that they handed me before my trek is now of no use because I have no clue where to begin — or even which way is north.  I am currently missing dinner with my friends at the cafeteria.  All I have to eat is what the vending machine provides me.  Somehow I think this machine was misplaced during the 70s.  It seems to only have Ramblin’ Root Beer in the bottle and a Fritos bag advertising the ’76 Olympics at Innsbruck.

I assume I’ll find the skeleton of the person who was supposed to stock this machine lying in a corridor somewhere.  I’ll probably end up just like them.  After handing me a map and survival guide, the librarians pointed me toward the section for periodicals with the following directions: “Stairwell 1 takes you to level LL, 1, 1.5, 2.5, 2.74, 3, and Level pi.  Stairwell 2 takes you to level SLS, 1N, 2N, 3N, and 4N.  Stairwell 3 takes you to every level that the others do not cover except 1.7S, for which you need to get on elevator A on level 1, take to level 3.4, get on elevator C, take to 2.5, take stairwell 1 to 3, and get on elevator B and take that to level 3.4.  To get to the periodicals alphabetized F through H, you need level 3.4.  When you get off the elevator go past the Special Collections, take a left past the door marked, “No Entrance, if Alarm Sounds Call 555-5555 and Run Like Hell.”

“Then I should be able to find this periodical?” I ignorantly ask.

“If you make it past the enchanter,” the librarian says,  “I think.”

“You think?” I ask.

“Well we have never heard back from anyone we sent up there,” he explains. “Plus, I do not receive hazard pay, so I don’t check.”

“Enchanter?” I ask.

“It could be a myth,” he whispers as if the enchanter might hear him and strike him dead for such a thought.

That was a week ago.  Since then I’ve made friends with a few mice and we are putting together our own Don Juan story.  Perhaps if I am found, either dead or alive, a reenactment of the story will be good enough for the extra credit assignment.  The mouse I named Rabies is a natural Don Juan.

Maybe I will be found alive, but I’m not so sure about that. The old Fritos are starting to make me sick.  Perhaps what I really need is a Global Positioning System; you know, one of those doohickeys that tell you exactly where you are in relation to satellites.

I knew there was a reason why I had never stepped foot in the library.  For three years I have been going to this university, and only once have I checked out a book.  The other times I played it safe and did not venture out of the main reference area.  At least there I was safe under the watchful eye of the librarians.  Plus, there was a window.

I wonder what time it is.  I seem tired, but I dare not sleep.  I know the library gnomes will be out in full force tonight.  Last night they reshelved one of my books while I was sleeping.  It took me all day to find it.

Whatever time it is, I must go.  I promised Rabies and the cast that we would practice Canto IV tonight, or this morning, or whatever the heck time of day it is.  I hope to see daylight again sometime and continue my life outside of the library.  I think I’m lost for good though.