A Common Criminal

The primary reason that we have been telling everyone that we moved across the country is to be closer to our families. This is a lie. The real reason that we moved, nay, had to move, from Washington State is that Mary is a common criminal.

In 2010 when Mary was back in Philly with the kids and I was in Sequim, a couple of older women wearing drab calve-length skirts, white blouses buttoned to the top, black orthopedic shoes, and thick horn rimmed glasses, came knocking at the door. I opened the door. In low monotone voices they held up a photo and asked, "Excuse me sir, do you know this person?"

I looked down a saw a photo of Mary crouched down behind a bookshelf. I hesitated, then asked, "Well, maybe, it's hard to make out a face behind the big stack of fiction. Why do you want to know?"

"We have our reasons and we'll ask the questions." said the tall one. The short one smirked. The tall one said "Does this person that you may or may not know live here?"

"My wife lives here, as do our three kids, but they are not here now"

"That's convenient. Do you know when they will be back?

"Ummm...they are on an open ended visit to the east coast. They'll be back later this summer, I don't know exactly when."

"Fine. We'll come back later." they said. They turned, walked through our front gate, and rode off on their vintage 1965 Schwinn Breeze 3-Speed Women's bikes with big baskets on the front.

I went inside and called Mary right away. I got her on the phone and told her about the strange interlude that I just had with a couple of very strange women.

"Damn. They found me."

"Who found you?"

"The library."

"The library?"

"Yeah, I owe them some money."

"Well that's no big deal, I'll walk down to the library and write them a check."

"That won't help. You didn't get to close to them did you? You could probably take out Margret, but Stumpy bites."

"What, you know these people? Stumpy?"

"Yeah, Margret and Stumpy are library detectives. They've been after me for a while."


"We need to talk."

So over the next 4 hours and forty-seven minutes, Mary laid out all of her altercations with the library enforcement officers. It turns out the scene from the Woody Allen movie where the police tell Wood Allen "to come out with your hands up and kick the book in front of you" was based on a real life event that Mary had with Margret and Stumpy back in Philly. Apparently, that is where Mary learned that Stumpy bites.

After learning about all of Mary's library problems, we decided that it would be easier to pick up and move, than to try to come clean back in Washington. So, when Mary and the kids returned from vacation in the summer of 2010, we quickly loaded up a trailer and moved Mary and the kids into hiding in West Chester. We put Mary into a treatment program and put an ankle bracelet on that would shock her if she got within 200' of a public library.

All is well, or so we thought. Last week, William and I went down to the West Chester public library to checkout a few books. It seems that Mary has gotten a new account using the names of the children. When William and I walked in and handed the librarian our card, red lights started flashing and the doors to the building automatically locked. Margret and Stumpy dropped down from the ceiling repelling on long ropes with night vision goggles and red-laser beam bar code readers attached to the belts of their drab tweed skits.

"Well, Mr. Rogers, we meet again" Margret said.

"This must be William. Come with me." She pointed to me and said, "You stay here with Beatrice." This time Stumpy smiled, revealing a grill with little golden books inlaid in the front teeth. Then she grabbed my arm with a grip that would impress Pop-eye. I looked down at her wrist and saw a tattoo that said "It's a book bust - Bitches!"

"Beatrice?" I snickered. The smile went away then she leaned over and bit my elbow.

In the back room they told William that if he didn't rat out his mom he wouldn't be able to check out any more Animorphs or dinosaur books. He screamed as if he were having bamboo spikes driven under his fingernails. "I'll tell you anything, just let me have my card back!" William cried. 

A half hour later, they are hauling Mary out of the house, bite marks on her elbows. The total from her West Chester rap sheet is $55.10. They haven't calculated what she owes in Washington State, but it is sure to balance out the state budget. If you see Mary out and about, and it looks like she is heading to a public library, please help her out by taking her to Starbucks or something. Do anything you can to keep her away from the library, as it never works out well when she goes there.

See her mug shots here