It was a warm fall day in the small Texas town of Copperas Cove. The main street was empty. Residents hid behind locked doors. A slight breeze was kicking up dust and a rogue tumbleweed drifted lazily down a sidewalk. It was silent except for the ticking of the clock in the bell tower. Someone coughed in the distance then it was quiet again. A small dog scurried for cover under a porch.
At one end of the street stood Jory Enck, holding a copy of a GED study guide borrowed from the library three years earlier. For all that time he had received notices and warnings to return the book, but he ignored them all. His picture adorned a faded wanted poster that detached itself in the breeze from a nearby pole and landed casually at his feet. He sneered and scoffed at the poster as he defiantly stepped on it with a well worn boot.
At the other end of the street stood a lone deputy, alone and vulnerable, determined to stand up to this scofflaw even as the town's residents shied away when asked to help. He nervously fingered his leather covered ticket pad, ready to draw his pen in a flash. There were long tense moments as the two men faced each other, one determined to defend an institution held dear by everyone in the town, the other in open defiance to the gentle pleadings of the librarian.
Well, it ended badly for Mr. Enck. He was arrested for his overdue book and released on bail a short time later, $200 poorer but wiser about the importance of returning library materials so others can use them too. Of course the 2010 GED was now out of date and useless, but a point had to be made. The residents of this small little Texas town could now return to their quiet ways, secure in the knowledge that if they are put on a waiting list to borrow a book, it will never again take three years to get it.
And they all lived happily ever after. Except Jory Enck, who is now known nationally and will likely be closely watched at every library he ever tries to go in again.