Saturday, January 12, 2013

Some Assembly Required, Part II

For part I, click here.

Having a mannequin in the library made things more interesting. We dressed her like a tourist and put out travel books. We dressed her like an Egyptian goddess and displayed books on Egypt and mummies. One time, we put her in a trench coat and fedora and showcased mystery books.

At first, Trixie traveled around the library while Cheri tried to decide where she was most visible but least in the way.  The patrons loved it. The other library workers and I were less enthusiastic.

“I keep catching her out of the corner of my eye,” I said.

“Like she’s a patron over there, waiting for someone to help her,” Carla agreed.

“You should see her when we close at night,” said Stephanie. “Standing there… in the dark…”

She didn’t stand still, either. Bits fell off at the slightest provocation. A light nudge would dislodge a hand or a leg. Curious children would scream in horror as appendages rained down around them. One of the arms sat on Cheri’s desk for nearly a week while she contemplated a better way to attach them. “I’m glad to see you embracing your second amendment rights,” I said.

One morning before the library opened, Cheri put the finishing touches on the New Years display of diet and workout books. “I got workout clothes for Trixie to wear,” she said, as Karyn brought out Trixie’s armless torso from a back room where she’d been put away.

“I dropped her head,” said Karyn, backtracking. “It’s in the kitchen.”

Cheri surveyed the scene. “We’ll have to take her off the base to get these pants on,” she said, when Karyn returned.

“That shouldn’t be too hard, since the pants are stretchy,” said Karyn.

A moment of silence followed. “Are they supposed to be stretchy?” said Cheri.

“Workout pants generally are,” said Karyn.

“How would I know that?” said Cheri. “Like I would ever do extra physical work outside the home?”

Behind the circulation desk, Carla and I stifled giggles. “What,” I said, “so if it’s inside the home, you workout naked? Is that what I’m hearing?”

Cheri laughed, but Karyn grew serious, “My brother-in-law did that! On his treadmill at home, he worked out naked, but then he fell and damaged the goods and used that as his excuse to never workout again.”

They struggled with the workout pants, which were not as stretchy as one would hope. “It looks like I’m getting intimate with this naked mannequin,” Karyn said, as she lifted Trixie higher. “Do you see where my hands are?” The two of them cackled gleefully.

Eventually, I went over to help them. “If tiny Korean immigrants in shops can dress a mannequin, so can you,” I said encouragingly, giving the pants a tug.
As we lowered her back onto her base, I stood back. “Dang, she makes these pants look good.”

“She looks like she works out, doesn’t she?” said Cheri, admiring our efforts.

“Either that or she has an eating disorder. I’ve never actually seen her eat.” We slipped on her shirt. “You couldn’t have ordered a chubby mannequin, to make us all feel better?” I said.

“We could have got one with bigger breasts,” said Cheri.

“Yeah, there was an option to select the breast size,” said Karyn.

“Because that’s the kind of thing that’s a priority when you’re ordering an artificial person,” I said, trying to keep the edge of sarcasm out of my voice, going back to the opening duties behind the desk.

Karyn fixed Trixie’s hair in a stylish ponytail, suitable for aerobics at the Y.

“Perfect,” said Cheri. “Do we have a sweat band for her?”

“It really HAS been a long time since you worked out,” said Karyn. “No one uses those anymore!”

“I do,” I said from the desk, but they didn’t seem to hear me.

“Well, what do you do when you get sweaty?” Cheri asked.

“You sweat! That’s how people know you’re working hard!” said Karyn.

“I’ve got one I could bring if you want,” I said, but was again ignored.

“Trixie doesn’t sweat,” said Karyn. “She’s one of those people who looks fantastic no matter how hard she works out.”

“Yes, I can tell,” said Cheri.

As they headed away toward their offices, Carla and I shook our heads. “Let’s see,” said Carla. “This morning we’ve already discussed breast sizes, scraping junk on a treadmill, hands in crotches… did I miss anything?”

“No, that about covers it,” I said.

“And we haven’t even opened yet.”

“Yeah,” I sighed, smiling. “I love this job.”

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