top of page
Stack of Magazines

The Interregnum

David Medina

Today I carried five books across the snow. I carried the five hardcover books using both of my hands. I could have easily carried them with one hand—tucking their hard spines into my side—but this brash move had proven dangerous in the past. Not dangerous to myself, of course, but for the books this was a peril of epic proportions. One misstep, you see, and I could have dropped them all easily and effortlessly, forcing them to experience the full effects of gravity’s maliciousness and concrete’s indifference. One misstep, and fingers might be forced into fragile and frail pages, thus bending them forever. No, I had committed these reckless errors too many times in the past and now I knew better than to carry these helpless objects with just one hand. When I arrived at the library I entered and approached the “drop-off” counter. Using the drop-off counter makes me feel frantic and anxious; the way an adrenaline junkie might feel when jumping out of a plane. In all honesty, I’d much prefer jumping out of a plane at 30,000 feet than have to use this corrupt contraption. To say I feel strongly about this drop-off counter would be an understatement. On the surface, however, the counter appears benign: a large, rectangular slot in a desk allows books to fall into an unpadded, cold, hard, vestibule. When a book is dropped into the slot it falls three or four feet directly into the void. “My god, what a fall! What a system! What callous indifference!” These are always my thoughts concerning this process. I have often seen others casually feed this monster book after book. But I cannot bring myself to do the same. I see myself as the book’s steward, their protector during in an interminable interregnum in which reader after reader ferries them from shelf to shelf. I fret and panic thinking about the books landing on their corners, scuffing their bindings, or permanently injuring their spines. Worse still, I panic when I think about a book’s binding opening, subsequently exposing pages to the callus surface of the vestibule and the brash books that ceaselessly rain down. Why would anyone take this uncalculated risk? I, for one, cannot. I always, always, hand the books to a librarian to reshelf. But today the library is busy, and no one is near the counter. I wait, patiently, like the books in my hands. No one approaches. Finally, a young woman who is visibly perturbed approaches me and asks if I need help. I smile and say no and quickly explain that I only need to drop some books off. Without pausing she points a manicured finger at the book pit and says, “just drop them off in there,” and then quickly turns and walks away. I stand in the library dumbfounded and distressed. I stare at the monster’s mouth—the black rectangle of my bibliographic nightmares. I realize that others may need these books more than I do, so, I swallow my fears and drop the books, one at a time, into the void.

Recent Posts

See All


By I.M Bolt


bottom of page