1965-09-02 - The Details
Summary: Lindon and Rosemarie talk over lunch, and later he sneaks her back to his work space.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lindon rosemarie 

Summer's on its way out. On the fringes of the big city, the ribbons of migrating waterfowl take up their calling as they travel south, anticipating the snows to come. It's still warm in New York, so why not take lunch outside while the sun still shines? The midday meal break finds two of the public library's librarians outside at a small dual-seated bench, one of the durable plastic mesh kind. Rosemarie brought her lunch, as she usually does, and is in the process of unwrapping a tuna salad sandwich from its wax paper packaging as she says to her coworker,

"And then Diana tells me that she vomited all over the guy's shoes. I…" The brunette laughs, unable to speak for a second. "Lindon, I wasn't expecting that at all. She didn't like hearing me tell her that I wasn't surprised that her date didn't call her back." Poor vapid front-desk librarian, that Diana, more concerned about looks and shoes than logging her hours correctly, much less keeping track of books.

Lindon unwraps his egg salad sandwich. The man can afford fine suits and exquisite cuisine, but it's tweed and simple sandwiches for him when it comes to work. It's a place for a man to feel normal, after all. Even though somewhere around here is an invisible night stalker who shoots bad guys hiding, watching for any sign of danger while the archivist takes his meal. No one needs to know about that part.

He laughs a little and says, "I think even I would be able to pick up on that." He lowers his voice as he confides, "Sometimes I just don't know about her. The customers seem to like her, but I can't imagine why. She doesn't know where anything is." She's nice to look at, though.

Rosemarie nods as she folds the wax paper carefully again around the bottom of the sandwich. Must keep the tuna salad from falling free. She was thoroughly harassed by Lola this morning making it; the flame-point Balinese was very certain that at least a portion of the sandwich's filling was hers and hers alone.

"I think her best skill is in PR — in talking with the customers. She's charming…in her way, and that keeps them from complaining about late fees," the librarian explains. "Anything exciting to report from Collections? I'm glad that they have you working back there. You seem happier for it." She smiles, her freckled cheeks perking.

Lindon knows well the 'help' of Balinese cats. Even egg salad is enough to draw starving little mews. Then there's Puck. He's… he's a growing boy. He needs his eggs. Lindon balances the sandwich carefully in his long-fingered hands so that there is no escape out the paper-covered bottom.

Lindon perks up at the question and says, "Oh, yes. I'm translating the scroll." He respects Rosemarie enough to assume that, unlike Diana, she will have heard of the scroll. Because Rosemarie is the real deal. Still, the pedantic in him explains, "The 10th Century Babylonian scroll from the estate sale."

Wiping at her mouth with the napkin packed in her lunchbox, the brunette nods and her eyes gain an interested light.

"Right! I remember hearing about that! I thought Bart was going to have a seizure, he was so excited. What's it about? Like, what's on it? Is it some secret, ancient spell that turns us all into frogs or something? she asks, leaning in almost conspiratorially. She giggles, despite herself, knowing full well that the likelihood of this particular instance is very, very slim.

Lindon grins and says, "It's not that interesting, unfortunately." He takes a bite of his sandwich, chewing thoroughly before he swallows. "It was written around the time the city of Babylon was being disassembled, and the bricks were being sent off to build Basra and Baghdad. It's an order for a building to be torn down to build a mosque in Basra."

He takes another bite, a smaller one, and after he swallows, he adds, "I'm still trying to figure out what the building being torn down was. Unfortunately, without knowing where in Babylon it was found, it's a challenge to work it out. Someone just took it and brought it to the United States, so we'll never know."

Rosemarie's warm brown eyes linger on Lindon as he explains his findings. She nods sympathetically for the conundrum placed before him, chewing as she listens. A stray side thought is a mental note to add more dill next time she makes the tuna salad filling. She dabs again at her lips before setting down the sandwich on her napkin. There are potato chips to enjoy next in their small crinkly bag. Nearby, a crow on the lawn definitely watches for the luck of fallen scraps, beady eyes glinting.

"That is a shame," she agrees as she opens the bag. A bit more strength than necessary means a lost chip. The crow notes this, but is otherwise patient. "Oops. Well, at least he'll like it," she says, meaning the bird. "Do you know anyone you can call and ask? Maybe at one of the museums in the city?"

"I'm going to try researching the family that donated it," Lindon says, "and cross-reference it with expeditions at the time of its likely discovery. The owner kept it in a humidity-controlled room. He knew what he was doing. I suspect he was probably known within the antiquities community."

Lindon, the eternal sucker, tears some crust off his bread and tosses it toward the crow. "There, he might like that," he says. "Though I feel kind of weird giving him egg salad. Do you think it's too much like cannibalism?" And other thoughts that keep Lindon awake at night.

"That's a good idea." Rosemarie puts another potato chip in her mouth and glances over as the crust flies through the air. The black bird eyes it in momentary suspicion before hopping forwards, boink-boink, snagging it, and immediately making off with it into a nearby tree. Mmm, delicious sandwich crust, score! It's enough to make her grin and look back to Lindon.

"Careful, you'll make friends you may regret later. I hear they're smart." The bird is totally involved with the crust now and ignoring them entirely. Within her blood, the Otherness perks at the similar avian form. With gentle mental practice, the librarian wills the alien sentience to quietude; yes, yes, wings and feathers, calm down.

Lindon smiles and shakes his head. "I won't regret it. Always treat the corvids in your neighborhood well. They'll remember it." The library is sort of his neighborhood, given how much time he spends there. He munches on more sandwich, watching the bird with its eggy crust. Well, if the bird doesn't seem to mind that it's egg…

"There's been some interest in the scroll," he mentions. "I hope I get to show it off before the Met swoops down and snatches it up. I can feel them breathing down my neck."

"I'll remember that." Rosemarie glances over at the tree again to see what the crow's up to, but it has finished its crust and now wings away across the street, headed for the nearest fast food joint. The lure of dropped french fries is strong. She looks back to Lindon and frowns lightly.

"The Met? Wow. I mean…I shouldn't be surprised, but still. I think Mrs. Ketch won't let them take it before the library gets to display it. They'd underestimate her stubbornness." Indeed, the hawk-like matron of the library is never one to cross if can be managed. Kate Ketch, ruler of all book-dom.

"I'll never bet against Mrs. Ketch," Lindon says solemnly. "But you know what they're like. They think it's not technically a book so we should hand it over right away. They're only not pushing it because I actualy read Arabic." At least his superior brain can figure it out well enough. No one needs to know the details.

He smiles, gazing out at the street without really seeing it, lost in thought as he is. "I would pay to see that, Mrs. Ketch against the Met. Muhammed Ali eat your heart out."

That last comment plus the accompanying visual is enough to make Rosemarie get to laughing. With her mouth full of potato chip, she has to hold up a hand or elsewise flash the half-masticated mess. Still, she giggles on, even succumbing to one single snort.

"Oh…oh geez, yes. I wouldn't be the one running the betting ring, but I'd be sure to see if Bart would start one. He doesn't like the Met either. Has he ranted to you about?" She reaches into her brown paper bag and pulls out a glass bottle of Dr. Pepper. Unscrewing the lid carefully as not to disturb the carbonation, she then takes a sip. "Mmm." A swallow. "Ask him about it if you want to be entertained."

Lindon nods as he says, "Oh yes. Yes, Bart and I have commiserated at great length." He smiles as he adds, "Bart's got to bat for me keeping the scroll til I'm done with it." He finishes his sandwich, and once that's done, he takes an apple from his bag.

"Do you want to see it?" Lindon asks. "The scroll? I'm working with it when we go back inside. If you find a reason to sneak into the back, I'll get you into the viewing room." He lifts his head, maybe a little proud that he can pull those strings.

Rosemarie lifts her brows, her mouth pulling into a small bud of surprise briefly.

"Oh, g-gosh, Lindon, yes! Oh, I'd love to see it," she emphasizes, her voice gone small and excited. She sip of her soda again before setting it aside. There are still potato chips to find at the bottom of the small bag. "I'm sure I can figure out something. Maybe I…have a book to put away back there? Or maybe…" She suddenly snaps her fingers, her cinnamon-brown eyes going briefly golden in her fervor. "Yes. I do have to check in with Bart about something. I remember the memo from yesterday." She beams. Excuse garnered.

Lindon smiles broadly, with genuine pleasure. He's not much of a flirt, but there's a genuine sincerity to him. "Great! When you get back there, come to the reading room and I'll meet you at the door. Just make sure you wash your hands first, and there will be gloves and a mask." She won't get in trouble if Lindon vouches, surely.

He tosses the apple in one hand, catches it in the other, and says, "You're going to love it. It's so cool." Then he crunches into the apple.

"I can't wait." The brunette is sincere in her enthusiasm as well. Having already dealt with a rare document earlier in the year, it's a spark of renewed and familiar interest to be able to see this fabled scroll hidden away in Collections under the watchful and moderately dragon-esque eye of Bart.

"How old is it really? Can you tell? Or guess?" Potato chips, gone. She returns to her sandwich, intent on finishing this off now. Wax paper crinkles, but she listens as she eats.

Lindon beams. He swallows, licks apple juice fro his lips, and says, "Great! I figure my convention buddy should get some special perks." There was that time they spent in St. Louis, after all. Rosemarie isn't just any coworker. She's put up with travel-fussy Lindon and didn't strangle him.

He considers her question. "I think it was genuinely written in the 10th Century. Probably early to mid, given the timing of the request. Babylon didn't last muc longer after that."

"Wow." She breathes the word in honest awe around half a mouthful of tuna salad sandwich before realizing it. "Oops, sorry," Rosemarie says from behind her hand now, blushing a little under her freckles. "It must be very delicate to the touch. Do you work from it or from pictures you've taken?"

The last bite disappears and she crumples up the wax paper before depositing it in the bag. No drinks at the desks, so she has to work at the Dr. Pepper now. Mmm, sugary caffeinated drink to save her in the later hours of her shift.

Lindon finishes his apple, and he tucks the core into the bag to throw away. He has a thermos of tea, and he pours himself some into the handle that is also a cup. It already has the honey in it. "They limit the number of pictures," Lindon says. "So they don't get into the public, but I get a better translation if I'm looking at the scroll itself. We're really lucky it's in such good condition." Focusing on the artifact makes it easier for his mind to pinpoint its creation in human history. But no one needs to know the details.

"I might be the only one who gets to read it in a long time," Lindon says, as if it's just occurring to him. "Of course I'm going to publish the translation. There won't be any more need for anyone to poke or prod at it."

"I think that's a good idea," Rosemarie says after hiding away a small burp in her elbow. Soda pop does have those bubbles in it. "Sharing the translation. It's not common, but I do have college students from Columbia coming to ask me about information about the cultures of the deserts, like the Egyptians and such. I think someone will be happy to read what you've translated at one point."

Lindon bows his head as he says, "Gosh, I'm just happy to be able to contribute in whatever small way. Maybe some historian with more context than I have will be able to read it and figure out more about what it means. Like figuring out what building was being destroyed."

After his tea, he screws the lid back on the thermos and says, "If you like, we can go see it now. I bet whoever wrote it never thought a bunch of people in the future would be treating a work order like a priceless artifact."

Having finished her last mouthful of Dr. Pepper, Rosemarie's quick to nod her head even as she swallows and then coughs.

"Sorry, it tickles," says she, referencing her nose and the carbonation. "Yes, Lindon, I'd love to go see it today. I'll meet you back there? I have one thing to do first at my desk. Give me…" She pauses as she looks around to find the nearest garbage can. "Maybe twenty minutes?" Her brown eyes flick back to the other librarian, bright and friendly.

"That'll be plenty of time to get it set up," Lindon says. He gets to his feet, and he offers Rosemarie a hand up. "I'll get the room ready. We'll just tell Bart about it later." Easier to ask forgiveness than permission. "And maybe not mention it to Diana." He really does try to limit exposure to the woman. Nothing personal. It's just mental torture trying to explain things to her.

Rosemarie laughs despite herself at the comment in regards to Diana and only feels slightly bad about it. Taking the hand up, she then says,

"My lips are sealed," and she mimes turning a key at one side of her mouth. Waving a little wave at Lindon, she then walks away across the lawn to throw away her lunch-bag. Whether or not they enter together, both must go their separate ways for those twenty minutes to deal with the minutiae of their respective jobs. Diana is none the wiser when the brunette is finally able to slip back towards Collections. She looks about, hoping to see Lindon. After all, he must let her in past a certain point as well as provide the mask and gloves.

Lindon throws away his brown paper lunch bag and heads back inside. He washes up and gets to the scroll's reading room. The humidity is kept just so, and there are cloth gloves and a mask for him to don, as well as a white coat that is clean of random debris. He's like a doctor back there.

When he sees Rosemarie, he comes to let her in, and he signs her in so it's all official. Gloves and mask are offered up, and he says, "It's over here on the table." On the table, there is an unassuming scroll of paper unspooled and held in place neatly. "Here it is," he says with an air of reverence.

Emitting a soft squeak of excitement, Rosemarie follows her fellow bookworm into Collections and officially behind the scenes. Donning the appropriate gear of mask, gloves, and a borrowed lab coat in her size, she ducklings along after him further. She gasps behind her mask and puts the pristine gloves over it briefly.

"Oh L-Lindon. W-W-Wow." It's apparently enough to make her stutter. She walks over and lingers over it. So very carefully, she reaches out to gently touch the edge of it. It feels fine and just as an incredibly-old item should. "This is v-very w-wonderful. So old! The writing is s-so d-d-different."

Lindon stands proudly, tall and gazing down from some height, like a father pleased with his offspring. This scroll is his baby. "Can you believe the condition it's in? At least the person who had it took care of it. It's always a tragedy when we get books or, in this case, scrolls that have been mistreated."

He comes around the table and gestures here and there without actually touching the inked paper. "If you look here and here, you can see where the quill dripped, just a little. It's little human touches like these that make me so happy."

Rosemarie half-follows the man around the table, leaning in and looking at where he points. Indeed, there are the small dark spatterings of excess ink on the page. She can almost envision the writing utensil moving from inkwell to vellum.

"Wow," she breathes. Word of the shift, that one. "They t-took very g-good care of this. I c-can't imagine owning something l-like this. It'd b-be…well, it'd b-be stressful," and she laughs behind her mask as she straightens, her smile hidden but for in her dark eyes.

Lindon glances up at Rosemarie, and his eyes turn to crescents as he smiles. "I can't have something like this. I have cats." Alas, there's no keeping them out of the library for very long. "But that's why I love working here. I can come to work and look at stuff like this."

Lindon offers Rosemarie a magnifying glass, round with a handle, just like in the private-eye cartoons. "Here we go, you can get a closer look. Pay attention to the texture of the paper. It was state of the art for the time."

Taking the offered magnifying glass, Rosemarie then proceeds to observe what she can. Indeed, time and gentle wear-and-tear have left their mark on the scroll, but the fine crystals in the ink glisten and the material itself is hale.

"I have a feeling that Lola m-might want to try and eat this, if I had something l-like it at home." She glances over at Lindon, again smiling in her dark eyes beneath the mask. "You've got cats. You understand."

Lindon nods solemnly. "Oh yes. I have two Balinese and one whose breed I'm uncertain of, but I'm sure it involves a lynx or perhaps moose. They'd make quick work of this." His two loves at eternal odds: cats and fragile things.

"You know," Lindon says, lowering his voice (not that there is anyone else here to hear them), "I could probably sneak you a copy of the pictures. Under wraps, of course, for your private collection."

"Oh g-g-g-g-gosh!" Now Rosemarie chatters through the word like a semi-automatic. No spitting, however, even behind the safety of the archival mask — just wide eyes and her frozen with the magnifying glass still held over the scroll. "I w-w-would love some, Lindon! I'd hide them aw-w-way, n-n-no one would know!" It will be their own little secret and Diana will never even have an inkling of the exchange.

"I figured you would," Lindon says, and he sounds so pleased. It lilts in his tone, and his eyes make those happy crescents like when he's smiling. "After all, you're my colleague, and you know they'll keep it locked up tight at the Met until some off-chance a 10th Century Middle East exhibit comes along. At least this way, you'll get to see it whenever you want." Those little jabs at the Met, how Bart has been getting to him.

The magnifying glass is set off to one side and Rosemarie looks down at the scroll, nodding.

"Y-Yes. That will b-be very nice. You'll see it ag-gain though," she says soothingly, smiling back at Lindon across the table. "The Met w-won't keep it safely away for f-forever. They l-like to d-do exhibits about the ancient w-world. I like their l-latest one on the G-Greeks. Did you g-go see that one?"

"Oh, yeah, my housemate and I went to that one," Lindon says. "Did you go? It was actually really interesting." Lindon's feelings regarding the Met are complicated, okay, Bart? It can't always be resentment. Lindon fusses the magnifying glass back into its place, and he gives the scroll a cursory glance to make sure it's still as pristine as ever. Which it is. "I wouldn't mind going to see it again."

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