I seem to have had a day that’s veered between annoying people on purpose through to major foot in mouth moments, with a side order of “would anything else like to fall off this building?”

One of the aspects of my work at the library that tends to elevate my stress levels is managing the maintenance of the buildings – or at least nudging corporate property services to respond when things go bang, clunk, fail to work or let in the weather in ways we’d rather they didn’t.

One of the libraries in my remit has a growing number of issues that may or may not be related, and that seem to causing a domino effect. Every one thing getting fixed seems to then lead to two more cropping up. I spend a lot of my time on the phone or chasing emails.

Staffing issues will always be high on the agenda of course. The last couple of days have had me smiling through gritted teeth, or asking myself why I am even having to challenge individuals on what should be completely obvious issues. At the same time I will continue to defend them from external pressures.

It has left me… a little frazzled around the edges. This has then dulled my ability to operate my own mouth to consider some of the words coming out of it in a timely fashion and instead let some absolute garbage out. Some of those who’ve engaged with me today have therefore been justifiably annoyed at my responses. 

While I’ve apologised where appropriate and we’ve moved on; my brain has of course continued to administer the self-inflicted beatings of remorse and anxiety with its usual gusto long after the fact. I guess if nothing else it’s a sign of acknowledging mistakes; but if it could rein back in now and remember that the world isn’t actually about to implode, it would be helpful.

Who knows what new joys tomorrow will bring?

Short story: Valentine’s Card

“A heart on a card is traditional.” She offered almost apologetically.

“A picture of a stylised one is more generally expected and acceptable than an actual organ dripping on the floor. I only just cleaned that too!” I adopted a mock stern expression to hide the sheer panic bubbling behind my voice.

She advanced on me, carrying the card like a platter. The heart looked fresh, blood still dripping from the openings. I hoped it was a sheep’s heart from the local butcher or something and I wasn’t going to find the remains of a burglar at the bottom of the stairs again.

This is the problem with trying to integrate ethically-divergent entities from exo-valued dimensional spaces into the general populace. They don’t have the social contexts we’ve grown to assume, and adopt a frighteningly literal interpretation of events around them.

Take ‘Alyssa’, who had startled me in my own kitchen with what I assumed was a valentine’s offering. In less enlightened times she would have been banished or burned by ecclesiastical cohorts as a succubus of some description. The horns and tail are generally a good giveaway.

Ever since a small accident with a summoning circle, a backwards-played Cliff Richard single, and a chicken that died unexpectedly of a heart attack while the candles were still being lit, she’s been stuck here and we’ve been trying to pass her off as an au pair from Belgium.

Why Belgium? I panicked when the police came round to investigate the noise complaint. It seemed a good idea at the time, and pretending it was a BDSM session was an easier way of explaining her penchant for calling me Master than identifying her as a denizen of hell.

The local constabulary may look down their noses at kink, but it does stop them asking questions. I might even have saved their lives and possibly immortal souls into the bargain. I’m considerate like that you know.

I reached out and took her somewhat gory tribute from her. My smile softened at how pleased she looked. I was probably safe to sleep in my own bed tonight.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Wherever you are, whoever, or however you love, I hope you have the chance to express it and receive it in the ways that most speak to you and make you happy.

And if you are alone, I hope you are happy and healthy in your own self, because that too is important and valid.

To my partners – you’re awesome, thank you.