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With the dust had come the fear of fire. Anything that could burn was buried deep, tossed from society like lepers of old. With the dust had come a destructive old-fashioned tensity that drowned modern logic in a rush of panic. Many people had even taken to shaving their heads, arms, legs, groin, free of hair in the fear that one spark or stray flame could ignite them in a pillar of smoke. Some did this on purpose in a madness to meet the new firebug God they believed had taken over the world. But in the wave of dust storms, others had fled to more solid ground. The rocks of reason, free from fire and flood, held fast and so they built a desert.

For a week the elderly man wandered into the deserted library, plucking books off of shelves, and sitting down to read alone. After one day of strenuous searching he hobbled stiffly over to the librarian and asked her a question. Where could he find books on ancient architecture?  The strange question engaged the librarian, only too glad to assist the one and only person to have stepped foot in the library in months, beside herself. A day later he had another question. Where were the books on National Park upkeep? A stranger question even than the last, she was happy to oblige, but grew even more curious.

Finally, on the fourth day, as he hunched over to her small librarians desk at the end of the row of Fiction, D-E, she tipped her bifocal glasses at the old man and peering at him in pinched inquisitiveness. She asked him, what he was really searching for out there in the stacks?

He gazed back at her with a sad smile.

“Just meddling.” He answered matter-of-factly and sighed.

“Oh?” She inquired. But he just smiled and asked for a book on dirt. She directed him to the correct aisle and went back to her desk.

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