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A week later and the librarian stared on as the library was surrounded by trucks. Piles of sand cascaded down around the building, reminding her of playing in the sandbox. She had always loved the Tonka trucks owned by the little boys, but her mother said they were for boys, so she never got one. Years later she watched them, a trail of one salty tear baking on her cheek. The elderly gentlemen was there, his arm on her shoulder in commiseration.

“They never would have let us keep it otherwise” he said. After researching fire techniques for a week, he had gone to the county generals offices set up in a bunker at the end of town. The metal doorway groaned as we wandered in, his hands twisting in front of him. He had heard of plans to deal with the issue of the books, he said. The county general, a new position created at the onset by a group of law enforcement and politicians, sighed deeply and insincerely. He expected a long tired tirade from a lonely old man. Once hearing the proposal, however, he had sat up in his chair, nodding. What the old man had said made sense. The man hours necessary to bury a pile of books that deep had troubled him for weeks while the danger of a twenty thousand book fire loomed under the eaves of that old public library. Thus the old man’s proposed plan of defense was pushed forward immediately. He decided to follow the old man’s advice, embracing the dust rather than drown in it.

The trucks rolled in the next day, full of dirt ready to surround the library in a protective fire gap wider than any wildfire containment system placed by any fire department in over eighty years. A mile and a half perimeter of sand was placed around the library. Signs were placed every thirty feet, warning of a fire hazard. The public stopped coming to their library altogether a year later, when the elderly man died. He had strolled out one afternoon to visit the old librarian and the books and died of heat stroke half way to the library doors.

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