Miracle Trees: Parting Ways

“Mike’s delivery,” I joked, hoping to make Mom laugh.

“Is this Michael W Peterson?” a vaguely familiar female voice asked. Before I could say anything, she continued. “If you were at the library in a private cubicle earlier, you left your charging cord.”

“Oh, I was.”

“It will be at the at the librarian’s desk.” The call ended without a ‘good-bye.’

For the next block, I ran through the hurried packing up. I patted the pocket containing the flash drive. It was still there. I don’t remember putting the cord into the case. I banged the heel of my hand on the steering wheel and turned around at the end of the block.

What am I going to say if Alex spots me? Oh, I forgot the cord to the computer that I refuse to let a friend use. Frenemy, I reminded myself. Karma at its finest.

I left the truck in a residential area a block away from the library. With any luck, he won’t see me or the truck. As I entered the lobby, I heard Alex’s voice. I concealed myself behind a rack of freebie newsletters. “The far toilet in the men’s room is overflowing and won’t shut off.”

A woman gasped, “Thank you for letting me know.” It was the voice of the same librarian who chastised me earlier.

Through the slots in the rack, I could see the woman limp from view. Alex held his abdomen as he scurried around the desk and then rifled through objects on the desk. Twice he peered over the counter in the direction the librarian had disappeared. The third time he stood up with a triumphant smile and a neon pink sticky note. He limped off to the computers. Anyone with a library card number and password can use them to surf the web.

I weaved my way through the rows until I had a view of the computers between the bookshelves. Alex hid the slip of paper underneath the keyboard. He alternated between tapping on the keys and sneaking peeks at it. The screen changed and requested the employee log in password.

A tap on my arm startled me. “Are you Michael Peterson?” The librarian was standing beside me.

I nodded my head because didn’t want Alex to hear me. She motioned for me to follow her. I took one last look in Alex’s direction. He was still hard at work at the computer. If he heard her, he didn’t react.

At the desk, the woman muttered, “Where did that dirt come from? Hope I didn’t ruin my shirt.” She rotated her arm to look for smudges.

I glanced from her to check on Alex. “You called me and said I left my charging cord.”

She pulled the cord out of a drawer and set it on the counter. “Yes, here you go. “Have a good day, Michael.”

I dashed through the lobby. As I exited outer door, I heard, “Thank you again for telling me about the toilet.”

I bolted to the truck. Once in I locked the doors and cranked the truck. My heart pounded as I looked out the windows and into the mirrors. No sign of Alex. Had he seen me?

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