Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The great tampon of mystery

So I went to the library yesterday. It’s a glorious place filled with wisdom and intrigue and, of course, books.

I gathered up my glorious, wise, intriguing books and headed to the self-checkout area. That’s when I saw it. A tampon.

Not used, obviously. It was still in its plastic wrapper, sitting there beside one of the checkout terminals looking a bit lost.

I glanced around. Three people manned the other terminals, none of them making eye contact. There was an old lady with smudged glasses, a guy wearing his baseball cap backwards, and a young mom toting a toddler with a suspicious brown smear on his cheek.

I looked back at the tampon.

The most logical explanation was that a library patron had dropped it, and someone else – driven by the misguided belief that its owner might wish to reclaim it after it had rolled around on the floor awhile – set it there to be rescued.

That’s the likely scenario. But writers seldom attach themselves to the most likely scenario.

What if a librarian put it there to symbolize something deep and profound – maybe our community “Read Together” selection? But what does a tampon have to do with Kathryn Stockett’s THE HELP? Did I miss something when I read it? Maybe I should check it out again.

Or maybe it was a bomb. I considered poking it to see if it was ticking, but hello – I’m not touching a strange tampon, even it was still in the wrapper. But if it suddenly exploded, would I be heroic enough to throw my body over it to protect the old lady and the toddler? (The dude in the backwards baseball cap – he’s on his own).

Or what if the tampon had a hidden camera inside? I’ve always heard that Big Brother is watching. Would he watch from inside a tampon? It’s a genius idea, really. What better place to stash a secret recording device than inside an object no sane person would willingly pick up?

I leaned closer for a better look, pretty sure I saw the glint of a lens.

“Can I help you?” a librarian asked behind me.

I straightened up. “Nope, just getting checked out.”

She nodded sagely. Did she wink at me? “Just let me know if you need any assistance.”

“OK,” I told her, and hurried to finish checking out my books.

Was it my imagination, or was the librarian smirking at me as I left?

In all likelihood, it was my imagination. See, this is why writers can’t be trusted with the simplest tasks. One minute we’re checking out the latest Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel and the next minute we’re imagining a vast international conspiracy centered around abandoned feminine hygiene products.

But if I read in the newspaper today that the library exploded, I’m going to say I told you so.

12 comments :

KAK said...

The Librarian winked at you? Over a tampon? I'm imagining the story that starts with that kind of hook...

Linda G. said...

See, this is why you need the creative outlet of writing. Otherwise you head might explode. ;) (<--Oh, look. I winked. Which I point out only so you won't spend the rest of the afternoon wondering whether or not you really saw it.)

Rhonda said...

I'm totally laughing here...as writers our imaginations are lethal weapons. Seriously. I mean, obviously not as potentially lethal as stray feminine hygeine products, but still...

Also? Bomb or not I totally wouldn't have touched the thing because really? Who wants to be featured on the front page of the HomeTown News as having died from an exploded tampon?? I imagine you couldn't live that one down even in the afterlife.

susan said...

My first thought was the "bomb" idea. Too many security experiences at the airport, I suspect. Very funny!

Tawna Fenske said...

KAK, I'm pretty sure she gave me a secret hand signal too, but I wasn't able to decode it.

Linda G, people who wonder what goes on inside a writer's brain are probably better off not knowing!

Rhonda, glad to amuse you! I do hope I won't meet my demise as a result of a tampon bomb, but I suppose that could be good for book sales. Don't dead authors always sell better?

Susan, see? I'm not alone in my madness. Bwahahahahaha!

Tawna

Xuxana said...

Did you know? When asked what he'd like to come back as in his next life. Prince Charles said, 'a tampon.'

Claire Dawn said...

I know what the tampon was for. People are always being too loud in libraries, making small talk.

Leave a tampon lying around and people avoid speaking to one another like the plague!

Now if only that worked on my junior high students...

Tawna Fenske said...

Xuxana, oh my. I'm never going to look at Prince Charles the same way again.

Claire Dawn, I think you're onto something! There certainly wasn't a lot of chatter going on with the tampon sitting there like that.

Tawna

kristina said...

Love this! Of course, I am now picturing all the libraries in Oregon...hmm, sounds like the Holgate Mult Co library, but then again.... I love feminine hygiene product stories - always the perfect combination of humor, titillation, and horror. Of course, I have a tampon story that even Stephen King couldn't make more creepy, but that is for another day. Thanks for the lovely post!

Tawna Fenske said...

Kristina, you'll definitely have to share your tampon horror story someday. Heck, maybe we should have tampon story day on the blog sometime!

Tawna

Jess said...

I'm so boring. My first thought was some poor chick rifling through her purse for her library card dropped it, and is now in a board meeting in need of a tampon with no change, poor woman. Maybe not so boring after all. ;)

Tawna Fenske said...

Jess, oh no, now we'll both be worried about that poor woman who'll probably botch the whole board presentation because she's stressed about her missing tampon, so she'll end up losing her job and having to turn to prostitution, or worse, writing...

Tawna