Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thatcher knew the type

"Thatcher knew the type. They broke spines, they dog-eared pages, they scribbled obscene comments in the margins and squashed bugs between the covers, they branded the text with coffee rings, flicked ashes in the binding, wiped freshly excavated ear wax on the end papers, used rusty bobby pins and strips of bacon for bookmarks. Small potatoes, he realized, petty vandalism, but not unconnected to great offences. Thatcher had a panoramic vision when it came to crime, a comprehensive view that took in the roots of evil as well as the fruit. All thanks to the firm, guiding hand of his mother, a long-suffering librarian who filled him in like the empty pages of a notepad, sparing no detail. A child who forgets to return a library book, she had warned, may well grow up to be the kind of person who "forgets" to take a knife out of someone's back..." --Terry Griggs, "Tag" from Quickening