Fiction

The Difference Between

May 2015

By Wren Pearson

dsc_0078There was a cell phone bleating in the stacks.

“Don’t they ever read the sign?” I thought to myself.

WELCOME TO FREEPORT COMMUNITY LIBRARY. PLEASE SILENCE YOUR MOBILE PHONE BEFORE ENTERING THE BUILDING.

Then I realized it was my phone, hidden at the reference desk. If it was ringing, it was Jeff.

I ran from Large Print as quietly as I could. Thankfully, a line at Circulation started buzzing as I got to Reference. Surreptitiously extracting my mobile, I pushed the answer button as I strolled with imaginary purpose to non-fiction.

“Hey,” I said.

“Hey. How’s my favorite librarian today?”

“I’m good. How’s my favorite ex-con?”

“I’ve got good news. I met with the doc at the VA today. They’ve concluded I’m a sociopath, not a psychopath.”

“What’s that difference?” I asked.

“Well, a psychopath will kill you then go get groceries. For him it’s just another Tuesday. But a sociopath will kill you then feel bad about it afterwards.”

“Would he still do his grocery shopping?”

“Yes, just without his regular joie de vivre. Anyway, because I’m capable of feeling remorse, Doc says that’s a good sign. When I broke that guy’s nose, I did offer to set it for him after I unlocked the door. That showed I was concerned about his well being.”

“So what happens next?” I asked.

“I keep seeing the Doc and making my probation appointments. I need to get an apartment. I’ve been sleeping on the table at the tattoo parlor.”

“I didn’t realize that, “I said.

“Yeah, I like the small space.  Everything feels too big since I got out of jail. Hey, I’ve gotta go get some smokes. Later.”

The call ended. He’d shared his news and that was it. I would wait and wonder until the phone rang again.