I would like a copy of Amy Hempel’s Collected Short Stories please.
I’ll just do a quick search, she says. Good news, We have a copy in the system. One copy. We can get it from the Burnside library.
There’s only one problem.
Did you learn any foreign languages at school?
French, Spanish, a spattering of German. Why?
How about Croatian?
The only copy we have is in Croatian.
How did that even happen? I ask.
God only knows. Do you know any Croatian?
My cleaner comes from Montenegro. He taught me a few swear words. Does that count?
Not really, she says. You could do a crash course in Croatian.
No thanks. I’ll wait till there’s an English version.
It could be a while. This version came out in ’96.
Have you got anything else by Amy Hempel? I say. In English.
- have you ever encountered an unusual problem in the library?
- can you speak Croatian? are you one of the readers of that Amy Hempel book?
- photo by Jakub Arbet from Unsplash