Sunlight poured through Vera’s bedroom window, as she rolled toward her eyeglasses next to the clock on the night stand.
It’s 3 o’clock, she said to herself. I suppose it’s time to put on a bra.
Ever since losing her librarian job just weeks before, a profession she adored for more than 10 years, Vera had lost the will to socialize, since she viewed the public as faceless schmucks that had only let her down.
“People just aren’t going to libraries anymore,” said her boss, as Vera packed up her belongings on her last day. “This generation’s idea of a card catalog is an ironic antique you see in some hipster’s studio apartment.”
Wearing an oversized tee that’s neck spilled over her shoulder, Vera plopped down into her desk chair and waited for her laptop to warm up. She hated her symbiotic reliance on this machine, the way it both killed her profession yet held future job opportunities. She checked her email for job application responses. One non-career-related message from Jeffrey at 2 a.m.
“Hey. You up?” was all it said.
She knew what that meant. They had been broken up for weeks, yet she occasionally received these late-night messages from him, when she knew he was lonely and vulnerable after reading his share of graphic novels over boxed wine. Jeffrey, a chubby mook of a man, had broken up with her because she couldn’t match his weight, and it made him feel uncomfortable. While Vera had a shapely, Botticelli-esque figure that wasn’t stick-thin, Jeffrey felt she was trying to make him look bad by remaining too healthy, and so he broke it off. Obviously, Jeffrey’s weight was the least of his problems.
She saw another response from a job she had applied to at “Loan Some,” a company that described itself as, “a library of characters for every occasion.” She wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but it had “library” in the title, so she naturally responded with a resume and cover letter.
“We’d love to sit down and talk with you,” said the email. “Can you come to Market Street Place around 4 today?”
Vera quickly responded and put on some real clothes—that didn’t have Chinese takeout stains on them—for the first time in days.
At Market Street Place, a bistro in town, Vera saw a man at a corner table, who looked like someone who rarely ventured into the 21st Century, if not a bar. He had a thick uncle-like mustache, a stale shirt that was tucked into brown trousers, and reading glasses that hung on a chain around his neck.
Vera sat at a table adjacent to his, as she wasn’t sure whether he was the right person she was meeting.
“Vera?” he said, putting his glasses to his face so he could see her.
“Yes?” She tucked a strand of her auburn hair behind her ear.
With a “follow me” flick of his fingers, the man got up from his chair and started to walk toward the back of the empty restaurant, through a door that led down to the basement.
Voting for episode one ended September 13, 2013. The majority of readers voted for this to happen next: Vera follows him. He looks harmless enough.