We now recount, where any twisted young ghoul was likely to be found in a vaguely pre-internet society—why, the mid-county library! It was just you and the low-slung building with the dusky, orange parking garage below. Home to the down-and-out jobless, or others finding a place to navigate the scratching pen of quiet paperwork—if those books could just fly-off the shelf! I was always heading back to the children’s section to read-up, once more on ghosts, zombies, vampires, werewolves—and the whole ookey, spooky kind of paranormal taxonomy of mysterious things that betrayed “hidden mystery” beyond this ordinary world we knew. (– or even inside the tame, red-brick walls of my local Meramec elementary) Their take on horror, maybe—were looming, juvenile illustrations of Dracula or Frankenstein with all the death and gory stuff taken-out of it, unto mere childish pictures. Think of an 8 year-old growling around like Godzilla, humored by the gym teacher, than told “to settle down”. It was “make-believe” and “pretend” with any pomp & circumstance of cape-reared, grimacing monster classics, usually a watch-all word for parallel neighborhoods in the pantheon of diversity and tolerance, like a gathering at a PTA meeting. Different, yet the same. Yet I was always delving deeper into the morbid, the surreal, “the undead”. Call it the politically, age-appropriately “correct” as there always seemed to be a deeper level, there—the stuff no one ever “talked about”. Well, “at least he’s reading”—as I tended to be into the gnarled, gory pictures, like a taste for graphics—like the kind of grisly iconography on old Metallica shirts. It was a way to get-up closer to what you considered “the real”, “the bad-ass” like oozy purification and chain-whipping marauders through the night of tombstones, Harley bikes, and lurid fields choked with dead reeds. There were always more potential avenues to explore as a vulgar, straw-sipping consumer with a backwards cap—than being scholastic, dutiful, or even sitting down at the table and composing your own creative ideas. But funny thing, was—the strange & unusual is often ignored until it rears its head unexpectedly and becomes creepy—possibly scary. Did I say, “kids love dead things”? Gaps in available information were spottier, or rumor-filled—if you could tell me, or anyone: how to work the library file-card cabinet with diligence. The library didn’t necessarily stock the flashiest titles; for the world of film and sensationalism, you were better-off to try checking-out the local “Library Ltd” book store a few blocks over. Say, for splashy magazine specials on H.R. Giger’s “ALIEN” as even years, later—you may find it a bit “chilling” to go down into a dark, scary basement. Whether ghost-stories are reflections of our hidden selves, the fears and unresolved levels of the conflicted psyche— some ghost-stories are pretty “stock”. There were versions of “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” going back to ancient times. The attraction to the unknown and surreal will always fetch our attention and sell books. So it’s that contented, rotund feeling—leaving the library at the eve of closing-time and tramping out into the night of familiar mystery—and until next-time, “don’t you go changin’”.