Rosa Lyster, Crime and the Technique of Crime

the complete essay, and others, can be found at www.rosalyster.com

       One day, we were outside in the courtyard at the same time. I was there      drinking a Diet Coke in big, frantic gulps. If you do it fast enough you can make  your throat feel like a book has opened inside it. This works especially well if the  Coke is for some reason bitterly cold, as the drinks from the vending machines at  the archives always are. The forestry girl was smoking a cigarette with the same  inappropriate intensity. I paced back and forth with my Coke, gasping away, and  the forestry girl stared wretchedly into the grass. We hadn’t spoken for a bit, and  then she said I hate it in there. She gestured toward the reading room, to all the  sweet old people bent over the birth certificates of their long-dead relatives. They  all looked so happy and industrious, so filled with purpose.What are all those people  even doing? They don’t even have to be here. They just like it.She shook her head in full  disgust. I am bendy and eager to please, and so I nodded my head, agreeing. I see  now that I was scared of her. I said, This place used to be a prison, you know. She drove  her cigarette into the grass. She stomped on it til she dislodged some roots. Of  course it was, she said.