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Contents

Death Wears Tacky Back - Page 2 By Ian Richardson

The Adventures of Eleanor Twitty, Librarian - Page 8 By Annie Gaines

How to Steal a Book in 1930s Chicago Part 2 - Page 14 By Matthew Murray

News From the Stacks - Page 27 -

Patron Records - Page 30 -

Cover Art

By Colleen Frakes Edited and laid out by Matthew Murray Two Fisted Librarians #5. Published May 2016, Vancouver, BC.


Death Wears Tacky Back By Ian Richardson

I pretty much knew what was coming when the kid came up to the counter. She had that uncertain look about her, as if I might throw her out and tell her never to darken the library’s door again, and she was the right age too. The dolls at her home had probably been put on the shelf, but they were still close enough to reach when she was feeling miserable. Stuck between brat and teen. “Excuse me.” She gave me that look. “Where can I find a book on Henry the Eighth?” “There’s nothing in the children’s section that’ll do?” I asked in return. She shook her head. “First time in the Adult Library, huh?” This time she nodded her head. She was a great one for non-verbal communication. The real readers are always like that. I gave a sigh and reached under the counter. Drawing out the Mossberg Maverick I gave the shotgun a one handed pump and heard the satisfying solid thunk of the 12 gauge cartridge engaging in place. “Stick close to me kid. We’re going in,” I said. ***** I kicked at the heavy wood panelling of the right door. It had taken a beating over the years but still slammed open with ease. Ducking inside I dropped to one knee and brought the Mossberg to my shoulder. ­2­


“Clear!” I shouted. Nothing happened. “That means you can come in,” I explained, and the diminutive figure skipped in behind me as soon as I finished the sentence. I’ll give her that, she could move fast. “OK, here’s the low down, so listen good. We’re pretty much strictly Dewey here, so we’re going to have to go in deep, all the way up to the 900s. You sure you wouldn’t want to start easy? We’re almost right on top of the computer gaming.” “Does it have anything on Henry the Eighth?” I shook my head. “Not unless you know any games based on the Tudors. No? Then History it is.” Luckily the first few aisles are pretty quiet these days. The old toothless catalogue card cabinet snapped at us just for the sake of form, but it had been pretty much a pussycat since we computerised. In my daddy’s day it had made a formidable partnership with the Browne issue tickets. Back then a librarian had to be able to rifle through cards and tickets like lightning if they wanted to keep all their fingers. The old boys behind the counter were often missing a digit or two. It’s pretty much a saunter as you pass through the oughts and up to the 100s. The constant clicking of keyboards can be unsettling if you aren’t used to it, but we only had to pause briefly to let a browsing Lexicon pass by. As long as you don’t disturb their young they’re pretty safe. The girl had been sticking close like I’d told her, so I was surprised to see her hold back and then I heard a sniffle and looked down at her. I could see a tear trickling down one cheek, nothing too bad, pretty discreet really. It wasn’t something that set me back. I’d done my apprenticeship in the kid’s section, and ­3­


in there it could be full blown bawling and snot on the upper lip if there wasn’t a copy of Sendak in. You grow hard over time. Still I was surprised; she didn’t look the type to cave in so easy. “What’s the problem, shortstuff?” I asked. She sniffed back the tears and pulled her hair across her face. “I thought my daddy would be with me. Just once he could have come to the library with me, seen the books I like.” I should have seen it coming. It’s the boys who give me most problems around here, but you just never know. I slipped a finger over the spine of the nearest book and rocked it out, giving a cursory look at the yellow sticker. I knew what it would be: 150.15. “Lesson one.” I waved the book at her. “Freud was a great man, but never take him too seriously when it comes to daddy issues.” I tore a page out of a self-help book and passed it to her to wipe her nose on. “I don’t think you should be damaging the books,” she said. I just shrugged. “Pop psychology books. There’s always too many. We have to keep thinning them out. They’re like mice, always breeding and never live long.” To my surprise, we slipped through the 200s without a problem. I was waiting for her to blow the whole time. The kids with difficult relationships with their parents often go off the rails when they got to religion. Luckily we breezed through, and I was beginning to think this was going to be one of the easy ones. It never pays to get sloppy. ­4­


We were steaming through science and technology when I realised she’d stopped again. Maybe another librarian would have hurried her along, but for me…hell, if you can’t browse in a library then where can you browse? What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? William Henry Davies 1871 to 1940. We wouldn’t come across him until the 800s. I was stupid. I admit it. That's the 500s for you, everything seems stable and suddenly, KABOOM. I’d just spotted a copy of Bathtub Explosives for Dummies I’d got from the last of this year’s book fund and was checking if it had been out yet when the dwarf suddenly toppled backward. She was being dragged under the stacks fast and her feet were scrabbling hard on the wood floor. The arm holding her ankle was thin and knobbly, so when I stamped down hard in my big librarian boots I was rewarded by a satisfying pop as his wrist gave way. I was still dragging the kid to her feet when all hell broke loose. Before I could even jump back, the stacks came crashing toward us in a storm of flying shelves, tonks, and fluttering pages, and over them swarmed the enemy, their white coats flapping dementedly. Scientists! All around chemistry books exploded in flashes of light and stink and the scientists hissed like kettles. My first two shots bowled over the leaders in splatters of blood and bone. The boom of the 12 gauge ripped through the library and I winced. If anyone found out I’d broken bylaw 13.4 (Issuance of disturbing or aggravating sounds) I’d be for it on the annual review. Thank god we’d upgraded the plastic covers last year. There’d be some hard elbow grease going on later. ­5­


A group of biologists split off and tried to circle behind us, but I tossed a primed copy of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy over my shoulder and they retreated in confusion. Rolling up my sleeve I pushed my hand forward, waving the flashy junk jewellery I wore just for these problems and declaimed: Plutus himself, That knows the tinct and multiplying med'cine, Hath not in nature's mystery more science Than I have in this ring. They backed off soon enough. They hate it when the Bard mentions science. It makes their teeth hurt. After that, the rest of the trip was all smooth as baby’s BT. It deserved to be. This was a rough one for a first time out. Before we knew it we’d made it to History and the girl had filled her arms with Henrys and Elizabeths. We’d managed to circle all of non-fiction and were closing in on the checkout when the dame made an appearance. She sashayed towards us like a marshmallow on stilts and I could feel my pulse racing. A man could fall heavy for a dame like that, and if he did there’d be plenty to land on. “Why don’t you lose the kid,” she said. “If you want some playground games, I think I know a few.” She had a smile like melted chocolate. I shook my head, not trusting my voice and she strutted off. I’ve got to say, she looked as good going as she had coming in. I turned to my companion. ­6­


“Remember what I said about us being strict Dewey? Well, it ain’t like that in the Fiction section. You’ve got to look out for the Special Sections, they can jump up on you when you least expect it. This one here’s Romance,” I paused and thought about the woman who’d just left, “…and Erotica. Don’t worry you won’t be needing this for a good few years yet. When you do, just remember this—if you ever see a title starting with Fifty Shades of… then steer well clear.” Her eyes went round. “Are they dangerous?” she asked. “Nope,” I replied, “they’re just crap.” Back at the counter I stamped the date in her books, not strictly necessary but the punters like it. I’d upgraded her card too. She could handle herself. “So what do you think of your first trip to the Grown Up library?” I questioned. “Great!” She beamed, “Only there was something else I wanted. I was thinking I might…well, I might try the Science Fiction section.” I slammed another round into the Mossburg and passed it over to her. “Kid, you’re on your own!”

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Ernestine Castillo, Six‐Gun Librarian AND

Garret Gable, Library Detective IN

How to Steal a Book in 1930s Chicago Part 2 By Matthew Murray

6:00 P.M. Monday, October 24th *BANGBANGBANG* A fist pounded on the closed office door, quickly followed by a voice. “This is the Chicago Police Department, we have you surrounded, please surrender peacefully!” I asked myself how yet another of my investigations into the theft of library books had ended up with the cops coming after me. I saw Harry run to the window, but he quickly turned away when a spotlight was suddenly trained on him from outside and we all heard the sound of a bullet ricocheting off the stonework. “I’m not sure these are police officers,” said Ernestine as she worked with Lawrence to shove the desk (and whatever else they could find) against the inner door of the office. My mind started whirling. There was some detail I had missed. Something that could get us out of here. We’d come here to talk ­|4­


to Dr. Waltraud Geiisshardt about the Malleus Maleficarum, a book that had been in their possession, only to find out that not only did they have dozens of copies of that book (many of which were stolen from libraries around the world), but that the “good doctor” was in fact a Nazi*. The only thing we hadn’t found was the doctor themselves. When I saw Harry slamming shut all of the locks on this side of the door it finally clicked. “Joanne!” I yelled across the room. “When you opened the door, which locks did you have to open?” Joanne looked confused. “All of them, but why does that matter?” “The door chain was locked?” I asked, just to confirm what I thought. “Yes... but, if it was locked, how did Dr. Waltraud Geiisshardt get out of here?” Joanne was catching on fast. “There must be a hidden door!” We started tearing the office apart, pulling down shelves and pulling up rugs. At the same time whoever it was that was outside the door started slamming something into it. I had to hope the door was sturdier than it looked. “Over here!” cried Ernestine. “The closet!” I high tailed it over to the closet, and sure enough there was a hidden panel in the back. Not caring where it went we squeezed through into the darkness on the other side, as we heard splintering from the office door. I closed the closet door, and then replaced the panel behind us, hoping it would buy us some time. Unfortunately it had the secondary effect of plunging us into total darkness. I shuffled *Editor's note: Check out TFL #2 for the full story!

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my way forward, only to almost fall down the tight, spiral staircase that lay before me. I started making my way down by feel when I saw a light strike somewhere below me. “Never leave home without them,” said Lawrence as he led the way down the dark, though surprisingly clean, stairs. The stairs soon ended and we found ourselves in a windowless passageway. We made our way along it, choosing doors and directions at random when we came to them, until we emerged into what appeared to be a classroom. A full classroom. Every head turned towards us, and I briefly froze. Thankfully, some of the others in our group were quicker on the uptake. “Don’t mind us!” smiled Ernestine, clearly putting her years of experience as an academic librarian to good use. “Tour for a group of alumni.” She gestured to the rest of us, and disheveled and dusty as we were, everyone not only seemed to take what Ernestine said as truth, but also understood the unspoken information that we were potentially donating a lot of money to the school so please put up with whatever eccentricities we demonstrated. We filed out of the room, and made it off campus without any more problems, and headed back to our hotel. I’d barely gotten out of my suit jacket when I heard someone banging on my door. I immediately wondered if my hotel room had a hidden escape door as well, when I heard Hattie yelling my name. “Garret! We’ve got to go! Frank left us a message!” “Frank Norman?” I asked, opening the door. “The Snakeoid? What does he want?” “He said he’s found his sister, Nevilla, but he needs our help. Everyone else is ready to go” ­|6­


I would have complained, but considering I’d dragged everyone around Chicago all day for not a lot, I figured what the Hell, who am I to turn down another librarian’s request. “Where we going?” “The Meat-Packing District.” ***** We grabbed the “L” train, and headed out to the meat-packing district, and let me tell you, I was as excited as anyone who had read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle could be. Though Harry looked decidedly less comfortable than I was, so at least I had that. We soon arrived at the location where, according to a sign by the train stop, “all the world came to see”. To see what exactly the sign didn’t specify, and to be honest, that was probably for the best. During the daytime the streets around us were probably bustling with people (and animals), but at the time of night we were there they were pretty empty. We made our way to the building where Hattie said Frank would meet us, but after twenty minutes of nothing I started to get pretty antsy. I heard footsteps and spun, only to see Ernestine walking towards us, I hadn’t even notice her take off. “Follow me,” she said, before leading us around back of the building. The rear alley we ended up in was dark, with only a few incandescent bulbs offering flickering light. Ernestine indicated the back door of the building. It was ajar. “Like this when I got here,” she said, before I’d even had a chance to question her. ­|7­


I pulled the door open and went inside. If anything the hallway was even darker than the alley outside but Hattie had thankfully brought an electric torch. We walked slowly down the corridor, checking doors as we went, but they were all locked. It was much colder inside than it was outside. Halfway down the corridor we heard a noise. I knew the others heard it, because they froze the same as I did. But if they hadn’t I might have begun to question my sanity. The screech that we heard was unearthly in its pitch, its volume, its length. If I ever hear that sound again it’ll be too soon. “Wha-” But before I could even finish a word, there were more screams. Though these at least seemed more earthly. Then the sound of bullets. Lots of them. Then it all stopped, and there was just silence. Ernestine walked up to the last door in the hallway and kicked it open, screaming at the tops of her lungs that everyone in the room should freeze. If you ask me, she seemed more than a little suicidal. It was to my great amazement that she was met with nothing. No gunshots. No screams. Nothing. The lights in the room flickered on and off, showing, well, showing a scene that nobody really wanted to see. There were bodies all over the room. Or parts of bodies at least. We entered the room, and nobody looked too thrilled at checking the bodies. Not too surprising really, librarians are more used to checking for damage on books, not people. Lawrence took the lead, mumbling something about “back in the war”, and approached the first of the bodies. Or part of a body as it turned out. Just a torso. No legs, no arms, no head. ­|8­


Someone threw up. We found the other parts soon enough, scattered throughout the room. I really can’t say exactly how many people there were in total, I tried not to think about it too much. Though to be honest, there was a lot I was trying not to think about. The bodies had been ripped apart. Whatever had done this was strong, dangerous, and terrifying. I heard a brief yell, and turned, fearing for the worst. Hattie was over by the door looking at another of the bodies, this one seemed a bit more intact than the others. “It’s Frank,” she said, indicating the body. I didn’t recognize him right away, since it was dark, he was covered in blood, and his face was locked into an expression of pure terror. “Is he--?” I began. “He’s dead,” replied Hattie. “He was trying to get away from something.” The inside of the door was covered with bloody marks, and Frank’s fingers were torn to the bone from him trying desperately to get out. What had happened in here? Hell, there wasn’t anyone else in here with us and I wanted to get out. “Let’s go,” I said, turning to the others. And then through a loudspeaker we heard an announcement from outside the building. “THIS IS THE POLICE. WE HAVE THE BUILDING SURROUNDED. COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!”

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The cops? Again? Twice in the same night? This case was beginning to seem cursed. Any other time with this many civilians with me and I might have given up, but after our...incident with the police earlier in the evening it didn’t seem worth trying to talk to people who were probably after us specifically. Plus, even those of us who weren’t covered with blood probably had their prints all over this place. Thankfully, Ernestine and Harry had been quicker on the uptake than I was, and they’d noticed that the grate in the middle of the room had been removed. Despite the strange glowing fluid that led below, it still seemed like a better bet than dealing with the police. "GARRET GABLE, WE KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE. COME OUT NOW AND THERE WON'T BE ANY TROUBLE." No, scratch that. It was definitely a better option than dealing with the police. I climbed down the ladder inside the grate, splashing down into the knee high water below. There, illuminated by that same glowing liquid, I saw a face. I shone the light of the torch over it, but it didn’t react in any way. The face was human, so that was something at least. The expression on the face seemed almost peaceful compared to those up above, and the head was attached to a body. Still dead though. That much was obvious by the time I got to the chest, and saw that it had been torn open. The heart and other organs removed, and I had flashbacks to that medical library I used to work in. “It’s Nevilla,” said Hattie, who had by this time joined me at the bottom of the ladder. She held up the pieces of the ID card ­20­


she’d taken from Dr. Geiisshardt’s office, and sure enough the photo seemed to match the person in front of us. Still, there wasn’t anything we could do for her now, and with the cops upstairs it didn’t seem smart to hang around. So we followed Ernestine, who was leading the way. It wasn’t long before the water in the room caused her electric torch to give up the ghost. If you’ve ever wanted to wander around a sewer in the dark, I’m going to advise you right now that you should not do it. I’m not sure how long we stumbled around down there, but I really don’t want to think about it too much. Though, to be fair, I’d rather think about our time in the sewers than the contents of the room we’d just left. Eventually we managed to climb out of a storm drain somewhere on the lake. We tried hailing a cab to take us back to our hotel, but soon realized that even those cab drivers out this late weren’t desperate enough to pick up six people who looked like they’d spent the last few hours crawling around in a sewer. So we trudged back to the hotel on foot, and dawn was breaking as we staggered up the front steps. Thankfully the clerk behind the desk recognized us, as I wouldn’t have wanted to convince them that we were actually paying guests. I peeled my clothes off, threw them in the trash, and took the longest shower of my life. Then I fell into bed and passed out. Tuesday, October 24th It was late the next day when I finally managed to crawl out of bed. Thankfully, the Chicago Public Library was open late too. We headed to the main branch in the hopes that their copy of the Malleus Maleficarum could tell us something. It was our last ­2|­


lead. We walked through the glass domed circulation room, the last light of the day flittering through the glass mosaics in the ceiling. One wall had a long window. We checked to see if it could be opened. No deal. Though there was a beautiful view out over Lake Michigan. We quickly confirmed that the book was there but, as it was locked up and we didn’t want to draw more attention to ourselves than necessary, decided to leave it where it was. We figured it would be after closing before the guy we were after, whoever that was, would make their move, so we realized we’d have to stay hidden. Now, let me tell you, the librarians at the Chicago Public Library are no fools, and they’re used to kicking people out at closing time, so we couldn’t just all crowd into a washroom stall and hope for the best. Thankfully, Hattie was willing to do something the rest of us weren’t. I suppose that’s how she ended up as head librarian at the Library of Congress. Just as everyone was beginning to herd everyone out of the building she knocked over a bookcase. Yes, an entire bookcase, and like dominoes the next several crashed to the floor along with it. She later told me that she’d ensured that these were the least valuable books in the library, but I wasn’t sure if I should believe her. The crash caused library workers from to appear from seemingly everywhere in a swarm, and in the chaos we managed to hide ourselves away in various parts of the library. Eventually the mess was cleaned up, the library closed, and all the employees took off. A silence filled the building. We headed up to the third floor reference room where the book was being kept. The interior of the room was full of elaborately carved portices and buttresses or whatever all those curly things are called. ­22­


The book was still there. We figured something had to happen that night, so we hunkered down and got to work. First Lawrence popped the lock on the case, something he did with a surprising amount of ease, and then we switched the book with another of a similar size from a nearby bookcase. And then we waited. Midnight was when the action finally started. Before the echoes of the bells striking twelve could even disappear into nothingness, we heard another sound. It sounded like something heavy being dropped and dragged repeatedly. Or several somethings. Through the semi-open doorway we could see a glowing light growing in intensity. Suddenly the door was shoved over with an immense BANG! I’m pretty sure Joanne screamed, but it was hard to tell. I was blindly momentarily by the sudden influx of light, but my sight soon got better. I wish it hadn’t. Standing in the centre of the room was a man, though I really struggle to call it such. The bright glow from within made it hard to look at, but look at it I did. There was no skin, just organs and muscles and blood. Pulsing. Dripping. Oozing. The figure stood in the middle of the room, seemingly frozen. Not one of us made a sound. I’m not sure any of us even breathed. Sure the plan had been to jump whatever showed up, but no way did I want anything to do with the thing now in the room with us. I crouched hidden for what seemed like several minutes, but was probably a few seconds at most. Then the...thing started moving again. It walked to the book and picked it up. Not to where the book was supposed to be, but where we had hidden ­23­


it. No hesitation, no delay, just straight to the location it couldn’t possibly have known. With the book now in hand the thing turned, and walked back the way it came, dripping a strange glowing fluid behind it. Harry jumped up in front of it but before he could say anything the figure swatted him away, and he collided with the wall with a sickening, wet sound. Suddenly it was like a spell had been broken and we could move again. Ernestine was first to his side, but it was already too late. Harry was dead. I entered a haze. I'd led another librarian to their death. Ernestine hustled us out of the room and after the thing. Glowing splotches led the way back downstairs into the lobby, and then into the basement. The thing didn't seem to move that fast, and there hadn’t seemed to be much time between when the thing left the reference room and when we followed, but it beat us down the stairs. We only caught up to it when we entered the boiler room of the library. The solid steel door had been busted off its hinges, presumably by the thing, and we watched it slowly clamber down through a hole in the floor. As it was reaching back up to pull a metal grate over the hole, Ernestine shot it. My first thought was wondering where she had managed to find that bean shooter*. My second was that it didn’t seem to slow down the thing at all. My third was that she was a mighty fine shot. There was a slight burst of light and a spray of fluids as the bullet contacted with the thing's arm. Then, with a screech of metal being pulled across the floor, it was gone. Lawrence rushed over to the grate and began pulling on it, I grabbed hold of the other end, but to no avail. That thing wasn’t *Editor's note: He means Ernestine's haunted Colt .45!

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budging, though I don’t know if it was because of the weight, or if it was locked from below. We stood there in a daze before Ernestine started pushing us all out of the room. “We can’t be here when the cops show up,” she said, and though it killed me to leave Harry's body there, she was right. We hustled to the employee break room, and managed to climb out a window. Not the most dignified moment of my life I will admit, though at least I wasn’t covered in sewage this time. As we walked away I saw the tell-tale flicker of police lights approaching, and knew we'd made the right decision. Dejected we headed to a nearby all-nite diner, to drown our sorrows in bad coffee and cold pie. We sat in silence. Nobody wanting to talk about how horribly everything had gone wrong. It was as a was reaching into my pocket to pay that I realized that this case might not have been as dead as we thought. “Mittwoch Mitternacht,” I muttered as I pulled out the postcard of the World’s Fair Sky Ride that I’d found in Dr. Geiisshardt’s office a few days before. “Wednesday Midnight?” asked Lawrence, proving that he knew more German that I did. “What are you talking about?” I explained to them about the datebook I’d found in Dr. Geiisshardt’s office with “Graf Zeppelin” written on the page for Thursday the 26th, and the postcard that had fallen from the book. I must have stuffed it in my pocket as we were escaping from the police, and I was lucky that I hadn’t had it on me when we’d been in the sewers. “But Wednesday is tomorrow!” exclaimed Joanne. ­25­


“Technically, it’s today,” replied Ernestine. “It is well after midnight.” “Looks like this case isn’t as dead as we’d thought it was,” I said. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know where I’m going to be tonight.” The others proclaimed their agreement, and except for the time our budget was increased when we all thought it was going to be slashed I hadn’t seen a group of librarians change moods so quickly. Sure, Harry was still dead, but we could at least bring those who had murdered him to justice. We headed back to our hotel and on the way I could see that something was bothering Ernestine. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she kept thinking about the thing we’d seen in the library. “I’m sure I’ve seen it before,” she said. “Maybe at the World’s Fair?” “I’m pretty sure if that thing was walking around the World’s Fair we would have noticed,” I replied. “Maybe you’re right, but something about that...transparent...man…” she trailed off, lost in thought. Personally, I didn’t want to think about that thing ever again. “Where’d you learn to shoot like that anyway?” I asked Ernestine as we entered the lobby of our hotel. “Library school” was her only response. They really did do things differently down South.

To Be Concluded!

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The Legendary Library Checklist!

News From the Stacks ITEM! The Crossover Event of the year is fast approaching as we come ever closer to L-Day. After the success of The Consortium Crisis last year, we realized that we'd have to go bigger than ever. And don't worry, we have! Watch this space for more thrilling details. ITEM! Hollywood won't stop calling! First it was The Outlaw Librarian live-action TV Movie, and now The New Action Librarians Adventure Hour Saturday morning cartoon is set to debut on NBS-TV next month! ITEM! What with Halloween just around the corner, we thought we'd give you a sneak peak of our new horror line! The Haunted Library will fulfil all of your needs for ghostly goings-on, while The Library of Fear will feature vampires, werewolves, and who knows what else! Plus, the return of fan favourite The Witch’s Library! ITEM! Due to a mishap at the printer, Series 4 of the popular Action Librarians trading cards have been delayed. We'll let you know as soon as they're available. ITEM! Don't touch that dial, new episodes of The Midnite Library are once again hitting the airwaves! Write to your local radio station if they don't broadcast this hit show. ITEM! Yes! It's true! After a long wait, Spicy Librarian Stories is coming soon! You too will be able to read the most sensuous and lascivious library stories they'll let us print! Send your contributions to twofistedlibrarians@gmail.com.

What's on sale right now! Jungle Librarian Action #1: You asked for it, and now the Jungle Librarians are back! Six-Gun Librarian #31: Ernestine Castillo returns from Chicago and must track an overdue book to the Canyon Diablo, the toughest town in the West! The Phantom Librarian #61: The Phantom Librarian must uncover the mystery of the Grey Lady of Willard Library. *Final Issue!* Hypatia Lorde, Library Scientist #12: Hypatia discovers a rogue reference source, but is it too much for her powers to handle? The Midnight Library #120: They thought it was just a number, but it was really 666: The Call Number of the Beast. Library SuspenStories #34: Mark Wreckard faces his toughest challenge yet: The Interlibrary Loan Sharks are back and badder than ever! Action Librarians #139: Can the Action Librarians find the perfect recommendation for the Readers Adversary Group? Libtechs in Love #13: Their love was forbidden: She's a technician. She's a director. Classification Classics # 26: Reprinting The Libarbarian Vs. The Anarchivist! Z39.50 and her Battle Aces #77: Alone against the OPAC. Plus: The Caveman Patron! Giacomo Casanova's Library of Love #19: Casanova must help someone looking for love in all the wrong places, by teaching them about the Dewey Decimal System. Frontline Librarian #8: The one you've all been waiting for! Enter: Eratosthenes! Strange Science Library #87: Terror on Database Station One. Can The Technologist guide them to safety?

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The original, uncoloured artwork by "Courageous" Colleen Frakes that graces our cover this issue! ­28­


The original sketch by "Courageous" Colleen Frakes for this issue's cover! ­29­


Dear Editor, I have just one question for you: Where is The Radio Librarian Automaton? I can't be the only one who's missed their appearances in this title. Every month when I can't read about them battling the Vendor Vandals, trying to find out truth about the ILSences, or just generally being confused by The Pixie Patrons brings me closer to the edge. Giraldo Najwa Pasternak

much as I enjoyed some of these stories (the two-part crossover in Hypatia Lorde #7 and Six-Gun #26 was great!), Ernestine needs to get back to doing what she does best: dealing with cowboys who don't obey library rules, and trying to figure out her feelings for The Masked Librarian. Plus, I don't think we've even seen The Catalogue Kid since Six-Gun #18. Sincerely, Tanesha Merlo

Giraldo, we have to admit, we're also pretty confused every time The Pixie Patrons show up (just what are they up to?), but some of us around the office have been missing The Radio Librarian Automaton as well. So what do you say folks? Does ol' RLA need to return to these pages? Let us know! -----Two-Fisted Librarians, As much as I love seeing your titles crossover, you sometimes go too far. Case in point, your interminable "Six-Gun City Slicker" storyline which has not only taken over Ernestine's main title for the last year, but also had her show up in who knows how many titles. As

TM, you're wrong about one thing, The Catalogue Kid teamed up with Young Archivist, The Shelver, and Paige Paisley, Library Page to take down The Book Rustlers in Action Librarians #35. However, it seems like a lot of you weren't so excited by Six-Gun's year long trip around America. We thought it would be a great way to change up the title, but we just weren't delivering the Western action our fans wanted. For that we'd like to apologise. You'll be happy to know that the new creative team are bringing Ernestine back to her roots at the Tombstone Library starting with issue #31, though she'll be dealing with the fallout from her trip for some time to come!

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Dear Legendary Ones, I have to say that your stories and art of late have been truly top notch! I want to draw particular attention to Libtechs in Love, a personal favourite, which I feel many of your readers may not be buying due to the title. Let me tell them that it is still well worth their time and appreciation, even if the main characters don't have Master's degrees from accredited universities. Sofia Finnguala Error Sofia, we couldn't have said it better ourselves! -----Dear TFL, In Library SuspenStories #30, Mark Wreckard is shown as not understanding the "Klassifikationssystem för svenska bibliotek", which is patently absurd considering that he completed a practicum at Kungliga biblioteket in Stockholm (as seen in a flashback in SuspenStories #7). My theory is that Mark was only pretending not to understand the classification system so as to fool Miko Toksin, who he knew to be The Mould Spore. I think I deserve an Existential Accolade for that! Efua Käufer Efua, we weren't sure ourselves, so we checked in with the writer of that story. Here's what they said: "You're absolutely right! If you look carefully at the artwork you'll see that part way through the story Mark stops having any physical contact

with Miko, that's when he's figured out her secret identity!" Well there you have it, and while we don't generally send out Existential Accolades for things the writer intended, since not even we noticed this, we'll send you one this time. -----Dear Patron Records, My gosh, I never thought you'd top "The Skeleton Patron", but you've done so with "Red Wings for the Death Patron". I was never sure if Z39.50 would make it out alive (and to be honest, I'm still not entirely sure they did!). If you keep publishing work like this then your competition might as well close up shop. Nobody does it better than the Legendary Library Laboratory! Yours in Perpetuity, Shiori Kang Aw shucks Shiori, we think you're pretty swell too. And if you've read recent issues of Z39.50 and her Battle Aces you'll know that Z39.50 didn't make it away from the Red Wings without dying. However, she hasn't let a little thing like death stop her from searching and retrieving information for library staff and patrons alike! -----Next issue: The third (and final!) part of How to Steal a Book in 1930s Chicago. Plus: The RDAerialist and the AACRToucan; Hypatia Lorde discovers the difficulties of digitizing magic books; and Bill B. O'Tecke tries to track down that troublesome patron Mr. [illegible]. That's a Two-Fisted guarantee!

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CONTRIBUTORS

After a strange experiment involving an alien virus and a secret procedure involving the DNA of a mutant plant worked better than expected Annie Gaines knew what she had to do. @librariannies Colleen Frakes is a Xeric and Ignatz Award winning cartoonist living in Seattle. Her fifth book, "Prison Island", was published by Zest Books. Thankfully, she still works with us. www.tragicrelief.com Ian Richardson did two tours of duty in public libraries, seeing active duty. He was awarded the Livre d’honneur for bravery in the face of anime, but dishonourably discharged for misappropriating the library fines to spend on cheap whiskey and expensive women. www.writerista.net Nothing has been the same for Matthew Murray since that terrible day in 1902. The cybernetic implants didn't really make up for what he has lost.

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The Owl. Drawn by Martin Filchock. Published by Centaur Publishing in Funny Pages v4, #1, January 1940.

Two-Fisted Librarians #5  

The fifth (and best!) issue of Two-Fisted Librarians! Our fifth issue features our first original cover illustration (by Colleen Frakes!). P...

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