A rumor of zombies and murder at the Carnegie
This is the 11th of a series on the Carnegie Library. Note: Lincoln’s Carnegie Library is currently closed, due to budget cuts in the city of Lincoln’s General Fund.
Our bike ride started and ended at the Carnegie Library.
My mother, Freda, had waved us off with an off-hand, “See you later.” Jacquelyn's mother, Eleanor, had waved us off with a time frame, “Be back in one hour.” We lived and rode and played somewhere in between.
On this weekend day, we were full of adventure and a dash of virtue. Before our bike ride, we each checked out a book to read when we reached our destination. Next, we crossed the street to Jack Tofft’s Market where we bought a box of Nestle Instant Chocolate Powdered Milk and a large jar of maraschino cherries.
This was a big mistake. And it was the start of our own private two-person rumor of zombies and murder at the Carnegie.
Our destination was Hughes Reservoir, just out of town at the side of Highway 193. We dropped our bikes beside the road and hiked over the embankment to the reservoir.
After exploring the rocks and shoreline, we experienced a full-blown imaginary scare of an enemy invasion. Moving across the far side of the reservoir was a line of German or Japanese invaders following a leader with a flag. After a few moments of hiding and spying, the invasion turned out to be a huge disappointment. It was just my brother’s friend, Lyle Wyatt, leading a Boy Scout troop.
Following the Boy Scout invasion, we decided to have our snacks. Out came our books, the Nestle Instant Powdered Chocolate Milk and the jar of maraschino cherries.
First, we tipped the powdered chocolate straight into our mouths. After a few swallows, we got a little thirsty. We opened the jar of cherries and washed down the chocolate powder. Then more powder. Then a few cherries.
Not nearly enough cherry juice.
We drained each drop of cherry juice and ate every cherry and stem.
Looking at each other, we started to laugh. Laughing made us laugh harder.
Our teeth were sticky with reddish chocolate powder. Our mouths were rimmed with red and brown gore.
Dried blood, we laughed! We're zombies, we laughed.
Until we saw the Boy Scouts headed our way with their little hatchets.
Like zombie litterbugs we abandoned the rest of the chocolate powder at the side of the road and tossed the empty cherry jar over our shoulders. We dropped our books in our baskets and jumped onto our bikes. We were two zombies, we laughed. Zombies dying of thirst!
Over the Auburn Ravine, we flew, turning and then heading down Fifth Street for the drinking fountain across from the Carnegie. We dropped our bicycles in front of the Carnegie and rushed to the fountain. We couldn't stop laughing at the sight of each other, our grimy red crusty lips, dark red drool on our chins, teeth rimmed with red.
We drank like fiends, washing our lips and chins, gargling away the thick slurry of chocolate powder and cherry juice. When we headed back across the street to get our bikes, we decided to return the unread library books. As we dropped them into the return book slot, we noticed our cherry red fingerprints on the glossy covers.
Even better, we laughed. Murder at the Carnegie! Murder and zombies at the Carnegie!
Although we’ve given up the chocolate powder, the two zombies still buy maraschino cherries. Nowadays, our cherries float in our Manhattan cocktails.
This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404, or friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org. Jane Tahti is the Friends of the Lincoln Library secretary.