Friday afternoons are traditionally the quietest day at the library, and last week was no exception. On Friday, there were perhaps 9 people using the teen department, all quietly and intently focused on myspace and runescape. The few conversations were held at the level of a whisper, as everyone knows that if they're quiet and well-behaved on Fridays, I'll give them an extra 15 minutes of computer time at the end of the day and perhaps some type of cookie or other treat (my boss calls it bribery, I call it positive reinforcement. Either way, it works).
Suddenly, from the top of the stairs, we hear it. The echoing sound is so loud that literally every person in the computer lab jumps. I look up, and realize that we have a Hyena Girl.
Hyena Girls are most often found in their native habitat of shopping malls or other retail establishments, rarely venturing into the library. The Hyena Girl appears normal, perhaps even soft spoken, until she finds something funny. Once she does, she emits a sound that is a cross between a hysterical hyena and The Joker in the 1960s Batman TV show.
This particular girl not only had the hyena laugh, she was also on one of those Nextel walkie-talkie phones, which allow us to hear both sides of the conversation. Hyena Girl came down the stairs, cackling madly the entire time, then screamed into the phone.
I approached her. "You'll need to keep it down or take your conversation outside."
Dirty look. Hyena Laugh. Continued shrieking into the phone.
"Your conversation is too loud. Please take it outside."
"The libary lady says I gotta stop talking. Bye."
I returned to my seat in the computer lab. Thirty seconds later, a blast of hip-hop music from the phone.
"You need to keep the music off, please."
Dirty look. Another blast of music.
"If I have to talk to you again, you're going to have to leave."
I returned to my chair. I hear a final blast of music. As I rise, the Hyena Girl races up the stairs, cackling wildly.
One of our regulars starts laughing. "Wow, I guess she showed you! It really proves how cool you are when you run away!"
A second regular chimes in. "What a loser. Her laugh sounds like a hyena."
Everyone in the computer lab starts laughing at the Hyena Girl. I give them all Oreos.