For the ninth time today, Dyson glanced up from sweeping the facilities floors. He knew it was the ninth, because he’d been watching his bank account shrink with every confused teen who walked by, every school field trip who waltzed in and every curious observer who thought he could lend a hand. Who wouldn’t keep count?
“S’cuse me, sir? Where cans I finds the bathrooms?” It was a little boy this time, probably lost. He’d have to take care of that as well. He decided to delay the inevitable for a bit.
“Why, where are your mom and dad, little one?” He smiled underneath the rim of his cap as he leaned upon the broom and watched the blue-eyed boy. The banter wasn’t necessary, but he figured he might kill two birds with one stone.
“I uhmâ€¦ I can’t wememberâ€¦”
Of course he couldn’t. The boy reminded him of his grandson, however, so he sighed and gave an answer. “Bathrooms are two halls down, past the dinosaur sections and on the left.”
Picking up his broom, he moved over to the front desk and watched Shirley smile brilliantly at a group of students standing around her. She must have been rich, the way she spouted out the information like it was nothing. “In fifteen minutes, we will have our native peoples exhibit, and at 2:30 you will be breaking for lunchtime!”
He waited till she had finished her speech to the group and took in a deep breath as she turned to him. “In all my years, I ain’t never seen anyone remember stuff like you do. How do you do it, Shirley? Don’t you miss all the money from your account?”
Leaning forward, she got a very serious look on her face, “Well, if you really have to knowâ€¦” When she slid a small pad of paper from under the desk, Dyson stared blankly at her as if she’d pulled a gun.
“Shirley!” he started in a hushed whisper. “If the Memory Monitors catch you with that, it’s five to ten at the very least!”
She waved him off with a nonchalant gesture, “Dyson, Dysonâ€¦ don’t worry about it. I have it all under control. Besidesâ€¦ The Native Americans we teach about in this museum didn’t have to pay for their keepsakes. They drew pictures and told stories. We can’t be expected to work in a place like this and not learn that.”
Still watching her like a cautious hawk, Dyson muttered, “They didn’t have to pay? Youâ€¦ wrote that down to remember it, didn’t you?”
“What can I say? Some things should be remembered for free.” She leaned back in a way that almost made it seem like she would put her feet on the desk.