{ Oreos in the Library }

Lisa E. is our spunky, non-stereotypical local librarian.

She slipped us some photos the other day.

“Here are some photo story starters.  Get writing!”

Lisa was intrigued by this mysterious photo that’s been circulating on the internet, and she wanted us to make up a story about it:


With access to every library in the world, Lisa has a lot of power. I’m not going to cross her. So I wrote my story and handed it to her.  The next time I walked through the library door, she demanded that I empty my pockets.  She was looking for contraband. This is why:

The O.R.E.O. Society

There’s not much to do over a cold Minnesota winter. The windchill forces normally independent Midwestern folks into their homes. After three days of winter’s house arrest, even the most adventurous souls begin to forget that there is an outside world. We hunker down, glad we are well-stocked with coffee, bread, milk, eggs, cream and more coffee. We have a stash of dried beans for emergencies and chocolate for daily sustenance. Stacks of books line the walls, serving the dual purpose of reading material and extra insulation.

So, we stay inside.

We wrap ourselves in cozy, minky blankets. We position the coffee pot next to our armchairs and sofas (or beds). We are entertained by books, energized by coffee and sedated by the radiant logs in the fireplace.

And we keep reading.

We read fiction to cheer our souls and warm our blood. It’s dark half the day, but when we finish a book that we know it is time to sleep.

When we feel isolated, we chat online about the books we are reading.

And this was how the O.R.E.O.** Society was born.

During a particularly bleak and snow-dumped winter, several disgruntled Minnesota readers happened to share their common discontent with the story endings of books like these: 

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • My Sister’s Keeper
  • Mockingjay
  • Gone Girl
  • Goldfinch

Amongst the group, there was a visceral hunch that something was very wrong.

When you are in a cold state of semi-hibernation with books as your dearest friends, you feel more deeply the injustice of an incomplete or unhappy ending.

And they had a whole seven months (typical MN hibernating phase) to stew over it.

One member of the group would share his dissatisfaction and then another member would read the book and agree. Bitterness and rage spread. Nightmares replaced normally peaceful sleep patterns. Disturbing dreams were tangled up with dangling denouement from closed books. 

January and February were spent in a trancelike state, with life hanging in the balance between “fiction grief” and the voracious hope for a perfect ending.

But this hope seemed to be a bunch of malarkey.

Then the April sun peeked out.

Like a tulip bulb that blooms after a hard freeze, the reading group came to life before the first of May. They were ready to take action. They had one large online chat and appointed a leader. They named the group O.R.E.O.** and planned “lethal action against all dissatisfying books.”

Then, they passed out the Sharpies.

The plan was simple:

  • Enter local libraries.
  • Locate a bad book ending and attack with a Sharpie.
  • Connect with fellow conspirators and debrief.
  • Enter another library.

And, how would the members find one another? Besides their pale skin and disappointed looks, they would know each other by the sign of a common Oreo cookie (regular, not Double Stuff) positioned as a signal near at each member’s reading station.

So, if you happen to see an Oreo cookie in a library, you have two choices.

  1. Report any suspicious activity to a librarian.
  2. Grab a Sharpie and join them.

**Opaque Revisionists Entering Our Libraries

© Lisa M. Luciano


4 thoughts on “{ Oreos in the Library }

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