"For just a moment Ardelia Lortz looked as if she had a nickel in each eye." (Stephen King, The Library Policeman)
Tags: Nate Jacobucci Ardelia Ardelia Lortz The Library Policeman Stephen King Halloween Horror Piano Scary
Added: 5 months ago
From: Nate Jacobucci
The Library Policeman
by Stephen King
This is the third gripping tale in the four-part audio series from Stephen King’s best-selling book Four Past Midnight.
Set in Junction City, Iowa, The Library Policeman is the story of Sam Peebles, a middle-aged businessman who happens to have some overdue books. It seems a minor offense - but not to Junction City’s malevolent monster of a librarian. What follows is spine-tingling suspense as only Stephen King can deliver it.
Library Policeman, The
When a man forgets to return some books he borrowed from the library while writing a speech, and later accidentally destroys them, the phantom librarian who lent him the books sends the library policemen to terrorize him.
On the morning when this story started to happen, I was sitting at the breakfast table with my son Owen. Owen tore himself away from the sports section just long enough to ask me if I'd be going by the mall that day--there was a book he wanted me to pick up for a school report. I suggested that Owen try the local library. He muttered some reply. I only caught two words of it, but, given my interests, those two words were moe than enough to pique my interest. They were "library police."I put my half of the newspaper aside, used the MUTE button on the remote control, and asked Owen to kindly repeat himself.
He was reluctant to do so, but I pressed him. Finally he told me that he didn't like to use the library because he worried about the Library Police. He knew there were no Library Police, he hastened to add, but it was one of those stories that burrowed down into our subconscious and just sort of lurked there. He had heard it from his Aunt Stephanie when he was seven or eight and much more gullible, and it had been lurking ever since.
I, of course, was delighted, because I had been afraid of the Library Police myself as a kid--the faceless enforcers who would actually come to your house if you didn't bring your overdue books back. I found myself musing on the Library Police over the next three or four days, and as I mused, I began to glimpse the outlines of this story. I thought it would probably be a funny story. What I realized, however, was something I knew already: the fears of childhood have a hideous persistence.
3 Bears - From Goldilocks and the 3 bears
Garfield - Cartoon cat
God - Mentioned in passing
Goldilocks - From Goldilocks and the 3 bears
Grandma - On a poster in the Children's library in Junction City
Gretel - From Hansel & Gretel
Guns 'N Roses - Band mentioned by Ardelia Lortz
Hansel - From Hansel & Gretel
Huey - One of the 3 nephews of Donald Duck
Jack - From the children's story, Jack and the Beanstalk
Jesus - Mentioned in passing
Little Red Riding Hood - On a poster in the Children's library in Junction City
Louie - One of the 3 nephews of Donald Duck
Matthew - Biblical character
Road Runner - From the Road Runner cartoon
Simple Simon - Nickname of a little boy on a poster in the Children's Library in Junction City.
?, Billy - Name of one of the children with Ardelia Lortz in the Junction City Children's Library
?, Carl - Was on the speaker committee for the Rotary Club in Junction City
?, Jimmy - Barber in Junction City
?, John - Alcoholic at Angle Street Homeless Shelter's AA Meeting
?, Kenny - Was on the speaker committee for the Rotary Club in Junction City
?, Lukey - Alcoholic friend of Dave Duncan at the Angle Street Homeless Shelter.
?, Mike - Worked at Pell's Bookstore in Des Moines
?, Rudolph - Alcoholic friend of Dave Duncan at the Angle Street Homeless Shelter.
?, Sandra - Name of one of the children with Ardelia Lortz in the Junction City Children's Library
?, Sonja - Name of one of the children with Ardelia Lortz in the Junction City Children's Library.
?, Tommy - Name of one of the children with Ardelia Lortz in the Junction City Children's Library
Abbot, Bud - Actor mentioned in passing
Adams, John - On a sign in the Junction City library
Adelmen, Kent - Editor of "The Speakers Companion" which was borrowed from the Junction City Library by Sam Peebles.
Aikens, Willie - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Andrews, V.C. - Horror author mentioned by Ardelia Lortz
Basilio, Carmen - Boxer thought of by Dave Duncan
Baskin, Elmer - Owner of the bank in Junction City
Beeman, Norman - Elected the Homestead County Sheriff in 1945
Berrigan, Cynthia - Worked at the Junction City Library and spoke to Sam Peebles on 7 April 1990
Blake, Jennifer - Romance Novel writer read by Naomi Higgins
Blume, Judy - Author mentioned in the Children's Library
Brakeman, Phil - Ran for the State House.
Brett, George - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Brett, Ken - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Bright, Will - Called Craig Jones about the Amazing Joe's accident
Candy, George - Well-connected developer in Junction City
Carter, ? - Helped Stan Soames on his farm
Costello, Lou - Actor mentioned in passing
Coyote - From the Road Runner cartoon
Culpepper, Felicia - Junction City head librarian from 1932 until 1951
Dawson, ? - Drove the fuel truck at the airport
Duck, Dewey - One of the 3 nephews of Donald Duck
Duck, Donald - Cartoon character, and uncle of Huey, Dewey and Louie
Duncan, Dave (Dirty Dave) - 60-year-old diabetic, alcoholic who was a former lover of Ardelia Lortz.
Duncan, Mr. - Father of Dave Duncan.
Duncan, Mrs. - Mother of Dave Duncan
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Ike) - American president in 1957
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Writer quoted on the wall of Junction City's Library
Engalls, Bruce - At Sam Peebles Rotary Club speech, and enjoyed it so much he bought him a drink.
Felleman, Hazel - Editor of "Best Loved Poems of the American People" which was borrowed from the Junction City Library by Sam Peebles.
Frame, Russ - Friend of Sam Peebles. Physicians assistant of Dr Melden.
Free, Spencer Michael - Poet quoted in Sam Peebles Rotary Club speech
Frey, Jim - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Garland, Judy - Actress mentioned in passing
Gibson, Tom - One of the children killed by Ardelia Lortz in July 1960 in the Junction City library.
Glasters, Mrs. - Teacher of Sam Peebles in the 4th grade
Grimm - Author mentioned in passing
Harrigan, Mrs. - Mother of Patsy Harrigan.
Harrigan, Patsy - One of the children killed by Ardelia Lortz in July 1960 in the Junction City library.
Harrington, Cammy - Saw Sam Peebles go into the Junction City Gazette
Higgins, Mrs. - Mother of Naomi Higgins.
Higgins, Naomi Sarah (Omes) - 35-year-old secretary for many of the people in Junction City, including Sam Peebles
Humpe, Bill - Corn farmer on Truman Road, Proverbia, Iowa
Iverson, Burt - Spoke to Sam Peebles about a deal for insurance
Jackson, Andrew - His face is on the $20 note
Jefferson, Thomas - On a sign in the Junction City library
Jones, Craig - Lawyer in Junction City. Head of speaker committee for Rotary Club
Jordan, Keith - Paper boy in Junction City.
Kelly, Brian - Freight master in Junction City in 1960.
King, Stephen - Horror author mentioned by Ardelia Lortz
Klemmart, Willy - Little boy Ardelia Lortz scared with the Library Policeman.
Lavin, Christopher - Junction City Librarian from 1951 until his death of a heart attack.
Library Policeman, The - Man who punished boys and girls for bringing back library books late.
Lortz, Ardelia - Librarian
McCammon, Robert - Wrote The Swan Song
McGill, Doreen - Works in the office of the Junction City Gazette.
Meecham, Arthur - Was in the Junction City Gazette microfilm "Morgue" before Sam Peebles.
Melden, Dr. - Local doctor in Junction City.
Moggins, Ira - Came back from WWII, killed his family then shot himself in the right ear with his service pistol
Moses, Gramma - Drove her car without a license
Murryat - Author mentioned in passing
O'Hara, Scarlett - Mentioned in passing
Orday, Sam - Corn farmer on Truman Road, Proverbia, Iowa
Osbourne, Ozzy - Singer mentioned by Ardelia Lortz
Otis, Amos - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Patton - General mentioned in passing
Pearlman, Rudy - Heard Sam Peebles speech at the Rotary dinner
Peckham, Eddie - Worked at the library as a part time janitor
Peebles, Mr. - Father of Sam Peebles.
Peebles, Mrs. - Mother of Sam Peebles.
Peebles, Samuel - Junction City Realty and Insurance owner.
Porter, Darrell - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Power, John - Deputy Sheriff. Father of Tansy Power
Power, Mrs. - Wife of John and mother of Tansy Power
Power, Tansy - Daughter of John Power. Maiden name of Tansy Ryan.
Price, Richard - The current Junction City Librarian.
Quisenberry, Dan - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Randowski, Joseph (The Amazing Joe) - The Amazing Joe was an acrobat with Curry and Trembo's All-Star Circus and Traveling Carnival.
Reed, Tommy - Sam Peebles went to High School with him
Rockwell, Norman - Painter mentioned in passing
Rogers, Rosemary - Romance Novel writer read by Naomi Higgins
Ryan, Tansy - Married name of Tansy Powell. Works at the Junction City post office. John Power's daughter. Attends AA meetings
Seger, Mrs. - Ran the Five-and-Dime in Junction City in the '60's.
Serling, Rod - From the TV show The Twilight Zone
Seuss, Dr. - Author
Shatner, William - Actor in Star Trek
Sheldon, Paul - Romance novel writer read by Naomi Higgins
Soames, Joey - Son of Stan and Laura Soames.
Soames, Laura - Ex-wife of Stan and mother of Joey Soames.
Soames, Stan - Pilot who helped Sam Peebles. Father of Joey Soames, and ex-husband of Laura Soames.
Splittorff, Paul - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
St. John, Tommy - Made a sign for the Angel Street Homeless Shelter
Stanford, Tom - Worked at the Junction City Library
Stephens, Frank - Rotary club member that made fun of Rotary meetings.
Stephens, Mrs. - Wife of Frank Stephens
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Wrote the "Black Arrow"
Vasser, Mary - Cleaned Sam Peebles house every Thursday.
Verrill, Hannah - Police dispatcher
Washington, U.L. - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Wells, H.G. - Author mentioned in passing
Whistler, James - Artist mentioned by Dave Duncan
White, Frank - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Wilson, Willie - Part of the 1980 Kansas City baseball team
Wolf, The - On a poster in the Children's library in Junction City
Wycliffe, Tom - Police friend of Sam Peebles who was on the Iowa State Patrol's traffic control board
Youngman, Stu - Had Sam Peebles write him a large homeowners insurance policy
"The Library Policeman" is a novella by author Stephen King. It is the third story in his 1990 collection Four Past Midnight.
It tells of Sam Peebles and his battle against an age-old fear.
Sam Peebles is asked to give a speech to the Rotary Club. An office assistant (Naomi Higgins) directs him to the public library to check out two books that might help with speechwriting. In doing so he meets Ardelia Lortz, the librarian. He converses with her about the bad selections she has put in the children's library, such as scary posters of flinching and screaming children, music such as Ozzy Osbourne and Guns 'n' Roses, and books like Flowers in the Attic and Peyton Place. He checks out two books with the warning that they must be returned or he should beware of the Library Policeman.
Naomi eventually informs us that Ardelia Lortz is not living and is not spoken of any more. Through a series of events we are introduced to Dave "Dirty Dave" Duncan, a former lover of Ardelia's. Sam finds that Ardelia is not a person but a being which feeds on fear, and that Duncan was a sometimes unwilling companion/conspirator in helping her feed from the fear of children. He also finds that Ardelia had "died" in 1960 after killing two children and a local deputy sheriff, John Power. She is now back, and Duncan believes she seeks revenge and a new host.
The Library Policeman turns out to be a recreation by Ardelia of a man Peebles had run into as a child at his local library, who had raped and threatened him. The Library Policeman, however, is not just a recreation but also an embodiment of Ardelia, who sought access to Sam as her new host.
Dave dies defending them from Ardelia. They appear to have beaten the Library Policeman/Ardelia, only to discover at the end that she has already attached to Naomi. Sam removes Ardelia from Naomi's neck and destroys her under the wheels of a passing train.
In Sam's final dream about his rape, the following Latin inscription appears above the door to the library: "Fuimus, non sumus". This appears to be part of a larger quotation: "Non fuimus, non sumus, atque numquam obliti erimus." The source of this cannot be found, but the translation appears to be: "We are not, we have never been, and we will never be forgotten." Perhaps this a reference to the distortions of memory upon which this entire story is based.
References to King's other works
* It (1986) - The "Deadlights" creature (the titular "It") is a creature much like Ardelia, who feeds on fear and only reveals its true form when it is feeding.
* Misery (1987) - Naomi likes novels by Paul Sheldon, who was a character in this novel.
* Needful Things (1991) - In the novel's end, the villain Leland Gaunt has moved on to Junction City, having taken up shop in Sam's old office. It is mentioned that Sam and Naomi have since married and moved away.
* The Dark Tower (2004) - It is believed that Ardelia is the same race as Dandelo, who is in the last Dark Tower book. They have both been described as psychic vampires who in their true form look very much like a beetle.
The Library Policeman is a novella published in the book Four Past Midnight by Stephen King.
The story takes place in Junction City, Iowa.
Sam Peebles is a local businessman asked to give a speech to the Rotary Club. To do research for his speech, Sam goes to the local library to rent books. When there, he realizes that he has not been to a library in many years. He meets the librarian Ardelia Lortz, who warns him to return his books on time or face the wrath of the Library Policeman. Later, Sam's assistant Naomi tells him that Ardelia Lortz is dead and is an old legend in the town. Sam learns her story through the words of her former lover and finds that Ardelia Lortz was a horrible creature who fed on the fear of children. This struggle with a monster throws Sam back into an experience he had when he last visited a library as a child. To defeat the evil Ardelia and survive, Sam must face the horror of his childhood and defeat the Library Policeman forever.