Wednesday 9 April 2014


I was sent a very funny link today, to a story that could best be summed up as, "Never underestimate small children."

I recommend reading about the Marine who made this mistake!

His story reminded me of my own moment of hilarious horror and all it took was twins and a chessboard. The Twins, surprisingly enough, were keen members of the local library, where I had just begun working at the time. Other librarians went pale when they saw the Twins entering the building, but I'd never had any problems with them myself.

There are children that stand out from the rest and the Twins certainly did that! Cheeky, curious and talkative, this red-haired pair were Dennis the Menace, Bart Simpson and Bugs Bunny all rolled up into small bundles of freckle-faced charm. Oh yes, the twins were cute, that was part of the problem! They were keen on action and mystery stories. They would bring their books to the counter, taking turns in talking and constantly shifting places until your head spun. They were identical in every way... or so I thought.

I was working alone at the library, one autumn lunchtime, when the twins came in. They disappeared into the children's section and were no problem. Everything was quiet. Remarkably quiet. Then slowly the sound of small voices talking became yelling. One of the twins came marching towards the counter. He was so angry he looked fit to burst into flames. He took my hand and hauled me through to where his brother and a friend were standing beside a table with a chess board.

Twin one pointed at his brother and said, "He's CHEATING!"

Twin two yelled back that he was NOT a cheat and began to explain to me why his chess move was legal and permissible. And that was when I made my first big mistake. I smiled. I couldn't help it. The Twins playing chess seemed as unlikely as a barrel of monkeys doing yoga! And that moment of weakness was my downfall. The moment I smiled Twin two accused Twin one of saying he was a cheat because he was losing. Then they both turned to me and demanded justice. Identical angry scowls and outrage.

I tried. I really did, but when they started moving around the small table, each trying to win me over by explaining their case, I lost track of which was Twin one and who was Twin two and I made the worst mistake of all.

I chuckled.

And all hell broke loose. 

I have no idea which Twin threw the first pawn at his brother, but within seconds it seemed as if the library was full of raging red-haired imps with a never-ending supply of ammunition. When I tried to stop them they forgot their petty differences and joined forces. I was a junior librarian, inexperienced and they knew it. I never stood a chance. I remember a lot of yelling and screaming, some of it mine, and the clack of kings, pawns and bishops bouncing off book spines.

By the time it was over those two small boys had managed to send chess pieces everywhere! The Twins, now the best of friends once again, ran off before I could stop them. It took me hours to find all the chess pieces and tidy up the mess. There were queens wedged behind cookbooks and pawns in potted plants, two overturned chairs and several randomly flung books.

I had it all tidied up before the chief librarian returned from her lunch. She thought it was funny when I told her. She explained that the twins had earned quite a reputation over time. The stories of their naughtiness were legendary. Probably the worst being the time they had been caught taking turns to stand on each other's shoulder, trying and look into the women's toilets at the library. Apparently the screams of the woman who found them could be heard next door in the municipal offices.

I got off lightly in comparison to some of the stunts they'd pulled on other library staff. They were an excellent lesson  in NEVER underestimating small children!


  1. great story, Michelle, thanks!


  2. Hahahahahahaha! Oh my gosh, poor you! I had this image in my head of Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men. All red hair and chaos! =D

    Thanks for sharing! =D

  3. Thanks Lynetta :-)

    Hi Tat
    LOL Good one!

    I'm glad you enjoyed the story. It was so funny. I was laughing even while I was ducking pawns.

  4. Holy smokes...double trouble. Oh la la...couldn't help laughing as well, though! :-D But I wouldn't have liked to be in library staff's position he he...

  5. Amel

    I sometimes wonder how they grew up.

  6. That'd be nice to know how they're like. I also sometimes wonder what my students are like these days. At least I know two of them (who can be called neighbours) are already uni students (or perhaps they've both graduated by now). What I really want to know is what happens to my two fave students. :-) Maybe someday I'll find out. :-)



Older posts are moderated to stop spammers, so replies will go up, but please be patient. :)