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The Liberation of Anita Muff

Jude Potts

The story is fictional but the names in this piece are all real (books, Dewey Decimal Codes, people and places). 

The day Anita Muff met Fanny Swigg her whole life changed. Fanny opened her eyes to experiences Anita Muff had never dreamed possible. Some of them, Anita was sure, weren’t strictly legal...but she wasn’t going to ask her mother, or the other librarians, so she couldn’t be sure. 

Fanny Swigg ran a B&B for “respectable travelling gentlemen”: the Half Way Inn, Didling. So named because it was midway between Cocking and S. Harting. She had introduced herself to Anita Muff the day she came to pay overdue fines on Domination For Dummies, Hookers or Cake and My Big Book of Pretty Pussies. There was also a book on video editing techniques that Fanny had lost. Anita had given her a stern talking to, which Fanny had appeared to rather enjoy. She’d invited Anita Muff to the Halfway Inn for a sweet sherry and that’s where things got a little hazy. 

There had been some disturbing noises coming from room six, or was it nine? Screams and a man begging for mercy. Must have been the television, surely? Anita had a vague recollection of the smell of latex, a horsewhip and some kind of vice. But the sherry must have gone to her head because how those items connect was anyone’s guess. 

Despite having the haziest of recollections of the evening’s events, Anita Muff was certain of one thing. She had enjoyed it. So when Fanny invited her to come again, she had no hesitation in saying yes. She vowed to go easy on the sherry, after all, what’s the point in having a good time if you don’t remember it the next day?

That was the night Anita discovered there was more to life than the Dewey Decimal System and cryptic crosswords. The travelling gentlemen were not as respectable as Fanny led her to believe, but that made the application of clamps and the crack of the whip all the more enjoyable. Anita Muff took to bondage like only a repressed English librarian can, Fanny had a job to prize the cat-o’-nine-tails from her sweaty hand, as flush-faced and fizzing with excitement she demanded Bernard from Barrow call her Mistress Muff. 

Mistress Muff still works in the library by day. Her nightly activities are filed between 306.774–306.776. There has been a spate of late returns and missing books at the library recently, mainly by gentlemen whose respectability is somewhat questionable. The rumours of what Mistress Muff does to library patrons who displease her got around pretty quickly. On the plus side, the library has never been so busy. 

Jude Potts: "Once called a pickled plum by the school photographer — as accurate an assessment as anyone ever gave of me."