Welcome to Part Three of the Random Things I’ve Seen series. Technically, this is a random thing I haven’t seen.
The third floor of the city library seems to have gone astray. It’s on the floor guide, but it does not exist. At the top of the stairs to the second floor, there are no more stairs and no more library. Where is the third floor? Even the floor guide on the second floor, at the top of the stairs that go no further, refers to the third floor. What? There are no stairs: where is it??
Now, there is a lift. Perhaps, for some unknown reason, the third floor is accessible from the lift, but not the staircase. This may be a more plausible explanation than my other suggestions below (it is certainly less reliant on quantum physics and/or magic). However, I did not test this theory. Lifts make me nervous in the best of circumstances, and I am certainly not using one to try to locate a floor that may not exist. Get inside a small, enclosed, suspended-over-a-drop metal box and press a button for a mysterious location I am not certain is there? Er, no.
I pursued every possible avenue in the search for the missing third floor (apart from the lift, of course). I checked all doors, did a full rotation of each floor, looked for alternative staircases, trap doors, moving staircases (in case it’s a wizarding library a la Hogwarts). In so far as it is possible to look suspicious in a library, I looked suspicious. I looked like I was casing the library, which is probably not something people often do. Still, most people probably mistakenly believe that all there is to case in a library is used books. They don’t know about the lost floor.
The alleged third floor allegedly contains the cafe. Perhaps this is an elaborate plan to keep down costs – you know, because the overheads are lower on imaginary cafes. Of course, a simpler way of achieving this would be to just not have a cafe AND not claim that you do. But perhaps the library powers that be felt that, if they pretend there is a cafe, people would somehow convince themselves that they went to it and had coffee and cake, thus allowing the library to maintain customer satisfaction levels whilst keeping costs down. (Of course, this only works as a cost cutting exercise if the library is not purchasing supplies for the advertised cafe. If they are fully stocking the cafe that no one can locate, it is probably costing rather a lot.)
Perhaps the third floor is Schrodinger’s floor: it might exist, it might not. Perhaps the floor that may or may not exist may or may not be storing a box in which a cat may or may not be alive.
I have read mysteries in which there have been libraries with secret floors. But this has always been along the lines of, if you count the floors from the outside or the stairwell, there is an extra floor not marked on any floor plans. A secret floor for hiding things. What we have here, a floor that IS marked on floor plans but does not in fact exist, however, would be an interesting tactic for the purpose of hiding things. Except for the floor itself, of course, which is, admittedly, well hidden.
Possibly, the missing third floor is due to an eddy in the space-time continuum. If so, I hope Eddy is enjoying the coffee and cake in the missing cafe, because none of the rest of us can bloody find it.*
Perhaps library bosses thought it looks more impressive to have a third floor (or wanted to beat those measly two-floored libraries in some kind of weird height based library contest), and that no one would notice if it wasn’t actually there. Of course, if you are hoping no one will check, a cafe is probably not the best choice for what to pretend you are keeping on your fake floor. The complete collection of Madonna’s stories for children would be better. Or all those books that everyone claims to have read, but no one actually has (like War and Peace, and everything after the first paragraph of Lord of the Rings).
The mystery of the missing third floor of the library continues. I have been Silly Mummy reporting from, well, the second floor, since the third floor ISN’T BLOODY THERE. More on this story as it develops (i.e. if a third floor develops).