Spice Girl

The scritch-scratch noise was coming from behind the door to the
storage closet. Shop Boy had just arrived at the studio after a hair
to find Mary not around.

There it was again, louder.

Behind that door were either some serious, box-moving mice — in which case, Shop Boy was gone — or somebody was in there.

“Mary?” I called through the door. “Mary?” No response.

It was early in the semester, and Shop Boy had forgotten that intern season had begun. Then it struck me.

“Hey, Shop Boy,” Mary chirped as she entered at last from the other space. “What’s wrong?”

“Mary, why did you lock the intern in the closet?”

“Oh, she likes it in there.”

True story: Our Baltimore neighborhood has this thing for history. You know, linotype inventor Otto Mergenthaler — gulp — lived around the corner from us. Famed writer F. Scott Fitzgerald — holy-moly — spent a while a few doors down from him.

Well, each rowhouse that has had somebody famous living there at one point or another has this blue metal disc announcing same.

Wonder if they’ll let Typecast Press steal the idea:

“Winter/spring 2010 — Sabrina’s Closet.”

Sabrina, for the record, is a former student in Mary’s class at the Maryland Institute College of Art who apparently fell in love with our printshop during a tour and … wandered too close and was
sucked into the letterpress vortex. Since then, she’s seen very little of the outside world. Willingly. Swear to god.

“Um, do you guys mind if I live here during Spring Break?”

She about did. They’d better check the ventilation system over there at MICA’s Dolphin Press, because something’s wrong with these kids. Or maybe it’s the sinus-rearranging 15 pounds of lavendar and ginger that also call the closet home. Whew!

Seriously, Sabrina is a bright, funny and incredibly talented graphic design major from Cleveland, typically resplendent in huge pink, Spice Girls-playing earphones (why she couldn’t hear me through the door), who has singlehandedly organized Typecast Press’s paper, envelopes, boxes and samples into something Mary and Shop Boy never thought we’d see in our lifetimes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the interns always get the grunt work, but this one’s taken the task by choice.

“Who did that?” Shop Boy asked Mary one day as he spied the barrister bookcases, their random piles of Typecast samples, orphan envelopes, scrap paper and other ephemera replaced by a bunch of those acid-free archival storage boxes, hand-stenciled with the letters of the alphabet.

“I even inventoried them, Shop Boy!” Sabrina beamed, holding up a sheet of paper listing the contents of each lettered box. “I knew you’d notice.”

Shop Boy would be remiss here not to mention that our other current interns, Allison and Nicolette — also from MICA — have likewise been a huge help to Typecast Press, from lining envelopes to cleaning and proofing the crazy pile of old printer’s cuts that we’ve collected to reworking our business card. More on all that later.

Meanwhile, based on sheer number of hours dedicated to the care and feeding of our little printshop, we’re making this “Sabrina Day.”

(She would probably tell you herself that every day should be Sabrina Day.)

Anyway, Sabrina’s internship is up soon as she heads toward her senior year and then on to make a name for herself as an artist and designer in the real world. But we’ll miss her. And she’ll always have a place here at Typecast Press.

And I don’t mean in the closet, arranging stuff.

Well, unless she really wants to.

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