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e c l e c t i c a
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Saturday girl at the hair salon is my first ever job. I mostly shampoo the old dears, make them tea and biscuits, tidy the magazines and sweep the floor bald. I also take out the pins and curlers for those getting sets and perms. Of all my tasks at the salon, I most like to brush Mrs. Dabney's tea-brown wig. The wig looks alive on my left hand, warm and moving and shining.
Oga Tom was humming a song. This was a bad sign. Oga Tom appeared happy only when he had caught a student at some mischief. It meant that the Principal would shower him with praise and perhaps reward him with some foodstuffs from the school kitchen.
It was wet—real foot-sapping, soggy wet—slippery, an accident waiting to happen—mine—and a short dive into that rancid water. Of course, I failed to fail, and at some point I went back to the house.
"My new project is almost ready," Onya told us one evening, over drinks at the Ping Inn. He was wearing his trademark white coat and sweat-stained black beret. "I've been sketching the Bambo of half a century ago. A remembrance of my childhood by the sea."
"The car is in a worse state than we were told," he began, with a shake of his head. "The carpets and seats are well worn. The tires are almost worthless, and the gearbox and exhaust are in a sorry state. The steering and brakes need a lot more work than we thought. Only the engine seems to be in some state of health, though it still needs some work."
Reward O. Nsirim
It began with the spring thaw. It ended with an empty Ragunda Lake and a silent waterfall, a forest swimming in the new flood, and the dead animals piled like bruises on a face. Somehow, no humans were killed. When the water burst through a sand ridge in Magnus Huss' new channel, the Ragunda Lake emptied in a tidal wave into the valley below. It left nothing—literally.
Finding a way to say no to the Bishop was hard. When the Bishop told you, you had a calling, you had a calling. But what good would marrying Elizabeth Tonsil do him? No good. He hated rounding up husbands who strayed, crying wives, usually holding a child, pleading with him to find their man. He had two jobs and a wife and a fourth kid on the way. He had no inclination to do any straying, Church sanctioned or not.
There are ways of laying new time over old, not exactly a coat of paint.
But how can you contemplate dying without touching skin to skin?
On the shoulder of the road up ahead, he could make out the figure of a person through the fog, walking. A young man, dressed as though from the days of Gordon's youth. Faded bell-bottom jeans. Fringed suede jacket. Dark wavy hair to his shoulders. Carrying a guitar case. Back then he would have offered the kid a lift.
Choices. Something else that could have been taken away—as if we ever choose. As if the theory of free-will wasn't so firmly rooted in the man on the subway next to us, that wasp that flies up into the lampshade and never gets burnt, or that fragment of bodily dust, lit up by a stray sunbeam into a thread of golden satin.
The German Kaiser and the Habsburg Emperor and their families were gone, and nobody was going to return them to their thrones. They'd caused the Great War, so said the western Allies, and they'd been tossed out, and they'd stay out, and good riddance.