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September 22, 2016


The day started slowly enough, the hotel, the long stone pier, the waiting for the boat.  The Ceres.  Even when the boat had tied up to a jetty handrail and they met Bertrand and his daughter, they still had to wait for her to visit the hotel to pee.  Still they waited a half hour more while Bertrand’s friend visited him with a lobster in a bucket of salt water.  A Christmas lobster for that night, for Christmas Eve.

He felt in his coat pocket for the bag of dirt and the camera slung on his belt like a six-shooter.  The dirt had come a long way.  From Kalispell, Montana, in the U.S.A. to Cherbourg, France via Paris and the hassles of the airline and carry on luggage.  About a pound of dirt from a driveway on the edge of town.  Torn fingernail from trying to scoop it bare-handed.

Bertrand’s daughter lit a cigarette while the man handed over a bundle of five 200-euro notes, no six.  Boat fare, plus he had to pay for the huge wreath festooned with red and white flowers.  Carnations.

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