Tū G’lants, bî Jemz Jôs

Ɖ gre worm īvnñ v Ōġst hd dsndd upn ɖ siti n a mîld worm er, a meṃri v sumr, srkletd in ɖ strīts. Ɖ strīts, śutrd fr ɖ rpoz v Súnde, swormd wɖ a gêli culrd crǎd. Lîc ilumind prlz, ɖ lamps śon fṛm ɖ sumits v ɖer tōl polz upn ɖ livñ txćr b’lo, ẃć, ćenjñ śep n hy unsīsñli, snt p intu ɖ worm gre īvnñ er an unćenjñ unsīsñ mrmr.

Tū yuñ men cem dǎn ɖ hil v Rutḷnd Sqer. Wn v ɖm wz jst brññ a loñ moṇlog t a clos. Ɖ uɖr, hu wōct on ɖ vrj v ɖ paʈ n wz at tîmz oblîjd t step on t ɖ rod, owñ t hiz cmpańn’z rūdnis, wòr an aḿzd liṣnñ fes. H wz sqot n rudi. A yotñ cap wz śuvd far bac fṛm hiz fōrhed n ɖ naṛtiv t ẃć h lisnd md constnt wevz v xpreśn brec fʈ ovr hiz fes fṛm ɖ cornrz v hiz nǒz n îz n mǎʈ. Litl jets v ẃizñ laftr foloud wn anɖr ǎt v hiz cnvulst bodi. Hiz îz, twnc̣lñ wɖ cunñ injômnt, glanst at evri momnt twdz hiz cmpańn’z fes. Wns or twîs h ri’renjd ɖ lît wōtr-prūf ẃć h hd sluñ ovr wn śoldr in torịdorfaśn. Hiz brìćz, hiz ẃît rubr śuz n hiz jōnṭli sluñ wōtr-prūf xprest yʈ. Bt hiz figr fél intu r’tundti at ɖ weist, hiz her wz scant n gre n hiz fes, ẃn ɖ wevz v xpreśn hd pást ovr it, hd a ravijd lc.

Ẃn h wz qt śr ɖt ɖ naṛtiv hd endd h laft nôzlisli fr fŭli haf a minit. Ɖen h sd:

“Wel!… Ɖt tecs ɖ biscit!”

Hiz vôs sīmd winoud v vigr; n t infors hiz wrdz h add wɖ hymr:

“Ɖt tecs ɖ solitri, ynīc, n, f I me so cōl it, recherché biscit!”

H bcem sirịs n sîḷnt ẃn h hd sd ɖs. Hiz tuñ wz tîrd fr h hd bn tōcñ ol ɖ afṭnun in a publichǎs in Dorsit Strīt. Most ppl cnsidrd Leṇhn a līć bt, in spît v ɖs repyteśn, hiz adrôtnis n eḷqns hd olwz privntd hiz frendz fṛm formñ eni jenṛl poḷsi agnst him. H hd a brev manr v cmñ p t a parti v ɖm in a bar n v holdñ himslf nimbli at ɖ bordrz v ɖ cumṗni untl h wz includd in a rǎnd. H wz a sportñ vegṛnt armd wɖ a vast stoc v storiz, liṃrics n ridlz. H wz insnṣtiv t ol cndz v dscrṭsi. Nwn ń hǎ h aćivd ɖ strn tasc v livñ, bt hiz nem wz vegli asośietd wɖ rêsñtiśuz.

“N ẃr dd y pic hr p, Corli?” h asct.

Corli ran hiz tuñ swiftli alñ hiz upr lip.

“Wn nît, man,” h sd, “I wz gwñ alñ Dem Strīt n I spotd a fîn tart undr Wōtrhǎs’z cloc n sd gdnît, y nǒ. So w wnt fr a wōc rnd bî ɖ cnal n ś tld m ś wz a slevi in a hǎs in Baġt Strīt. I pt mî arm rnd hr n sqizd hr a bit ɖt nît. Ɖen nxt Súnde, man, I met hr bî apôntmnt. W wnt ǎt t Donibrŭc n I bròt hr intu a fīld ɖr. Ś tld m ś yst t g wɖ a dẹrimn… It wz fîn, man. Siġréts evri nît ś’d brñ m n peyñ ɖ tram ǎt n bac. N wn nît ś bròt m tū bludi fîn sgarz—O, ɖ riyl ćīz, y nǒ, ɖt ɖ old felo yst t smoc… I wz afred, man, ś’d gt in ɖ faṃliwe. Bt ś’z p t ɖ doj.”

“Mbi ś ʈncs y’l mari hr,” sd Leṇhn.

“I tld hr I wz ǎt v a job,” sd Corli. “I tld hr I wz in Pim’z. Ś dz’nt nǒ mî nem. I wz tù hẹri t tel hr ɖt. Bt ś ʈncs I’m a bit v clas, y nǒ.”

Leṇhn laft agn, nôzlisli.

“V ol ɖ gd wnz evr I hŕd,” h sd, “ɖt imfaticli tecs ɖ biscit.”

Corli’z strîd acnolijd ɖ complimnt. Ɖ swñ v hiz brli bodi md hiz frend x’kt a fy lît skips fṛm ɖ paʈ t ɖ rodwe n bac agn. Corli wz ɖ sun v an inspctr v p’līs n h hd inheṛtd hiz faɖr’z frem n geit. H wōct wɖ hiz handz bî hiz sîdz, holdñ himslf irect n sweyñ hiz hed fṛm sîd t sîd. Hiz hed wz larj, globylr n ôli; it swetd in ol weɖrz; n hiz larj rǎnd hat, set upn it sîdwez, lct lîc a bulb ẃć hd groun ǎt v anɖr. H olwz stérd stret bfr him az f h wr on p’red n, ẃn h wśt t gêz aftr smwn in ɖ strīt, it wz nesṣri fr him t muv hiz bodi fṛm ɖ hips. At preznt h wz abt tǎn. Ẃnvr eni job wz vecnt a frend wz olwz redi t gv him ɖ hard wrd. H wz ofn t b sìn wōcñ wɖ p’līsṃn in plen cloɖz, tōcñ rṇstli. H ń ɖ inr sîd v ol aferz n wz fond v dliṿrñ fînl jujmnts. H spouc wɖt liṣnñ t ɖ spīć v hiz cmpańnz. Hiz convseśn wz mnli abt himslf: ẃt h hd sd t sć a prsn n ẃt sć a prsn hd sd t him n ẃt h hd sd t setl ɖ matr. Ẃn h rportd ɖz daylogz h asṗretd ɖ frst letr v hiz nem aftr ɖ manr v Floṛntînz.

Leṇhn ofrd hiz frend a siġrét. Az ɖ tū yuñ men wōct on ʈru ɖ crǎd Corli oceźṇli trnd t smîl at sm v ɖ pasñ grlz bt Leṇhn’z gêz wz fixt on ɖ larj fent mūn srcld wɖ a dubl helo. H woćt rṇstli ɖ pasñ v ɖ gre web v twîlît acrs its fes. At leñʈ h sd:

“Wel … tel m, Corli, I s’poz y’l b ebl t pl it of ol rît, ê?”

Corli clozd wn î xpresivli az an ansr.

“Z ś gem fr ɖt?” asct Leṇhn dybịsli. “Y cn nvr nǒ wimin.”

“Ś’z ol rît,” sd Corli. “I nǒ ɖ we t gt arnd hr, man. Ś’z a bit gn on m.”

“Y’r ẃt I cōl a ge L’ʈārio,” sd Leṇhn. “N ɖ propr cnd v a L’ʈārio, tù!”

A śêd v moc̣ri rlivd ɖ srviḷti v hiz manr. T sev himslf h hd ɖ habit v līvñ hiz flaṭri opn t ɖ intrpṛteśn v reḷri. Bt Corli hd nt a sutl mînd.

“Ɖr’z nʈñ t tuć a gd slevi,” h afrmd. “Tec mî tip fr it.”

“Bî wn hu hz traid ɖm ol,” sd Leṇhn.

“Frst I yst t g wɖ grlz, y nǒ,” sd Corli, unbŭẓmñ; “grlz of ɖ Sǎʈ Srklr. I yst t tec ɖm ǎt, man, on ɖ tram smẃr n pe ɖ tram or tec ɖm t a band or a ple at ɖ ʈiytr or bai ɖm ćocḷt n swīts or smʈñ ɖt we. I yst t spend muni on ɖm rît inuf,” h add, in a cnvinsñ ton, az f h wz conśs v biyñ disḅlivd.

Bt Leṇhn cd wel b’liv it; h nodd grevli.

“I nǒ ɖt gem,” h sd, “n it’s a mug’z gem.”

“N dám ɖ ʈñ I evr got ǎt v it,” sd Corli.

“Dito hir,” sd Leṇhn.

“Onli of v wn v ɖm,” sd Corli.

H môsnd hiz upr lip bî runñ hiz tuñ alñ it. Ɖ rec̣lex́n brîtnd hiz îz. H tù gezd at ɖ pel disc v ɖ mūn, nǎ nirli veild, n sīmd t meḍtet.

“Ś wz … a bit v ol rît,” h sd rgretf̣li.

H wz sîḷnt agn. Ɖen h add:

“Ś’z on ɖ trf nǎ. I sw hr drîvñ dǎn Rl Strīt wn nît wɖ tū feloz wɖ hr on a car.”

“I s’poz ɖt’s yr dwñ,” sd Leṇhn.

“Ɖr wz uɖrz at hr bfr m,” sd Corli fiḷsoficli.

Ɖs tîm Leṇhn wz inclînd t disḅliv. H śc hiz hed t n fro n smîld.

“Y nǒ y c’nt cid m, Corli,” h sd.

“Onist t God!” sd Corli. “Dd’nt ś tel m hrslf?”

Leṇhn md a trajic jsćr.

“Bes btreyr!” h sd.

Az ɖe pást alñ ɖ relñz v Triṇti Colij, Leṇhn scipt ǎt intu ɖ rod n pīrd p at ɖ cloc.

“Twenti aftr,” h sd.

“Tîm inuf,” sd Corli. “Ś’l b ɖr ol rît. I olwz let hr wêt a bit.”

Leṇhn laft qaytli.

“Icod! Corli, y nǒ hǎ t tec ɖm,” h sd.

“I’m p t ol ɖer litl trics,” Corli cnfest.

“Bt tel m,” sd Leṇhn agn, “r y śr y cn brñ it of ol rît? Y nǒ it’s a ticliś job. Ɖ’r dám clos on ɖt pônt. Ê?… Ẃt?”

Hiz brît, smōl îz srćt hiz cmpańn’z fes fr ri’śuṛns. Corli swuñ hiz hed t n fro az f t tos asd an insistnt insect, n hiz brǎz gaɖrd.

“I’l pl it of,” h sd. “Līv it t m, c’nt y?”

Leṇhn sd no mor. H dd nt wś t rufl hiz frend’z tmpr, t b snt t ɖ devl n tld ɖt hiz advîs wz nt wontd. A litl tact wz nesṣri. Bt Corli’z brǎ wz sn smuɖ agn. Hiz ʈts wr runñ anɖr we.

“Ś’z a fîn dīsnt tart,” h sd, wɖ aprīśieśn; “ɖt’s ẃt ś z.”

Ɖe wōct alñ Nasǎ Strīt n ɖen trnd intu Cilder Strīt. Nt far fṛm ɖ porć v ɖ club a harpist std in ɖ rodwe, pleyñ t a litl rñ v lisnrz. H pluct at ɖ wîrz hīdlisli, glansñ qcli fṛm tîm t tîm at ɖ fes v ć ny-cmr n fṛm tîm t tîm, wiṛli olso, at ɖ scî. Hiz harp, tù, hīdlis ɖt hr cuṿrñz hd fōḷn abt hr niz, sīmd wiri alîc v ɖ îz v strenjrz n v hr mastr’z handz. Wn hand pleid in ɖ beis ɖ meḷdi v Sîḷnt, Ô Môl, ẃl ɖ uɖr hand c’rird in ɖ trebl aftr ć grūp v nots. Ɖ nots v ɖ er sǎndd dīp n fl.

Ɖ tū yuñ men wōct p ɖ strīt wɖt spīcñ, ɖ mōrnfl ḿzic folowñ ɖm. Ẃn ɖe rīćt Stìvn’z Grīn ɖe crost ɖ rod. Hir ɖ nôz v tramz, ɖ lîts n ɖ crǎd rlist ɖm fṛm ɖer sîḷns.

“Ɖr ś z!” sd Corli.

At ɖ cornr v Hym Strīt a yuñ wmn wz standñ. Ś wòr a blu dres n a ẃît sêlr hat. Ś std on ɖ crbston, swññ a súnśêd in wn hand. Leṇhn grù lîvli.

“Let’s hv a lc at hr, Corli,” h sd.

Corli glanst sîdwez at hiz frend n an unpleznt grin apird on hiz fes.

“R y trayñ t gt insd m?” h asct.

“Dám it!” sd Leṇhn boldli, “I d’nt wont an intṛdux́n. Ol I wont z t hv a lc at hr. I’m nt gwñ t īt hr.”

“Ô… A lc at hr?” sd Corli, mor emịbli. “Wel … I’l tel y ẃt. I’l g ovr n tōc t hr n y cn pas bî.”

“Rît!” sd Leṇhn.

Corli hd olrdi ʈroun wn leg ovr ɖ ćenz ẃn Leṇhn cōld ǎt:

“N aftr? Ẃr wl w mīt?”

“Haf ten,” ansrd Corli, brññ ovr hiz uɖr leg.

“Ẃr?”

“Cornr v Merịn Strīt. W’l b cmñ bac.”

“Wrc it ol rît nǎ,” sd Leṇhn in férwel.

Corli dd nt ansr. H sōntrd acrs ɖ rod sweyñ hiz hed fṛm sîd t sîd. Hiz bulc, hiz īzi pes, n ɖ solid sǎnd v hiz būts hd smʈñ v ɖ concrr in ɖm. H aproćt ɖ yuñ wmn n, wɖt s’lūtñ, bgan at wns t cnvrs wɖ hr. Ś swuñ hr umbrela mor qcli n x’ktd haf trnz on hr hìlz. Wns or twîs ẃn h spouc t hr at clos qortrz ś laft n bnt hr hed.

Leṇhn obzrvd ɖm fr a fy minits. Ɖen h wōct rapidli alñ bsd ɖ ćenz at sm distns n crost ɖ rod oblicli. Az h aproćt Hym Strīt cornr h faund ɖ er heṿli séntd n hiz îz md a swift añśs scrūṭni v ɖ yuñ wmn’z apiṛns. Ś hd hr Súnde fîṇri on. Hr blu srj scrt wz hld at ɖ weist bî a blt v blac leɖr. Ɖ gret silvr bucl v hr blt sīmd t dpres ɖ sntr v hr bodi, caćñ ɖ lît stuf v hr ẃît blǎz lîc a clip. Ś wòr a śort blac jacit wɖ muɖr-v-prl butnz n a ragid blac boa. Ɖ endz v hr tyl coḷrét hd bn cerf̣li dsordrd n a big bunć v red flǎrz wz pind in hr bŭzm, stemz upwdz. Leṇhn’z îz notd apruvñli hr stǎt śort musklr bodi. Franc rūd hlʈ gloud in hr fes, on hr fat red ćīcs n in hr un’baśt blu îz. Hr fīćrz wr blunt. Ś hd brōd nostṛlz, a straġlñ mǎʈ ẃć le opn in a cntntd lir, n tū pṛjctñ frunt tīʈ. Az h pást Leṇhn tc of hiz cap n, aftr abt ten secndz, Corli rtrnd a s’lūt t ɖ er. Ɖs h dd bî rezñ hiz hand vegli n pnsivli ćenjñ ɖ angl v pziśn v hiz hat.

Leṇhn wōct az far az ɖ Śelbōrn Hotel ẃr h hōltd n wêtd. Aftr wêtñ fr a litl tîm h sw ɖm cmñ twdz him n, ẃn ɖe trnd t ɖ rît, h foloud ɖm, stepñ lîtli in hiz ẃît śuz, dǎn wn sîd v Merịn Sqer. Az h wōct on slǒli, tîmñ hiz pes t ɖerz, h woćt Corli’z hed ẃć trnd at evri momnt twdz ɖ yuñ wmn’z fes lîc a big bōl rvolvñ on a piṿt. H cept ɖ per in vy untl h hd sìn ɖm clîmñ ɖ sterz v ɖ Donibrŭc tram; ɖen h trnd abt n wnt bac ɖ we h hd cm.

Nǎ ɖt h wz alon hiz fes lct oldr. Hiz geyti sīmd t fsec him n, az h cem bî ɖ relñz v ɖ Dyc’s Lōn, h alaud hiz hand t run alñ ɖm. Ɖ er ẃć ɖ harpist hd pleid bgan t cntrol hiz muvmnts. Hiz softli padd fīt pleid ɖ meḷdi ẃl hiz fngrz swept a scel v verieśnz îdli alñ ɖ relñz aftr ć grūp v nots.

H wōct listlisli rnd Stìvn’z Grīn n ɖen dǎn Graftn Strīt. Ɖo hiz îz tc not v mni elimnts v ɖ crǎd ʈru ẃć h pást ɖe dd so mrosli. H faund trivịl ol ɖt wz mnt t ćarm him n dd nt ansr ɖ glansz ẃć invîtd him t b bold. H ń ɖt h wd hv t spīc a gret dīl, t invnt n t aḿz, n hiz bren n ʈrot wr tù drî fr sć a tasc. Ɖ probḷm v hǎ h cd pas ɖ aurz tl h met Corli agn trubld him a litl. H cd ʈnc v no we v pasñ ɖm bt t cīp on wōcñ. H trnd t ɖ left ẃn h cem t ɖ cornr v Rutḷnd Sqer n flt mor at īz in ɖ darc qayt strīt, ɖ sombr lc v ẃć sūtd hiz mūd. H pōzd at last bfr ɖ windo v a pur-lcñ śop ovr ẃć ɖ wrdz Rfreśmntbar wr printd in ẃît letrz. On ɖ glas v ɖ windo wr tū flayñ inscripśnz: Jinjrbir n Jinjr El. A cut ham wz xpozd on a gret blu diś ẃl nir it on a plet le a segmnt v vri lît plum pŭdñ. H aid ɖs fūd rṇstli fr sm tîm n ɖen, aftr glansñ weṛli p n dǎn ɖ strīt, wnt intu ɖ śop qcli.

H wz hungri fr, xpt sm biscits ẃć h hd asct tū grujñ kṛts t brñ him, h hd ītn nʈñ sins brecfsțîm. H sat dǎn at an uncuvrd wŭdn tebl oṗzit tū wrcgrlz n a mcanic. A slaṭnli grl wêtd on him.

“Hǎ mć z a plet v piz?” h asct.

“Ʈri hepns, sr,” sd ɖ grl.

“Brñ m a plet v piz,” h sd, “n a botl v jinjrbir.”

H spouc rufli in ordr t b’lî hiz er v jntiḷti fr hiz entri hd bn foloud bî a pōz v tōc. Hiz fes wz hītd. T apir naćṛl h pśt hiz cap bac on hiz hed n plantd hiz elboz on ɖ tebl. Ɖ mcanic n ɖ tū wrcgrlz xamind him pônt bî pônt bfr rzymñ ɖer convseśn in a sbdyd vôs. Ɖ grl bròt him a plet v grosr’z hot piz, sīznd wɖ pepr n viṇgr, a forc n hiz jinjrbir. H ét hiz fūd grīḍli n faund it so gd ɖt h md a not v ɖ śop mnṭli. Ẃn h hd ītn ol ɖ piz h sipt hiz jinjrbir n sat fr sm tîm ʈncñ v Corli’z advnćr. In hiz imaɉneśn h bheld ɖ per v luvrz wōcñ alñ sm darc rod; h hŕd Corli’z vôs in dīp eṇjetic gaḷntriz n sw agn ɖ lir v ɖ yuñ wmn’z mǎʈ. Ɖs viźn md him fīl cīnli hiz ǒn poṿti v prs n spirit. H wz tîrd v nocñ abt, v pŭlñ ɖ devl bî ɖ teil, v śifts n intrigz. H wd b ʈrti-wn in Nvmbr. Wd h nvr gt a gd job? Wd h nvr hv a hom v hiz ǒn? H ʈt hǎ pleznt it wd b t hv a worm fîr t sit bî n a gd dinr t sit dǎn t. H hd wōct ɖ strīts loñ inuf wɖ frendz n wɖ grlz. H ń ẃt ɖoz frendz wr wrʈ: h ń ɖ grlz tù. Xpirịns hd imbitrd hiz hart agnst ɖ wrld. Bt ol hop hd nt left him. H flt betr aftr hvñ ītn ɖn h hd flt bfr, les wiri v hiz lîf, les vanqiśt in spirit. H mt yt b ebl t setl dǎn in sm snug cornr n liv haṗli f h cd onli cm acrs sm gd simpl-mîndd grl wɖ a litl v ɖ redi.

H peid tupns heṗni t ɖ slaṭnli grl n wnt ǎt v ɖ śop t bgin hiz wonḍrñ agn. H wnt intu Cepl Strīt n wōct alñ twdz ɖ Siti Hōl. Ɖen h trnd intu Dem Strīt. At ɖ cornr v Jorj’z Strīt h met tū frendz v hiz n stopt t cnvrs wɖ ɖm. H wz glad ɖt h cd rest fṛm ol hiz wōcñ. Hiz frendz asct him hd h sìn Corli n ẃt wz ɖ lêtist. H rplaid ɖt h hd spent ɖ de wɖ Corli. Hiz frendz tōct vri litl. Ɖe lct vecntli aftr sm figrz in ɖ crǎd n smtmz md a criticl rmarc. Wn sd ɖt h hd sìn Mac an aur bfr in Wstmorḷnd Strīt. At ɖs Leṇhn sd ɖt h hd bn wɖ Mac ɖ nît bfr in Īgn’z. Ɖ yuñ man hu hd sìn Mac in Wstmorḷnd Strīt asct wz it tru ɖt Mac hd wún a bit ovr a biłdmać. Leṇhn dd nt nǒ: h sd ɖt Hoḷhn hd std ɖm drincs in Īgn’z.

H left hiz frendz at a qortr t ten n wnt p Jorj’z Strīt. H trnd t ɖ left at ɖ Siti Marcits n wōct on intu Graftn Strīt. Ɖ crǎd v grlz n yuñ men hd ʈind n on hiz we p ɖ strīt h hŕd mni grūps n cuplz bidñ wn anɖr gdnît. H wnt az far az ɖ cloc v ɖ Colij v Srjnz: it wz on ɖ stroc v ten. H set of briscli alñ ɖ norɖn sîd v ɖ Grīn huriyñ fr fir Corli śd rtrn tù sn. Ẃn h rīćt ɖ cornr v Merịn Strīt h tc hiz stand in ɖ śado v a lamp n bròt ǎt wn v ɖ siġréts ẃć h hd rzrvd n lit it. H līnd agnst ɖ lamp̓ost n cept hiz gêz fixt on ɖ part fṛm ẃć h xpctd t si Corli n ɖ yuñ wmn rtrn.

Hiz mînd bcem activ agn. H wundrd hd Corli manijd it s’xesf̣li. H wundrd f h hd asct hr yt or f h wd līv it t ɖ last. H sufrd ol ɖ pañz n ʈrilz v hiz frend’z sićueśn az wel az ɖoz v hiz ǒn. Bt ɖ meṃri v Corli’z slǒli rvolvñ hed cāmd him smẃt: h wz śr Corli wd pl it of ol rît. Ol at wns ɖ îdīa struc him ɖt phps Corli hd sìn hr hom bî anɖr we n gvn him ɖ slip. Hiz îz srćt ɖ strīt: ɖr wz no sîn v ɖm. Yt it wz śrli haf-an-aur sins h hd sìn ɖ cloc v ɖ Colij v Srjnz. Wd Corli d a ʈñ lîc ɖt? H lit hiz last siġrét n bgan t smoc it nrṿsli. H strend hiz îz az ć tram stopt at ɖ far cornr v ɖ sqer. Ɖe mst hv gn hom bî anɖr we. Ɖ pepr v hiz siġrét brouc n h fluñ it intu ɖ rod wɖ a crs.

Sudnli h sw ɖm cmñ twdz him. H startd wɖ dlît n, cīpñ clos t hiz lamp̓ost, traid t rīd ɖ rzult in ɖer wōc. Ɖe wr wōcñ qcli, ɖ yuñ wmn tecñ qc śort steps, ẃl Corli cept bsd hr wɖ hiz loñ strîd. Ɖe dd nt sīm t b spīcñ. An inṭmeśn v ɖ rzult prict him lîc ɖ pônt v a śarp instṛmnt. H ń Corli wd fel; h ń it wz no g.

Ɖe trnd dǎn Baġt Strīt n h foloud ɖm at wns, tecñ ɖ uɖr ftpaʈ. Ẃn ɖe stopt h stopt tù. Ɖe tōct fr a fy momnts n ɖen ɖ yuñ wmn wnt dǎn ɖ steps intu ɖ eria v a hǎs. Corli rmend standñ at ɖ éj v ɖ paʈ, a litl distns fṛm ɖ frunt steps. Sm minits pást. Ɖen ɖ hōldor wz opnd slǒli n cōśsli. A wmn cem runñ dǎn ɖ frunt steps n coft. Corli trnd n wnt twdz hr. Hiz brōd figr hid hrz fṛm vy fr a fy secndz n ɖen ś ri’pird runñ p ɖ steps. Ɖ dor clozd on hr n Corli bgan t wōc swiftli twdz Stìvn’z Grīn.

Leṇhn hurid on in ɖ sem d’rex́n. Sm drops v lît ren fél. H tc ɖm az a wornñ n, glansñ bac twdz ɖ hǎs ẃć ɖ yuñ wmn hd entrd t si ɖt h wz nt obzrvd, h ran īgrli acrs ɖ rod. Añzayti n hiz swift run md him pant. H cōld ǎt:

“Hlo, Corli!”

Corli trnd hiz hed t si hu hd cōld him, n ɖen cntinyd wōcñ az bfr. Leṇhn ran aftr him, seṭlñ ɖ wōtr-prūf on hiz śoldrz wɖ wn hand.

“Hlo, Corli!” h craid agn.

H cem levl wɖ hiz frend n lct cīnli in hiz fes. H cd si nʈñ ɖr.

“Wel?” h sd. “Dd it cm of?”

Ɖe hd rīćt ɖ cornr v Īli Ples. Stl wɖt anṣrñ, Corli swrvd t ɖ left n wnt p ɖ sîdstrīt. Hiz fīćrz wr cmpozd in strn cām. Leṇhn cept p wɖ hiz frend, briɖñ unīẓli. H wz bafld n a not v menis pirst ʈru hiz vôs.

“C’nt y tel s?” h sd. “Dd y trî hr?”

Corli hōltd at ɖ frst lamp n stérd grimli bfr him. Ɖen wɖ a grev jsćr h xtndd a hand twdz ɖ lît n, smîlñ, opnd it slǒli t ɖ gêz v hiz dsîpl. A smōl gold côn śon in ɖ pām.

 

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