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Shame Bible, by Dave Shaw

Shame Bible, by Dave Shaw

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Published by Be About It Press
New short fiction by Dave Shaw, published by Be About It Press in July, 2014.

"Daniel says people should always be sarcastic, he says language is fucked anyway. Derrida was probably right. Daniel and Lise Stand close together and look at things and say things to each other. Daniel says the last three shows they've gone to together have featured bands that are guys playing their laptops. Daniel says bands should play shows by skyping from their bedrooms. Like literally 'phone it in'. That would be the truest modern band."
New short fiction by Dave Shaw, published by Be About It Press in July, 2014.

"Daniel says people should always be sarcastic, he says language is fucked anyway. Derrida was probably right. Daniel and Lise Stand close together and look at things and say things to each other. Daniel says the last three shows they've gone to together have featured bands that are guys playing their laptops. Daniel says bands should play shows by skyping from their bedrooms. Like literally 'phone it in'. That would be the truest modern band."

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Published by: Be About It Press on Jul 22, 2014
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Be About It Press, 2014

Shame Bible
1.
Daniel gets a text from Lise. She says 'my hair is so big today, i have so much volume. I like it,
I'm listening to ducktails'. Daniel texts back, 'I'm on a bus, good job re hair volume. are you at
school'. Lise texts back, saying that she is actually in Osborne Village, she is getting crepes with
her friend. Daniel and Lise text more things to each other. it is morning and fall and the ground is
bright with leaves. Daniel gets off the bus and walks for five minutes toward the fourth floor of
the Tier building at the University of Manitoba. He listens to a lecture about Sir Gawain and the
Green Knight. He draws a picture of a seahorse in his notebook. the girl sitting beside him looks
at the drawing and draws a Charlie Chaplin mustache onto the seahorse. Daniel looks at the girl
and smiles. He thinks, “is that supposed to be...hitler seahorse...”. He draws a yamaka on the
seahorse. The girl draws a birthday cake next to the seahorse. After the lecture the girl smiles at
Daniel and puts on her coat and leaves the room. Daniel leaves the room and walks to the library
and reads from a book of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut.

Daniel goes on a computer in the library and checks his email and then checks facebook. He has
a message from his friend in Illinois, she says she is depressed and she is going to come and visit
him when she has money. She says she will live on his couch if that is okay. She says she will
help him with his little garden. He messages her back and says his garden is kind of not
happening because it is almost winter, but he is still growing some things inside. He owns
several hydroponic lights but his roommates are worried he is going to start growing drugs. He
says he is not growing any drugs.

He sends the message and looks at her profile pictures absently. He “likes” two of them. he
“unlikes” and then “likes” one of them. He closes the window. All of the computers in the library
are running Internet Explorer. Daniel stands and walks for five minutes back to the Tier building
and sits through a lecture about Phonetics. He is taking Phonetics to satisfy the science
requirement of his degree. The class is supposedly easy but he is doing poorly. He sits in the
front row and looks at the instructor and doesn't take notes but smiles whenever the instructor
makes a joke. He wonders if the instructor appreciates this. after the lecture he walks to the bus
stop and then sits on a bus and texts Lise things. He says he is working on a new short story. She
tells him to send it to her and he says he will when he gets home. He says he doesn't know how
to end the story. They text more things to each other. She asks if he wants to come over early
tonight before the show. He says okay he will come over after he checks his plants. Daniel gets
off the bus and walks to his house. He lives in a house with his friends Laura and Noah. He
opens the door and tells Noah he is home. Noah says hello from his bedroom. Noah says there is
some soup on the stove if he is hungry. Daniel puts soup in a mug and walks to his bedroom and
looks at his plants. They are frail and depressed. He pours water on them. he shakes his head at
them and tells them that they are going to die. He says he is sorry he was not better to them. The
plants look up at him and shake their heads. They tell him it is okay. The plants say that the only
thing that is ever required of any living thing is that it should die. The plants say Daniel should
try again in the spring. It is good when human beings try at things, they say. Daniel smiles
sympathetically at the dying plants.

Daniel takes the bus to the house where Lise is living. She is renting a room in a very large house
that belongs to a widow. The house is furnished with a lot of technology that would have been
expensive in the ’80s. There are large beige intercom panels in every room. Several of the walls
are completely covered in mirrors. Lise's room has one wall that is entirely covered in mirrors
and has a big intercom panel in the middle. The intercom panel looks like it is floating in the
middle of the room, kind of. Daniel has never seen these intercom panels in use. Lise is in her
room lying on her bed. Daniel stands in her doorframe and looks at her. He says hi. She says
come visit me and he walks across the room and lays next to her. He tells her his plants are going
to die but they seem ready to accept death. Lise smiles and rolls toward him, across the bed. She
drapes her hair across his face. He says that's what his hair was like in high school. She tells him
they wouldn't have been friends in high school. She says she would have pushed him into
lockers. They hug and lie in the bed and they do not talk.

Later Daniel and Lise are taking the bus downtown toward the Garrick Theatre. They lean into
each other when the bus turns. Two middle aged ladies get on the bus and say something to the
bus driver. One of them turns to the other one. She looks angry. She yells 'I don't know where I
am and neither do you.' The other lady yells 'No one knows where anything is.' Lise whispers
'ladies, please, lower your voices.' Daniel laughs. Adrian Brody. Last week Lise had emailed
Daniel a video of a Spanish cologne commercial that Adrian Brody was in. At the end he says
'sexy' in a Spanish accent and winks at the camera.

Daniel and Lise get off the bus and walk for five minutes toward the Garrick. Daniel takes tickets
out of his pocket and hands one to Lise. She says thank you and they go into the building. They
stand in a crowd of people and watch a guy play his laptop on stage. The guy has a strobe light
going throughout his entire set. He is wearing a white theatre mask and a suit. Lots of people in
the crowd are excited due to drugs. After the guy on stage is finished he walks off stage and the
lights return to normal. Lise says her eyes feel violated. A girl next to them asks Daniel if that
was Crystal Castles or what. Daniel says yeah that was Crystal Castles, the concert is over now,
have a safe trip home. Lise says that was someone called 'Kontravoid' and smiles at the girl
sympathetically. The girl looks confused. Her pupils are just huge. Lise tells Daniel he shouldn't
be sarcastic with people. Daniel says people should always be sarcastic, he says language is
fucked anyway. Derrida was probably right. Daniel and Lise Stand close together and look at
things and say things to each other. Daniel says the last three shows they've gone to together
have featured bands that are guys playing their laptops. Daniel says bands should play shows by
skyping from their bedrooms. Like literally 'phone it in'. That would be the truest modern band.
Lise says the guy behind them looks like David Cross and Daniel looks and agrees. Daniel says
she should take a picture of him. Lise secretly takes a picture on her iPhone. Daniel laughs. They
take turns saying 'David Cross' at increasing volumes.

Later they watch Alice Glass smoke a cigarette while crowd surfing and Daniel takes a picture of
her using the disposable camera that Lise keeps in her purse. Lise and Daniel dance together.
Later they go back to Lise's rented room and they have sex on her bed and listen to Frank Ocean.
Lise kind of looks like the lead singer from that band Chairlift, thinks Daniel. What's her name.

2.
It is morning. Daniel is holding a thermos of green tea and standing in the isle of the bus, holding
a railing for balance. two girls in the seat to the left of him are looking at pictures of iPhones on
their iPhones. He thinks ‘Meta iPhone’. he wants to text Lise about this observation but his hands
are occupied with tea and railing. he drinks some tea and just burns the shit out of his tongue.

When he is at school he goes to his Medieval Literature class. He sits in the back and Texts Lise
'I experienced some meta-ass iPhone usage on the bus lol'. The girl that Daniel did the drawing
with last class sits down next to him and he looks at her and smiles. She smiles back but they
don't say anything. She is reading a book by Don Delillo. The professor comes into the room and
talks about an old english poem called The Wanderer for about eighty-five minutes. Daniel
thinks about the opening scene from The Lion King for some reason. after the lecture he puts on
his coat and leaves the room and holds the door for the girl who was sitting next to him. She says
thank you and smiles at him. They walk down the hallway next to each other but don't actually
say anything. Daniel checks his phone and has a text from Lise and a text from Noah. Lise says
'try and take a picture' and Daniel forgets the context of this response. Noah says 'pavement
cover band' which also seems like a non sequitur.

Daniel sits in the library and texts Lise things, and she texts back things. He tells her he is going
to start a fight with someone at work today because he is angry. He tells her he is angry but in a
sarcastic way. He feels severe detachment from his anger, like he is feeling it through plastic
wrap. She tells him he should listen to Sandy Denny and have a nap. He tells her he skipped his
afternoon class to text her and read wikipedia articles on a computer in the library. He is on the
bus now, still texting her. He listens to Sandy Denny and sits on the bus heading toward the
hardware store where he works.

At work he puts on steel-toe shoes and an apron and walks to the paint desk. He mixes paint and
looks at different colours. people ask his advice about colours for rooms he has never seen. He
says things like 'that colour will make the room seem warmer' and 'have a great evening'. He
smiles with his lips and laughs from somewhere on his hard palate. It feels good to be insincere,
he thinks. it feels good to be insincere in a professional context. that is what people expect. His
supervisor Nancy tells him a long narrative about the bleach sale that had happened two days
ago, and how the store had sold all of the stock before she had a chance to buy any bleach for her
house. Nancy seems constantly depressed and her stories are always calming and basically
endless, like a detailed account of every observation she has had from an arbitrary point in the
past until the present time. This is what people did with observations before we had twitter,
thinks Daniel. He works for six hours and then takes the bus home.

At home he sits in his room and does not make eye contact with his dying plants. He feels
remorse. He reads from a book of short stories by his friend in Montreal. He puts on a record by
Van Morrison and cries a little bit. He watches two episodes of Breaking Bad. Noah told him he
would like it but he's not sure if he likes it. His room is filled with the soft breeze of pre-sleep.
His bedroom holds its breath, then exhales.

3.
Daniel reads an email from Noah: 'I don't think the bible ever actually says that the forbidden
fruit was an apple. I don't know how I feel about the connection between Steve jobs and the
illuminati...seems like, grotesquely cartoonish...lol... the stuff about the snake skins at the end is
kind of "on the nose" but I like what you are trying to do, seems good... lol auto-correct changed
"good" to "god"... Freudian? Freudian auto-correct, lol, see u at breakfast.'

Noah always sends emails when he gives Daniel notes on stories. He never talks about literature
out loud. Once he said something like 'what we do does not live on the breath, we are not
Chaucer' in a email, which seemed, to Daniel, kind of pretentious.

Daniel leaves his room and walks into the kitchen. Noah is just back from a jog and is drinking
water from a glass by the sink. Daniel says good morning and thanks him for the notes on his
story. Noah makes an extended low humming sound and doesn't look at Daniel directly. Noah
puts the glass in the sink and walks toward the bathroom to shower. Daniel makes coffee and
eats an orange. How far has this orange travelled to be here. What are people's insides like.
Shouldn't I be eating something local. I biked to the store when I bought these though. Daniel
becomes remorseful. The orange tells him it is okay. The orange says 'put me in your mouth'
with a southern accent. everything is only required to die, says the orange.

After Noah showers, Daniel and Noah sit at the kitchen table and drink coffee together. They tell
each other observations and stories. Noah says Carrie left for school again, she is gone again.
Noah says he spent the night there for the last time two nights ago and he probably won’t see her
again until next spring. Unless she comes home for Christmas, maybe. Daniel talks about the guy
that looked like David Cross at the Crystal Castles concert. Noah and Daniel say lines from
Arrested Development and laugh. Noah leaves for work and Daniel goes to his bedroom and
reads over his short story again and makes small edits. Daniel removes several pronouns from his
story. Daniel waters his plants and thinks 'fuck you' to himself. Daniel deletes several tweets he
made two nights ago and scrolls endlessly through his twitter feed. Daniel imagines toilet paper
being spun from its roll and piling onto the concrete floor of a public washroom. Just a fucking
waste.

4.
It is afternoon and Daniel is on the bus and texting Lise. He is going to work. Lise tells him to
come over after work. He tells her he should shower first, he will smell like paint. She says okay.
She tells him her friend at school called her a 'skinny-ass'. Daniel says that seems funny. Only
one of Daniel's earphones works. He is listening to an album by Ssaliva. Skinny-ass. The bus is
very quiet. A bunch of people sitting in a very narrow and cold waiting room, basically. The guy
sitting next to Daniel appears to be asleep but wakes up immediately when the bus reaches his
stop. Daniel gets of the bus and walks for five minutes to work. He puts on his steel-toe shoes
and his apron and walks out onto the sales floor. The paint department is not busy and Tom is
dealing with the only customer. Tom is 65 years old and has retired twice. He says he loves
people. He was a widower and is now married again. After he deals with the customer he tells
Daniel a story about how he was trapped in a car during a snowstorm. The car wouldn't start and
he kept himself warm by urinating into a Gatorade bottle and holding the bottle close to him until
it was no longer warm ('and it didn't stay warm for long, boy') and then drinking his urine,
repeating that process until someone found him and his car. He says took was three days. Daniel
says 'jesus' maybe four times while Tom tells this story. Tom does not have a twitter account but
he is aware of Twitter. He only uses his computer to type letters to friends. He says he stays up
late 'typing away on the computer'. Daniel helps a lady decide which shade of brown has 'the
least pink in it' and imagines himself hugging a Gatorade bottle filled with his own piss.

Later he takes the bus home and watches a movie with his roommate Laura and her girlfriend.
Laura has not been home for a week because she and her girlfriend had driven to Laura's parents'
place in Calgary. Laura tells Daniel that Calgary is very clean and nice and that her parents say
hi. The movie is from Japan and is about different points of view on a murder.

Later Daniel sits in his bedroom and reads blogs and types emails and writes 'happy birthday' on
the facebook timelines of two people he has known since junior high. He goes to the kitchen and
drinks a glass of water. He smokes a joint with Laura's girlfriend, whose name is Emily. Emily is
two years older than Laura and one year older than Daniel. She has short hair and rolls her own
cigarettes. She has a tattoo of a sailboat on her forearm. Emily asks Daniel if Laura seems
depressed, lately. Daniel says he hasn't really seen her at home much, honestly, and plus it is
hard to tell with Laura. She's too sarcastic about everything. Emily says that that's what she is
worried about, all the sarcasm. Daniel hums in soft agreement. Emily hums back at him and they
both smile. Emily says she is going to go to bed, and Daniel says goodnight. Emily goes to
Laura's room and closes the door behind her. Daniel goes into his room and watches half an
episode of Breaking Bad and then falls asleep listening to Candy Claws through one earphone.

5.
It is morning and Daniel is at work. The paint department is empty except for Daniel and a
representative from Werner Ladders, who is dressed in a Santa costume and trying to promote
Werner's fiberglass ladders. It is September. The Werner Representative drinks from a large flask
and winks at Daniel. His santa suit is unclean and wrinkled but his beard looks very white and
authentic.

Daniel deals with customers as they come in. He is pleasant and authentically detached from the
customers. He smiles right through them and they nod appreciatively. Some of the older men that
come in talk about weather or professional sports while waiting for their paint to be mixed and
Daniel says things like 'shit, no kidding' and 'yeah I'll bet'. The Werner Representative has started
yelling promotional information about his ladders. He yells things like 'Werner six foot
fiberglass ladders, forty-two percent off, now only thirty-six dollars'. People stare at the Werner
representative like he is a television: both more and less than a human being.

Daniel mixes paint for a woman who is wearing a t-shirt which features a picture of some dice
and reads 'blow me for luck'. The woman asks for a gallon of the cheapest eggshell paint in a
colour called 'new denim'. She asks what she can do if she doesn't like the colour when she gets
it home. Daniel says that paint can be returned if its colour doesn't match the colour of the
swatch. The woman says 'no I mean like what if I just don't like the colour anymore'. Daniel says
'you mean what if you are unhappy with the choices you've made, and feel entitled to have your
mistakes corrected for you for free?' The woman looks confused. She says 'I saw on the tee vee
that some companies replace paint if customers are uh unhappy with how it looks on their walls'.
Daniel smiles and says 'right, because of how people can't be expected to make informed choices
and just live with them. If you are unhappy with the colour you've chosen, bring it on back.' The
woman smiles broadly. Daniel winks at her and gives her a gallon of paint. He says 'have a great
day'. The woman walks away from the paint desk. The Werner Representative is leaning on one
of the ladders and yelling about the ladders.

Daniel goes on lunch and sits in the break-room and eats two apples and an orange and some rice
left over from last night. He reads from a book by Frank Hinton and texts Lise. He doesn't talk to
anyone at work. When he is back on the floor there is a crowd around the Werner
Representative. He seems very drunk and is still yelling about the ladders. He yells things like,
'parents: hide things from your children' and 'Children: find out what your parents are hiding'.
His santa suit has large sweat stains under the arms. Some people are recording video of him on
their iPhones. He props open one ladder and climbs to the top of it. He yells 'who needs stairs,
buy this ladder' and people applaud. He says 'who couldn't use an extra six feet' and drinks
openly from his flask. people cheer and laugh. Daniel looks at the Werner Representative and
wonders if he should call the floor manager. They are selling a lot of ladders. The Werner
Representative yells 'buy two ladders and stack them on top of each other: instant safety hazard'.
Tom is scheduled to come in to work in ten minutes. Daniel thinks 'Tom will know what to do'.
The Werner Representative is standing on the top part of the ladder that has 'NOT A STEP'
painted on it. He yells 'Make your enemies walk under one and give them bad luck'.

When Tom gets in, he and Daniel look at the drunk Werner Representative and the crowd of
people around him. Many people are recording video of him on their iPhones. He has mostly
stopped yelling things and is trying to stand on one leg on the top of the ladder. People are
cheering and throwing crumpled Werner Ladder pamphlets at him. Daniel says they should
probably get him down before he hurts himself. Tom says 'that man knows how to sell a god
damn ladder'. The Werner Representative falls from the ladder onto the ground. The crowd
cheers and disperses contentedly. All of the remaining ladders are claimed. Two women fight
over the ladder that the Werner Representative had fallen from. Daniel and Tom walk over to the
Werner Representative. He is on his side and making a low humming noise. Tom asks if he is
okay. The Werner Representative says he is okay. Daniel and Tom help him stand up. The
Werner Representative opens his flask but it is empty. He combs his fingers through his very
authentic Santa beard, which turns out to be his actual beard. Tom says that that was some kind
of display, up there. Daniel asks if he wants some water or something. The Werner
Representative shakes his head. He says 'water is for horses, for fucking animals'. He says 'these
fucking people could use some water, these fucking animals'. He says he is going to go and
smoke a cigarette.

Daniel works for three more hours and then takes the bus home. He looks at different people on
the bus and thinks 'you fucking animals'. He imagines the guy from the Rocky movies calling
someone a 'wrecking machine'. He looks at an old woman on the bus and thinks 'you wrecking
machine' and smiles to himself. He texts Noah 'you're a wrecking machine'. Daniel looks out the
window of the bus and wonders when scientists will learn how to control the weather.


6.
Daniel makes coffee and puts it into a travel mug. He pours two single ounce bottles of Bailey's
Irish Cream into his coffee. He stole the Bailey's from the Liquor Commission last time he was
there, for some reason. The bottles cost maybe a two dollars each. He drinks the coffee on the
bus, going to his medieval literature class. He sits in the class and the girl he did the drawing
with sits next to him, again. He asks her what the reading for today was and she says she's not
sure and laughs. He laughs too. She asks if he has started on the first paper yet and he says no,
which is a lie. She says she hasn't either and Daniel smiles. They talk about things until the
professor walks into the room. During the lecture the girl hands Daniel her phone, the screen
says 'ADD NEW CONTACT' and has a form to add information. Daniel looks at the girl and she
shrugs and smiles. Daniel enters his name and phone number into the girl's phone and hands it
back to her. After the lecture Daniel and the girl leave the classroom. Daniel goes to the library
and looks at his phone and has a text from Lise that says 'Lo pub tonight? Teen Daze?' and a text
from a new number that says 'hi it's Samera from medieval lit. I'm going to text you things
occasionally'. Daniel texts back 'hi Samera it's Daniel, seems good, looking forward to
occasional things from you'. He texts Lise 'seems good yeah, come over before? I work till ten'.
Daniel walks to his phonetics class and doesn't do anything for about eighty minutes, just nods
and smiles, professionally.

After the class Daniel takes the bus to work. When he gets to work he puts on his steel toe shoes
and his apron and looks at the schedule posted on the wall. He is working with Susan all night.
Susan is the new paint department supervisor, she used to work in Hardware. The paint
department seems to get a new supervisor every month. Nancy is now the department supervisor
for flooring. Daniel walks onto the sales floor and turns on the small fan they keep behind the
desk. There is a mobile staircase set up and a note from Susan asking anyone who comes in to
bring down as many 5-gallon pails as they can, to fill their respective homes on the floor. All the
homes are basically empty. Daniel looks at the stairs. He brings down multiple 5-gallon pails of
paint from the steel above the shelves. It feels good to do manual work like this, he thinks. He
doesn't smile at anyone. He moves paint until his arms are sore and he is sweating. No one is in
the department. Susan is not around. When Daniel is done it is almost ten. He feels good about
his accomplishment. He stands in front of the small fan and the air feels good on his face. He
looks at the cashiers, and thinks 'fuck you'. One of the cashiers is wearing a santa hat. One of
them has two lip rings and is openly looking at her iPhone. No one gives a shit about anything.
Daniel feels self-righteous. Susan comes back to the department and says 'Wow you guys got it
all done'. She smiles insanely with her mouth. She doesn't care about anything. Daniel says 'yes
we did' but feels confused about who 'we' is, exactly. Susan turns the fan off. She says she can't
deal with fans. She says oscillation makes her skin crawl. All that movement gets the thing
nowhere, just moves the lazy-ass air around it. She has worked for this hardware store for twenty
years. Daniel nods at her sympathetically.

After work Daniel buses home while listening to Andy Stott through one earphone. When he gets
home Lise is already there and she is talking with Laura and her girlfriend. They are all drinking
red wine and looking at Laura's laptop. Lise walks to Daniel and hugs him and Daniel says he is
tired and wants to shower. Lise presses her forehead into his chest and says 'wake up old man'.
He asks Lise to boil some water for him and goes into the bathroom and takes off his clothes. He
feels angry at Lise for being here. He feels angry at himself for telling her to come over. He feels
angry at Teen Daze. He thinks 'god damn laptop music'.
In the shower he looks at his feet and feels water on him. The water feels bad and Daniel looks at
the knobs in the shower. God damn knobs. He rotates the two knobs slightly. Daniel puts
shampoo in his hair. The shampoo bottle is white and reads 'ANTI-DEPRESSANT'. The water
feels different but still bad. he rotates only one of the knobs and the water still feels mostly bad.
Everything is just bad, he thinks. Fuck showers. Fuck these goddamn knobs. He wants to tell
Lise he is not going to this thing tonight. He wants to tell her that he just doesn't want to see her
anymore. But does he want that? Just get drunk. Just wrap yourself in plastic and stop feeling
anything. Isn't that what the future is all about? Cool future drugs that wrap you in plastic so you
never feel anything. Triumph over the human body. Never feel anything raw, everything can be
processed or mediated. Everything is just electrons interacting with other electrons. Human
beings don't matter and you matter less than most human beings. The shampoo bottle reads
'ANTI-DANDRUFF'. Daniel's hair is still depressed but at least his scalp is clean and hydrated.

Daniel gets out of the shower and wraps a towel around himself and goes to his bedroom to find
clothes. Lise follows him to his room and knocks on the door, which isn't actually closed, it’s
just not wide open. Daniel says come in and she walks into his room. She closes the door behind
her and Daniel sits on his bed and looks at her. She goes to his record player and puts on a record
by Houses. She is already a little drunk, seems like. She comes and sits next to him on the bed
and says that he is all wet. He apologizes. She kisses him and he notices that she tastes like wine.
He wants to tell her that he feels depressed but he doesn't actually feel depressed anymore. They
have sex on his bed and decide not to go to that show, and Lise sleeps over and Daniel cries into
her hair as she sleeps.

7.
Daniel and Laura are sitting in Laura's bedroom, on her bed. It is evening and Emily has just left.
Laura rolls a joint on the surface of a hardcover copy of Hemingway's 'For Whom The Bell
Tolls'. The book actually belongs to Daniel; he had bought it from a thrift store several years ago
and had leant it to Laura in a sort of vague effort to make his friends read more. Laura had not
yet read the book, as far as he knew. The book has a typo on its spine, such that the title of the
book reads 'For Whom the Bells Toll'. Daniel had not noticed this until it was pointed out to him
by Laura, when he had first given the book to her. Daniel tells Laura he doesn't know how love
feels, that he can never tell if he is actually in love, he asks her if she feels that way. Laura says
she has been in love with Emily since they were very young. She tells him that they knew they
loved each other since they were 14 or 15, and had decided, together, to keep it a secret, not out
of fear or embarrassment, but a nebulous sense of duty which they were never really able to
articulate to each other, until they were older, maybe 17, and they decided, together, they didn't
actually care what people thought about them. And plus most of their friends, and family,
seemed to already know. But they had known they were in love the whole time. Daniel nods and
leans his head onto Laura's shoulder. I'm in love with you I think, he says. She says she knew
that already. They smoke the joint together and Daniel feels the soft knots of the afghan on
Laura's bed. We are family, says Laura. I really wish you would read that book eventually, says
Daniel. Reading is a form of escapism, says Laura, and I am too happy with my own reality to
really enjoy reading. Daniel looks at her. Is that how that works, he asks, earnestly.

8.
It is Morning and Lise and Daniel are together at a breakfast place that Lise wanted to try. Lise is
eating blueberry pancakes and Daniel is eating hash browns and scrambled eggs. The coffee is
not very hot but it is good and the restaurant is busy and warm and smells like baking. Lise is
smiling and trying different kinds of syrup on her pancakes. Daniel is smiling. Daniel presses
one of Lise's shoes between his shoes and she smiles at him. Lise tells Daniel to try some of her
pancakes with the blueberry syrup. It's like double-blueberry, she says, it's insane. Daniel tries it
and it is insane. They eat slowly and look at each other in the warm bright restaurant.

After they eat they take the bus to the Forks and walk around, looking at things. Daniel looks at a
group of teenage boys throwing rocks onto the frozen edges of the river and thinks about punk
rock music. They go inside a building that sells coffee and tea and Daniel buys tea and they sit at
a table in the building and drink tea and listen to jazz played through the intercom of the
building. Daniel says he used to come here a lot with his parents as a kid, but he has no specific
memories of this place. it's tricky to think about early childhood, he says, it's all in the part of the
brain where memories are recorded on VHS tapes, everything is harder to find.

Lise tells a story about when she was six or seven, when she found this rabbit hiding in her
family garden, with six baby rabbits, and she would check on the rabbits every day, and one day
she noticed that one of the baby rabbits was missing, and she looked all over the yard until she
found this baby rabbit that had gotten away from its mother. And she explained how she had
picked it up carefully and put it back in with the others, and felt proud of herself for her motherly
action, and then the next day at school she told her class this story, and one of the girls in the
class said that if a person touches a baby rabbit then the mother rabbit will stop feeding it, and it
will die, because of the oils on peoples hands, and the whole class decided that this was true, and
therefore also decided that Lise was responsible for the death of a baby rabbit, and so started to
call her ‘The Bunny Killer', and so Lise would stop eating lunches at school, and start spending
recesses alone, inside, reading old educational magazines and putting small ripped squares of
loose-leaf onto her tongue, where they would melt into a pulp that she would swallow because
for some reason it reminded her of the way baby birds eat.

Later Lise and Daniel walk to a bus stop together and hold hands and try to fit one of Lise's
mittens over their held hands. They sit on the bus and talk about Daniel's new story. Lise kisses
Daniel's ear before she gets off at her stop.

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