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hs78150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 78

Devin was still parked outside the Richman house when Rebecca opened the passenger-side door. The radio was on. His seat was reclined. He held the beat-up paperback of Gravity’s Rainbow he always carried around, close to his face, but this was the first time Rebecca witnessed him actually reading from it. He popped the seat upright and closed the book. “So how’d it go?” he asked as he turned the ignition.

They drove toward downtown and the story spilled out, quickly and without emotion, punctuated occasionally by driving directions. She had Devin drive the long way around, as to avoid passing the dollar store. They saw a billboard advertising the upcoming premiere of Sasquatch Summer, then a hand-painted wooden sign urging visitors not to miss Tucky Thompson’s Sasquatch Circus at the Solid Gold Sasquatch Lodge. Rebecca noticed, but didn’t comment. Rebecca continued her story. “My dad said that he loved her, but that he got scared living out in the bush with her. Oh – take a right here,” she said. “He thought it would be better for me if we left. He said he felt guilty and he told me he looked for her later – the next summer – but that everything was gone. He never saw her again. Hey — we need to find a place to park.”

Devin steered the car into the far end of Qwanlin Mall parking lot and stopped.

“He said her name is Helene,” Rebecca said.

“That’s a really nice name.”

Rebecca shrugged. “I guess.” She opened her wallet and pulled out a phone card and a yellow sticky note with a number scrawled across it. “I guess I should call that Aaron guy,” she said.

Devin snatched the phone card and the yellow sticky note out of her hand. He powered the windows shut. “I’ll do it. You just stay here and chill. If you put the seat down all the way no one will see you.” He leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. “I’ll be right back.”

Rebecca watched him break into a jog as he approached the mall in search of a pay phone. A car pulled up beside Devin’s. A woman emerged, then a man. Rebecca fiddled with the lever on the side of the seat, trying to make it recline. It snapped back. The woman spotted Rebecca and pointed, calling to her companion to look. But instead of lying back and cowering Rebecca pressed her face to the window and scowled, scaring the couple. The man seized the cell phone that was clipped to the waistband of his pleated khaki pants and held it up as if it were a sacred relic with the power to ward off imminent evil. The woman grasped the man’s arm and they fled toward the mall. Rebecca laughed until there were tears in her eyes.

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke