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VALENTINE’S DAY, CIRCA 1943-44, MEG CARRYING A TORCH FOR RICHARD

WITH RICHARD APPEARING PANIC-STRICKEN CONCERNING THE GREATER IMPENDENCE... THE FACT OF THE TORCH ITSELF, OR THE POTENTIAL OF MEG CARRYING ONE FOR HIM...

SHE HAD SAID IT WAS A LUCKY STRIKE - ONE SHE HAD USED EARLIER IN ORDER TO IGNITE THE BUSH WHICH SPOKE TO MOSES... ONE SHE HAD HOPED, IN TURN, MIGHT IGNITE RICHARD...

BUT WITH RICHARD, AFTER ALL - MERELY TWO MONTHS PRIOR - HAVING SUSTAINED AN UNSOLICITED, SPONTANEOUS SIDEWALK TRYST WITH A TWO-HUMP CAMEL ESCAPED FROM A LIVE NATIVITY SCENE ON THE DOWNTOWN SQUARE IN PALESTINE, TEXAS, REMAINED IN AN UMBRAGEOUS STATE...

AND IF A LUCKY STRIKE LOOKED LIKE A CAMEL, SMELLED LIKE A CAMEL, AND WAS AS HOT AS A CAMEL - WELL THEN, IT COULD BE ONE...

IT WAS ALL QUITE COMPLEX - POINTLESS AND UNASCERTAINED, CHRONOLOGICALLY DISCOMBOBULATED - ONE WOULD HAVE HAD TO AT LEAST HALF-WAY BEEN THERE TO UNDERSTAND...