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from Creature (2000).

Michel parked his car on the other side of the boulevard, as was his habit, and crossed over, in this way passing the "frontier" (that's the word his neighbor, the oculist from the first floor, used) between the XVIIIe and the IXe arrondissements. He was surprised by the great silence. The late hour, a freak of traffic circulation, there was nobody around, the boulevard was deserted. Surely it had only started a short time ago, and surely it wouldn't last very long; still, Michel didn't see anyone while he was crossing.

What silence!

He didn't even hear, as was sometimes the case, the tinkling of the keys to his apartment in his pocket.

He couldn't wait to lie down on his couch. He was going to smoke, listen to some music on his new speakers, skim through the notes he'd taken down in his notebook with its black and white cover--perhaps add a kind of epilogue at the end--while waiting for Estella's call.

He was in front of the door to his building. The words "the late hour" had remained in his mind. He associated them with the idea of a watch, thought of his watch--and suddenly became conscious of a strange sensation on his left wrist--he was alarmed, looked down ...

His watch had disappeared.

It must have come undone and fallen off.

But he didn't worry for more than a few seconds, because he remembered having checked the time before parking. So his lovely watch was either back in his car or somewhere on the path between his car and the building. The most surprising thing was its coming undone like that. Surprising, but not impossible, he said to himself: a bump, combined with a slightly unusual turn of his wrist ... No, it wasn't completely impossible. Whatever had happened, the watch was definitely somewhere between where he was standing and his car.

So he prepared to cross the boulevard again, sure of finding it, with, however, the degree of uncertainty common to all mortals.

Translated by Ursula Meany Scott
COPYRIGHT 2010 Review of Contemporary Fiction
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Article Details
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Author:Belletto, Rene
Publication:The Review of Contemporary Fiction
Article Type:Excerpt
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Sep 22, 2010
Previous Article:from Les Jumelles (The Binoculars, 2009).
Next Article:from Vaches (Cows, 2008).

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