By Lionel Shriver

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Now they were in their fifties like Gray, though Gray had weathered the years better than this group here—their skin had slackened, their breasts drooped, their spines curved. Still, as Errol watched these women through the camera lens while Gray prodded them about Charles, their eyes began to glimmer and they would shoot each other sly, racy smiles in a way that made them seem younger as the interview went on, until Errol could see clearly the smooth undulating hips and languorous side glances that must have characterized them as teenage girls.

Maybe I don’t want to be a deity. ” “You’ll be a god, all right. I may not be able to use this rifle on you, but I gave earlier exhibitions. My parishioners remember them. If they get the idea that Charlie has been, ah, misrepresenting his authority, then Charlie and even his cute little girlfriend might not stay too healthy. ” Gray nodded. ” Corgie toured her around his buildings, explaining that he’d been an architect before the war. Each was blond, precise, and remarkable. In his cabin he showed her their scale models made from chips of wood and strips of bark.

The Masai answered angrily in his own language. “You’re quite right,” said Gray. “To outstrip a foreigner in one’s home tongue is weak and easy. ” The Masai stared at her and said nothing, as if doubting his ears. Gray had responded in Masai—correct, intelligible, and beautifully spoken. ” The Masai stared, and she was concerned she’d angered him—Masai were easily offended. ” Hyena, “ol-ngyine,” she took care to pronounce just as he had. The Masai began to laugh. He extended his hand over the table and clasped hers.

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