In a hospital waiting room where the wait is weighed in hours, I pick up a paperback and smell the pepper of old ink on its lightly braised pages. It's Maigret's first case M.Gallet decede translated to Stonewalled in this green Penguin printed the year I was learning to read.
Patients are complaining to each other, chairs grind out a protest on the linoleum, but here, in these tired pages, It's a hot summer in 1931 and there is a bullet in a body in the Hotel de la Loire.
I am twenty miles from Paris. I am walking the mile long boulevard of dust with the Chief Inspector. He is sweating. So I am. We are both overweight.
The nurse calls my name.