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DIGBY FAIR/G. K. Wuori DANIELLE CAME UP to me at the school and told me she had $87,000 in the bank and that she had dual citizenship, American and Canadian. This was at her high school in Nova Scotia, near where they'd recently filmed The Scarlet Letter. People there were pretty proud of that, so I didn't say that it had been a dog in the States, a real snoozer. I'm a college recruiter, so children tell me things about their money. Sometimes they tell the truth. "Where do you live?" I asked. "Kejimkujik," she said. "That's about five towns into nowhere from here." She was in grade twelve, an animal quickness to her, brown hair that had some blonde messed into it. Peroxide is and is not popular, but it never goes away. She had rough, scratched hands and more knuckle than young girls usually have. "My father's seventy-one." "Oh?" "My mother works in a sardine factory." My consults are free and then I disappear. While the name and address will be faxed by modem to the machine back home—"You'll get mail," I tell the students, "from us until you're around sixty-five"—I am ephemeral, a kind man. StUl, I am one of their first experiences with a broader world. They know they are being coded as they speak so they often come on rich and powerful. "I work aU the time," she said. "I've worked since I was five." "What do you do?" "I rake blueberries. I pick raspberries. Everyone around here is so old, I go into the woods for them and haul out dead trees. It's wet wood." "They pay you?" "Alot," she said. "Especially the men. This one guy? He pays me the most when I'm really dirty. He says it shows industry." "You work hard, I think." "I always have," she said, and then: "I jog, too. I'm not an athlete. I don't do any sports. I just run whenever I can." The Missouri Review · 229 "What do you do in your spare time?" I asked. Mostly, I was joking, but it's hard to joke with kids because they've been told that this thing with the college people is reaUy, reaUy serious. "None of us," DanieUe repUed, "has any spare time." At her age, as I recaUed, I had nothing but spare time. It was all extra, uncommitted. There was a freedom to it and that was good. Then it was gone and that was good, too. Too much being free, I had been told, leads to unreasonableness later in Ufe. "Do you have any friends?" I asked. This was not, I should add, a formal interview. Her school was having a college fair, and we were in the gym with about thirty other universities. My own table was next to the Royal Canadian Mounted PoUce ("RCMP" is what you always say). I didn't mind the talk, though. It's fun to push the kids, to see how awkward they can be as they try to bargain. Besides, unlike Danielle, I had plenty of time. "One," she said. "One?" "One good one. Her name's Beaches." "Oh." "She wants to be a massage therapist. Do you have that at your school?" "No," I said. "Why not?" "You don't exactly need a coUege degree to be a massage therapist." "I suppose," she said. I kept moving between DanieUe and my display , replacing booklets as students took them. I tried to keep the kids from walking off with my pens. "But you need to be smart," she went on. "Beaches says you have to know nearly everything to do it. You touch bodies, she says, and you get people's feelings on your hands. You have to put them somewhere ." "Thafs oddly put," I said, "a funny way of looking at it." "Not funny." Danielle's eyes, gray as a fog off the Bay ofFundy, suggested she was moving in for a kill. I was wondering if I'd confirmed my motel reservation for that night. I was going to Truro. "Odd, dear," I said...


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