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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 8 page 05

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Norman probably didn’t even have a name for her. Probably to him she was just some trophy chick. But to Larry she was “Clementine LaBelle," an exchange student from France. With her yellow hair, pert white blouse, red skirt, blue shoulder bag, she reminded him of Carol, a girl he’d been keen on in high school. Clementine shouldn’t hang around the Kabooze. She would end up running off with a ski instructor just like Carol did.

Train wall poster

Larry lifted Clementine up and transposed her to the Normanville Station platform. “She got a job at the travel agency,” he announced. “They want her to test-ride the Orient Express on account of she’s from Europe so she’s qualified.”

“She’s from Europe?” said Norman.

From where she stood on the platform now, Clementine could actually see the Orient Express sitting on a sidetrack. It consisted of a single navy-blue passenger coach bearing the number 3425 and the legend Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-lits in brass-colored lettering. It was attached to a plain black steam locomotive. Larry conspicuously dusted off the coach and locomotive with his handkerchief but Norman feigned not to notice.

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