American Idol

I.


On the far side of the footbridge, the sun threw stretched shadows across the mudflats. Karen lowered her backpack and sat down on the damp planks to wait for the bus back to Rio Canto. The breeze at her back fluttered the tongue of the handkerchief that held down her hair. She dropped her head, closed her eyes, and let her legs swing gently from the knees. As the blood worked its way back into her calves and heels she felt the stirrings of a valedictory ache. When she opened her eyes again they fell to a gray mutt who nosed among the pilings at her feet. She watched him chew several rotten banana peels down to the fibers before his attention turned to the sodden waste washed up under the bridgehead.

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