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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 57 | volume X | November-December, 2007



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 57November-December, 2007

The First Dialogue

Excerpt from the novel “The Twelfth Dialogue”

p. 1
Tom Petsinis

Another six-aspirin day, concedes Sonya Gore, owner of the second-hand bookshop BIBLIOPHILE. Grimacing, she reaches for a slim paperback from a pile on the counter. Early in the morning she drove to a market on the other side of town, where, compulsively selecting from the vast range on offer, she filled two large suitcases almost to bursting. She considers the paper-back for a moment, a collection of poems. Does it have any worth? What price should be set on it? She confronts the same dilemma over each book: how to reconcile intrinsic worth with a realistic price. As though a sixth finger, the cigarette in her right hand releases a line of smoke that curls and twists and spirals into a cursive script, covering her face with its uncoiling before drifting away to infiltrate the pages and add meaning to books pressed hard against each other on the shelves. If only this were an ideal world. Books would be free, or at least of equal worth. As it is, she must view them as commodities and appraise each for its resale value. Poetry! she now admonishes herself, scratching away the fossilised remnants of a silverfish on the title page. If only she had seen the circular coffee stain on the back cover. What possessed her to buy it? She knows only too well that poetry does not sell, particularly self-published work. Was she perhaps drawn by the cover, a charcoal sketch of a burnt tree with its roots in the sky? Or by the sound of the author's surname, Pepel? Turning pages almost as brown as fallen oak leaves, she notices an old train ticket, the sort that disappeared years ago. She is about to throw it away, but is checked by a whimsical thought: the book has travelled through time on this ticket, and is perhaps yet to reach its final destination. How far and how much longer will it travel on this ticket? she muses, replacing it precisely in its outline on the page.
    In the chilly pre-dawn dark, as stalls were being set up and vendors of all sorts playfully cursed each other, the sentiment of several poems appealed to her and, without thinking, she dropped the book into her suitcase. Prudence, she now counsels herself. Be more circumspect in what you bring into the shop. This business requires an intuitive feel for prevailing tastes and trends, a

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