The junkie headmistress starts to signal, interrupts herself. She has a good idea what night this is. In her rooms she has received Babe's forced confessions; watching on the sly she has intercepted many signs that Constance lacks the guile or power to stifle. The junkie headmistress has watched Constance closely from the first. She remembers her as a big-boned blonde child of twelve crying disconsolate for Mommy in a cramped Chicken Coop suite to which she'd been delivered, mid-year, by her father's lawyer. Constance, her home broken, her new roommates unwelcoming, felt sufficiently friendless and unloved to wish herself dead. "I am bereft," she sobbed over and over. One of the four unwelcoming girls forced to share their suite with Constance reported her lamentations to an older girl, whose first thought was that the junkie headmistress, as a connoisseur of language and precocity, would find the youngster's choice of words amusing. Hoping thus to please the junkie headmistress, Babe, the older girl, went downstairs (her transfer from the Coop to Vice was still a year away) to collect the best words Constance uttered in her plight. Ten years have passed since that fateful meeting. The junkie headmistress is still at her monumental task of translating Baudelaire into the Latin, and thence to the Greek--she is seeking to close a certain circle. Her thoughts are blacksmith's arms, straining against the stubbornness of weighty matters. Necessarily, then, she has recourse to fire, where everything is crystals, atoms, melting, changing, gaining force. The junkie headmistress is addicted to the forge. Turning to her desk in search of the main line to the mot juste, she chooses to be unaccounted for within the moment.

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