Chapter 16

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Cameron returned to the pantry, swapped the pasta for a bag of Israeli couscous and then gathered an array of institutional sized containers of cayenne, curry, paprika, and salt.  He turned on the oven to preheat and went to work.

At the end of the counter, a small portable cassette deck was plugged in the wall.  On top of the deck were cassette tapes.  Cameron thought them antiquated and did not expect much in way of music when he flipped through them.  He did not know the artist on the first two cassettes, the last he recognized, Pavarotti.  The cassette slipped in to the player and the small door snapped shut tightly.  With a stroke of the play button the tenor’s voice filled the kitchen.

* Marie and Nicole came down to the main room.  The dim amber light of the fire accented the furnishings and through the tall glass, the waning moon shined.  The soft smell of cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon lingered over the smell of the burning wood. Cameron reclined on the large sofa with one leg up on the edge of the long coffee table.  In his hand he held a glass of red wine.

“You look refreshed,” said Cameron.

Marie and Nicole had found sweat clothes that fit well enough and their heads were so tightly wrapped in shaggy towels they reminded Cameron of turbans he had often seen men wearing behind the wheel of the New York yellow cabs.

“We left plenty of hot water for you,” said Marie.

“That sounds good,” said Cameron.  He gestured to the table, “There is wine on the table and the food is about ready.”  A bottle of wine stood between two small tea lights and three stations of plates, silverware, and placemats.

“Very proper Mister Kincaid,” said Marie.

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