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Having nothing better to do, I walked into a nearby bookstore, thinking I might find something to occupy my time and take my mind off Rosario. The first thing I saw was a frilly broom. Not something I wanted at this time. I bounced around for a moment, feeling increasingly bouncy, until a ladylike man walked up and greeted me. "May I help you?" he said lamely.

"Um, I was looking for a dog collar, but maybe you don't have any."

"No, but we are having a special today on Hostess Ding Dongs and duffel bags. Let me show you what we've got."

duffel bag

I followed him to a brown end table, on which was stacked about thirteen duffel bags.

"These are really well worn duffel bags, but I don't need any right now," I realized intensely.

"Take a look at these duffel bags. This lime-green one is our most popular model. In a few lifetimes, everyone will have one in their house."

"Really," I replied softly. I told myself I was only here to kill time, but I was curiously intrigued by this gentleman's sales pitch.

"The technology on duffel bags has rocketed forward," he gasped suddenly. "If you haven't seen one of these, you're in for a treat."

"Well, no, I guess I haven't. What makes these so special?"

"Pick one up and take a good look at it."

Feeling like a devil, I reached for one of the duffel bags. It was remarkably papery, and it felt as though it was made of kelp.

"Go ahead, give it a try." He leapt back.

First I tried to wipe it. It was impossible to wipe, but I was astonished at how easy it was to rock it. I rocked it a couple more times.

"Wow, this really is different. I can't wipe it at all, yet I can rock it with no problem. The last one I had was really loose."

Here I stood, lime-green duffel bag in my hand. How did I get here? Would I actually consider buying a lime-green duffel bag? What would Rosario have thought? He'd probably be laughing if he could see me now.

"How much is it?" I asked in spite of myself.

"That's the other amazing thing about these," he said, adjusting his set of pink foam curlers. "Take a guess."

This is something I had no intention of getting hooked into, so I guessed ridiculously low. "Uh, four dollars?"

"Ha ha, not even close. How does two hundred thirty-five dollars sound?"

"That sounds great." I couldn't believe I was saying this. "I'll take it."

I'm not an impulsive person, but now I was walking out of the bookstore carrying a duffel bag. I hoped I could get it home in my Ford Bronco.

Okay, so this duffel bag did take my mind off of Rosario for a few minutes, but it wouldn't be long before I was thinking of the time Rosario and I were in Bogotá, riding in the Ford Bronco, looking for a good place to get some hash and sodas. Good times. Maybe the last of our really good times. It's been three days since I've seen him, and now that he is working as a zookeeper in Trenton, you would think I could move on.