we go into the basement.  there are two staircases, perfectly aligned and next to each other, but the steps of the outside case are a good 2 feet below the steps of the case that follows the wall.  sandy hops from one narrow case to the next like it’s nothing. there is no railing. when we (sue, nick, sandy, keith, me) get to the bottom, sue, nick, and i sit on a bench.  the shorter stairs are pushed in like gymnasium bleachers by keith and sandy. in the newly visible floor is a trap door which keith and nick raise and hold back.  sandy is holding a giant box that has been taped over and over.  it is bigger than her and heavy, but she does not struggle.  she juggles it a bit to get the shape right before dropping it into the hole.  it was the perfect size to fit in, like those plastic balls with the shapes cut out and the pieces kids never have the patience to match up and slide in.
in a bookstore i look at a table of cookbooks.  there are highly saturated photos of perfectly grilled meats and rather empty looking plates of bland veggies.  it’s not what i want.  i go across the street (the day is so bright!) and meet up with friends who are getting ready to leave.  “come to church with us!” they beg in their pretty dresses.  i tell them i don’t need church, i’m reading Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  i tell them i was reading it before i came to visit but that i had left my copy at behind and i really wanted to continue with the same translation.  it was the best translation out there.  i had looked at the bookstore but couldn’t find it.  a friend offers to help.  we go back to the bookstore and she leads me to another room.  it is, or was, someone’s living quarters.  everything is wood and it smells of pipe tobacco.  we open the drawers of the dresser and inside every one is a jumble of copies of Crime and Punishment. we search through them all.  none of them are the translation i am looking for.