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The Lusiades

Dreamed 1984/5/17 by Wayan

Cover of 'Os Lusiadas' by Luis Vaz de Camoes, Burton edition.


I'm in the main library of a big city--not my own. It's strange. Computerized elevators. I notice a sign listing lockers full of microtexts of rare books from around the world. I decide to visit these locked stacks on Floor 4.4. I don't understand how a floor can BE fractional, but I punch it into the keypad on the elevator wall. The secretary downstairs says through a speaker "What nation do you want, sir?"

I'm annoyed, want to go exploring by myself, unsnooped. But she insists "just one locker at a time can be opened," and comes up to ride the elevator with me to do this.

White slanting trapezoidal banks of lockers under a low ceiling, struts and skylights. On the roof now--open air even. Nearly at random, I tell her "Brazil". She opens four lockers not one--oh, it's a set too big to fit. The Lusiades, apparently the national verse-epic of Brazil. I'm interested!

But when she opens them, says "Sorry, I forgot! Most of this set was stolen. But we do have other editions in the general stacks."

But I know the Lusiades is popular right now; all the regular copies will be checked out.

NOTE IN THE MORNING

Library, lockers: in the library where I work, all of us tending the card catalog have a locker in the nearby "Winecellar"... except me. Still. After five years here.

NEXT DAY

At work, I input some records of new book purchases. One's a 2-volume edition of what's apparently the Portuguese national epic poem... titled Os Lusiadas. The Lusiads.

I didn't know that.

Except, apparently, I did.



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