BY THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

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The two employees looked down at the avenue stretching before them, a straight mile or so, at the feet and wheels cutting it perpendicularly. Smoking, small-talking, their eyes suddenly caught a young man with a briefcase (A scholar!) walking up the avenue in between its hedges and parked vehicles; he looked up – they looked away, hiding from each other and him the hope that the light-blue briefcase would reveal a soul interested in archives, so surprising when they had people come in, so annihilating when the dusty shelves stood untouched for days on end. The young man reached the steps leading to the massive columns of the National Archives building, opened his briefcase (A folder? Some files?), and sat down (A book! He’s reading! “Wonderful sunny day, huh?”) Last puff, cigarettes out, backs to the avenue, flags on their poles swinging in the glass doors closing shut.

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