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—–?” she asks, and Gather has to take the headphones off to ask her to repeat it.

“What are you listening to?” she asks again.

“Oh… Bic Runga,” he says. “She’s, uh, New Zealander.”

“New Zealander than what?”

Gather’s grinning. “What’s your name?”

“Play along,” she says primly.

“Fine, I say ‘New Zealander than New Guinea…'”

“Did you hear about my new guinea pig? He’s got no nose.”

“How’s he smell?”


“Yada datda dadatdatdaa,” they finish, shoes clattering on the floor of the bus.

Bic Runga’s still quiet in his ear. “But,” she warns him, “falling’s the easiest part…”