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“Soundstage,” South murmurs, only a little thickly, peering at the bottle.

“Who?” asks Sejal.

“Soundstage,” he repeats. “I like saying that, I like the meaning. I used to think it meant a set that was wired for sound, that was soundproofed? Now my guess is it’s like a solid place, a place with structure, not a facade. Soundly constructed. Sound footing.” He thumps the ceiling of the bus and doesn’t even miss. “A place where you can trust your feet. You need that sometimes. Am I right?”

“No, it’s the first one,” Sejal says, and almost falls off with the giggles.