The Round House

Bazil is a tribal judge on the Chippewa reservation where he lives with his wife Geraldine and his son Joe. Bazil is a doting husband who, after Geraldine's assault, does everything he can—from planting her a flower garden to tracking down her rapist—to ensure that Geraldine recovers from her trauma. Bazil serves as one of Joe's most influential role models in the book. He is extremely smart and well-read, particularly in regards to the legal history of Native people. As a tribal judge, Bazil is the primary source for many of the legal questions and information in the book. Although Bazil is aware of all the legal challenges that native people face, he expresses hope that unjust legal precedents will be overturned so the justice system can protect Native rights instead of upholding injustice.

Bazil Quotes in The Round House

The The Round House quotes below are all either spoken by Bazil or refer to Bazil. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of The Round House published in 2013.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Small trees had attacked my parents' house at the foundation… As my father prodded away blindly at the places where he sensed roots might have penetrated, he was surely making convenient holes in the mortar for next year's seedlings… it seemed increasingly important to me that each one of these invaders be removed down to the very tip of the root, where all the vital growth was concentrated. And it seemed important as well that I do a meticulous job… It was almost impossible not to break off the plant before its roots could be drawn intact from their stubborn hiding place.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Bazil
Related Symbols: The Uprooted Trees
Page Number: 1
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Chapter 2 Quotes

We were not churchgoers. This was our ritual. Our breaking bread, our communion… But now they stood staring at each other helplessly over the broken dish… If we'd sat down together that night, I do believe things would have gone on… Anything would have been better than the frozen suspension of feeling in which she mounted the stairs… My father and I had followed her to the doorway, and I think as we watched her we both had the sense that she was ascending to a place of utter loneliness from which she might never be retrieved.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Geraldine, Bazil
Page Number: 43
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We read with a concentrated intensity. My father had become convinced that somewhere within his bench briefs, memos, summaries, and decisions lay the identity of the man whose act had nearly severed my mother’s spirit from her body.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Geraldine, Bazil
Page Number: 45
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Chapter 3 Quotes

I had imagined that my father decided great questions of the law, that he worked on treaty rights, land restoration, that he looked murderers in the eye, that he frowned while witnesses stuttered and silenced clever lawyers with a slice of irony. I said nothing, but as I read on I was flooded by a slow leak of dismay… Where was the greatness? The Drama? The respect?

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Bazil
Page Number: 48
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Chapter 5 Quotes

I should have told you I am proud of you… But do you understand that if something should happen to you, Joe, that your mother and I would … we couldn't bear it. You give us life…
You gave me life, I said. That’s how it's supposed to work. So let me do what I want with it! I ran for my bike…He tried to catch at me with his arms but I swerved at the last moment and put on a burst of speed that put me out of his reach.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Bazil (speaker), Geraldine
Page Number: 93-94
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Chapter 8 Quotes

I suppose I am one of those people who just hates Indians generally… my feeling is that Indian women are—what he called us, I don't want to say… He said we have no standing under the law for a good reason and yet have continued to diminish the white man and to take his honor… I won't get caught, he said… I know as much law as a judge. Know any judges? I have no fear… The strong should rule the weak. Instead of the weak the strong! It is the weak who pull down the strong.

Related Characters: Geraldine (speaker), Linden Lark (speaker), Joe Coutts, Bazil, Mayla Wolfskin
Page Number: 161
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Chapter 9 Quotes

These are the decisions that I and many other tribal judges try to make. Everything we do, no matter how trivial, must be crafted keenly. We are trying to build a solid base here for our sovereignty. We try to press against the boundaries of what we are allowed… Our records will be scrutinized by Congress one day and decisions on whether to enlarge our jurisdiction will be made. Some day. We want the right to prosecute criminals of all races on all lands within our original boundaries… What I am doing now is for the future, though it may seem small, or trivial, or boring, to you.

Related Characters: Bazil (speaker), Joe Coutts
Page Number: 229-230
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Chapter 11 Quotes

I should have felt happy watching them across the table, but instead I was angered by their ignorance. Like I was the grown-up and the two of them holding hands were oblivious children. They had no idea what I had gone through for them.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Geraldine, Bazil
Page Number: 305
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Behind them in the next room the shelves of old books stood… Meditations. Plato. The Iliad. Shakespeare… There was William Warren, Basil Johnston, The Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, and everything by Vine Deloria Jr… I looked at the books as if they could help us. But we had moved way far past books now into the stories Mooshum told in his sleep. There were no quotations in my father’s repertoire for where we were, and it was beyond me at the time to think of Mooshum’s sleeptalking as a reading of traditional case law.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Mooshum, Geraldine, Bazil
Page Number: 307
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In all those miles… there was nothing to be said. I cannot remember speaking and I cannot remember my mother or my father speaking. I knew that they knew everything. The sentence was to endure… I do remember, though, the familiar sight of the roadside café just before we would cross the reservation line. On every one of my childhood trips that place was always a stop for ice cream, coffee and a newspaper, pie… But we did not stop this time. We passed over in a sweep of sorrow that would persist into our small forever. We just kept going.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Cappy Lafournais, Geraldine, Bazil
Page Number: 317
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Bazil Character Timeline in The Round House

The timeline below shows where the character Bazil appears in The Round House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One: 1988
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The Round House opens as the narrator, Joe, describes himself and his father Bazil weeding saplings that have grown into the foundation of his parents’ house. As Bazil removes... (full context)
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When Joe finally quits weeding the trees, he goes into Bazil’s study to peruse Bazil’s copy of Handbook of Federal Indian Law. Joe notes an exclamation... (full context)
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Bazil walks into the study and Joe hides the book under the table. Bazil then asks... (full context)
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Bazil and Joe exit the house to borrow Joe’s uncle Edward’s car and find Geraldine. Joe... (full context)
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...halfway to the grocery store, it occurs to Joe that it is closed on Sundays. Bazil keeps driving, however, and suddenly Geraldine speeds past them going in the other direction, looking... (full context)
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When they get to the house, Joe and Bazil see that Geraldine is still in her car. Bazil runs toward her, realizing that something... (full context)
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Bazil tells Joe to tell Clemence that he is taking Geraldine to the emergency room. He... (full context)
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...woman complaining to the nurse. He resolves to stay outside until the woman leaves or Bazil comes to get him. Joe mulls over what the pregnant woman said, thinking it cannot... (full context)
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...see Geraldine in her hospital room. Joe finds his mother in a hospital bed, with Bazil standing over her. Joe notices Geraldine’s swollen and distorted face and asks what happened. Geraldine... (full context)
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Bazil hopes the police will come quickly. When Joe asks “which police?” (meaning tribal or not)... (full context)
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When Bazil and Joe go back into Geraldine’s room, Geraldine’s doctor, Dr. Egge, is there. Dr. Egge... (full context)
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...into his mother’s case, he realized that this moment was when Dr. Egge first told Bazil the extent of Geraldine’s injuries. After Joe hugs his father for awhile, Clemence arrives, separates... (full context)
Chapter Two: Lonely Among Us
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...they normally spend time at one another’s houses after school, Cappy does not stay over. Bazil is at his office, preparing for a leave of absence to care for Geraldine. When... (full context)
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After Sonja brings Pearl over, Joe complains to Bazil over dinner that Pearl is too old to play fetch. Geraldine is upstairs in her... (full context)
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Bazil tells Joe they aren’t sure whether the attacker is still after Geraldine, or whether the... (full context)
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One night, Bazil decides to cook dinner. Joe goes to get a pie from Clemence for dessert. At... (full context)
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...he will be coming over to help with Randall’s sweat lodge. Joe arrives home and Bazil tells him to go wash up for dinner. After Joe washes his hands, Joe, Geraldine,... (full context)
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The next week, Geraldine begins to cook again, and Bazil meets with the police to discuss the case’s progress. Bazil is concerned because Native rape... (full context)
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Bazil enters the house before Joe, and, as Joe walks in after him, he hears a... (full context)
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After Geraldine closes the bedroom door, Bazil and Joe clean up the broken casserole together. Afterward, Bazil tells Joe to help him... (full context)
Chapter Three: Justice
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Joe, looking at the files with Bazil, reads a court decision about a casino employee who was fired wrongfully. He is surprised... (full context)
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However, Bazil says, he set the Lark case aside because of the people involved, not because of... (full context)
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Bazil pulls out another case, which describes how Linda Lark was informally adopted by the Wishkob... (full context)
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When Bazil leaves to get more coffee, Joe reads the last case file. It describes how, during... (full context)
Chapter Four: Loud as a Whisper
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...where Grandma Thunder lives, and they stop in the lobby so that Joe can call Bazil and tell him where he is. On the phone, Joe asks Bazil where Geraldine is,... (full context)
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...extra sandwich from Grandma Thunder’s house, puts his bike away, and goes inside. Edward and Bazil are drinking in Bazil’s study. Joe eavesdrops from the couch in the living room, figuring... (full context)
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Edward tries to comfort Bazil and suggest solutions, like taking Geraldine to church (Geraldine, however, does not attend church since... (full context)
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...falls asleep on the couch and later wakes up to the sounds of Edward and Bazil saying goodbye to each other. After Edward leaves, Bazil tidies up the kitchen, then walks... (full context)
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The next morning, Joe wakes up early and makes toast. Bazil comes into the kitchen to make coffee and puts his hand on Joe’s shoulder. Joe... (full context)
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When Bazil returns, Joe asks what he meant when he said that ghosts are “out there.” Bazil... (full context)
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Joe tells his father not to worry about the ghost, and Bazil agrees. Joe suggests they recruit Father Travis to bless the yard to keep the ghost... (full context)
Chapter Five: The Naked Now
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Bazil had hoped that when the lilacs opened in June, Geraldine would be feeling better. As... (full context)
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Bazil leaves to buy more plants. Joe makes himself a sandwich and then makes one for... (full context)
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Bazil pulls into the driveway with more plants, and the father and son spend the rest... (full context)
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Joe, knowing that Bazil would call their relatives and Joe’s friends to try to find out where he went,... (full context)
Chapter Six: Datalore
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When Joe returns home, he and Bazil act like their fight did not happen. Bazil tells Joe that he had an “interesting”... (full context)
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When Bazil and Joe meet Linda at the post office where she works, Joe is surprised by... (full context)
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...bread. Linda goes upstairs to talk with Geraldine and, while she is out of earshot, Bazil and Joe hatch a plan to try to gather information from Linda about the Lark... (full context)
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...the rest of the narrative by a title proclaiming “Linda’s Story.” Linda tells Joe and Bazil how she was born after Linden and she struggled to take their first breaths. As... (full context)
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...goes silent, and Joe, struggling to think of what to say, tries to comfort Linda. Bazil asks why Linda still gave Linden her kidney. Linda says that she did it for... (full context)
Chapter Seven: Angel One
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...the money as Joe explains that he found the doll in the lake. Sonja calls Bazil and tells him that she is taking Joe on errands. They say goodbye to Whitey,... (full context)
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When Joe gets home from putting away the money with Sonja, Bazil and Soren Bjerke, the FBI agent on Geraldine’s case, are drinking coffee at their kitchen... (full context)
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...a phone call and went to retrieve a file on the afternoon of her rape. Bazil pushes Joe for more information, but Joe, not wanting to talk about the money in... (full context)
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When Joe gets back from the bathroom, Bazil and Soren give Joe a citation for underage drinking, and they propose to cite Joe’s... (full context)
Chapter Eight: Hide and Q
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...describing how she determines who qualifies for tribal enrollment. The morning after Joe talks with Bazil and Soren about his mother’s phone call on the day of her rape, Soren returns... (full context)
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Joe, Bazil, and Soren then return upstairs. Bazil goes into the bedroom and says something inaudible to... (full context)
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That evening, Bazil sets up a dining table in Geraldine’s room, against her protests, so that they can... (full context)
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Bazil recounts the story of Geraldine’s great-aunt, who was left on an island by her family.... (full context)
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Bazil tells Geraldine that he believes getting justice will help her heal. Bazil also intends to... (full context)
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Bazil tries to assure Geraldine that she is safe. Geraldine stops writhing, stares at Bazil, and... (full context)
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...know what he was talking about, so he marched Geraldine forward and then raped her. Bazil pushes Geraldine to remember something that will help them determine where the crime took place,... (full context)
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...his kitchen. He is going to work at the gas station when he runs into Bazil, who had stayed up with Geraldine all night. Bazil tells Joe that Geraldine refused to... (full context)
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Joe goes to work at the gas station. When he gets back that night, Bazil tells Joe that he took Geraldine to the hospital to rest. Bazil also tells Joe... (full context)
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...dinner, Joe goes into the sewing room to sleep, but it makes him think about Bazil sleeping in the sewing room at their house instead of with Geraldine. Joe asks if... (full context)
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...to sleep. Joe also falls asleep and forgets the story until the next day, when Bazil comes to pick Joe up. Bazil talks with Edward when he arrives and tells him... (full context)
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...more subdued than she had been before, and is resting upstairs. Joe sits outside with Bazil and asks him who the rapist was. Bazil refuses to tell him, explaining that, although... (full context)
Chapter Nine: The Big Good-bye
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...to justice so that everything can go back to normal in his life. Joe asks Bazil again who the attacker is, and Bazil again refuses to answer. Joe asks if Geraldine... (full context)
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Bazil puts the mug shot away again and says he thinks Linden is aware that they... (full context)
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Bazil tells Joe that since Grace’s death Linden has been living in her house, which was... (full context)
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...over. When Joe finally goes home, he is standing outside when he hears Geraldine scream. Bazil comes outside to smoke a cigarette and sees Joe standing there. Joe guesses that law... (full context)
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Bazil comes back inside and leads Geraldine upstairs. When he comes back down, Joe implores Bazil... (full context)
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Joe realizes that each utensil represents a separate court decision that monumentally impacted Native rights. Bazil tells Joe that the rotten decision he most wants to get rid of is Oliphant... (full context)
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...ride back to Joe’s house, where Cappy says goodbye. In the kitchen, Joe, Geraldine, and Bazil all eat together, not speaking about Linden. (full context)
Chapter Ten: Skin of Evil
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Linda arrives at the house and Bazil lets her in. Joe, who has sorted out his feelings toward Linda, decides he resents... (full context)
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Together, Bazil and Joe pick up the things on Geraldine’s grocery list. As they turn into the... (full context)
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Bazil then has a heart attack; he lies on the floor of the grocery aisle and... (full context)
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The second-to-last day that they are in Fargo, Geraldine goes to get coffee and Bazil asks Joe about Linden’s whereabouts. Joe doesn’t know, but later that night, while Geraldine is... (full context)
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Joe wakes up early on the rainy day they leave Fargo. Geraldine, Bazil, and Joe drive home peacefully, with Joe dozing in the backseat. As Joe enjoys the... (full context)
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...invites her into the living room. Linda gives another loaf to Joe and talks with Bazil about the weather. Geraldine goes into the kitchen to make tea, leaving Joe, Bazil, and... (full context)
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...Joe and blinks. Joe, thinking fast, tells Linda that he wants to know so that Bazil can avoid Linden if he ever wants to go golfing. Linda tells Joe that Linden... (full context)
Chapter Eleven: The Child
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...that he was running and then went to Whitey’s. Joe can tell that Geraldine and Bazil very badly want to believe him. (full context)
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Bazil tells Joe to sit down and says that Linden is dead. Joe says he thinks... (full context)
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...and ignorant he was. Joe asks his father if Linda knows about Linden’s death, and Bazil says that he has not been able to get in touch with her. Joe falls... (full context)
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...sleep and feels guilty for having left him and the others at the construction site. Bazil comes out of his study and sits down at the table with Geraldine and Joe.... (full context)
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Bazil addresses Joe and brings up Linden’s death, saying that he was at first felt relieved... (full context)
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Bazil says that he thought about what he, as a judge, would say if he knew... (full context)
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...and a dozen sandwiches. As Joe waits for Cappy to show up, he goes into Bazil’s office and looks in his desk drawers, where he finds a manila folder. Inside, Joe... (full context)
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Joe tells Cappy about finding Mayla’s file in Bazil’s desk and how Mayla’s baby’s father was Curtis Yeltow. Joe surmises that Mayla stored the... (full context)
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...looks over and over again at the stone that Cappy gave him. Eventually, Geraldine and Bazil walk in, looking old, Joe thinks. Joe himself feels old. They get in the car... (full context)
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...drive back and Joe knows that his parents know everything that happened already. Geraldine and Bazil switch driving on and off. On the way back they pass a café that they... (full context)