Opening scene, from Ricochet River
The rap on Jesse—one of the raps on Jesse—is that he wasn’t very smart. You’d try to help him out sometimes. Like down at the lake we had Link’s boat out, checking the crawded trap, and I said something about déjà vu.
“Vujà dé,” said Jesse, “is the opposite. Vujà dé is that weird feeling you’re the first one out here. Nothing in the world has happened before.”
“What?” Jesse said.
Jesse gave me his dumb Indian look.
“Déjà vu,” I said, “is that eerie little brain-tick when something that just happened has happened before. Only it couldn’t have happened.
He stared at me, his brown eyes empty.
“Like something triggers this brain-whisper,” I said. “You’ve been in this exact same place and time before, even though you couldn’t have. What’s happening has already happened. That’s déjà vu.”
I took a pull on the oars and then left them out to drip on the glassy surface of the lake. Little drops from the oars – plink, plink – made circles on the water mirror. At the outer arc of each growing circle, black upside-down fir trees wriggled up into the ground-ceiling as if to find their roots and shake them loose.
“Vujà dé,” Jesse said. He, too, was watching the water circles when I looked up.
“No, déjà vu,” I corrected him. Some people can’t get anything right.