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But no matter how long he stared at the phone, it just sat there, a silent, unnecessarily introspective object. Nobody knocked on the door, not a single letter arrived. And nothing out of the ordinary happened. The weather stayed the same, and no flashes of inspiration struck him. One expressionless moment after another ticked by. Noon came and went, the afternoon quietly reeling into twilight. The hands of the electric clock on the wall skimmed smoothly over the surface of time like a whirligig beetle, and on the bed Mr. Nakata was still dead.