My brother Abe Grossman comes in and makes his way towards us, greeting one person after another with the glib assurance of a slumming celebrity. Brown and handsome, he is pint-sized on the other hand. A body-builder, Abe walks strangely, as if ever straddling a stick horse.
Sitting down with us, he holds forth.
Abe is glad our government is bombing Afghanistan, cause if it had been someone he loved in those towers, and that’s all these people understand. Clark chimes in, opining fiercely that we’ve parachuted Delta Force guys into Afghanistan weeks ago; these guys have been conducting special ops. If you killed every last Al Qaeda member, they say, vociferous, that would be self-defence.
Meanwhile our government is dropping bombs all over Afghanistan, in fact.
I sit back, aware that both believe they’re arguing against me. I want to proclaim that I’m in favour of any war, anywhere, as long as it kills lots of people and excites me. I picture Afghan villagers, standing in rice paddies, looking up in apprehension, each with his Labrador. I picture black shapes falling slowly through the air.
Just then a sparrow flies in and stops, like a blur coalescing to a point, in a potted fig tree. It fidgets, unnerved, but soon is calmed by the familiar leaves. Abe, Clark, and I shut up to peer at it, concerned. Penny Lane’s owner, Isidore, is passing, and Abe points the sparrow out.
Isidore says he will get Colin Powell to send a Sidewinder missile to deal with the sparrow. We look at Isidore non-commitally, as if he hasn’t made a joke. Then Clark, Abe, Isidore, and I forget about the bird. Isidore walks away.
We begin to really breakfast.
Abe has bought a Danish the size of a hat. He tears it to pieces and talks about leaving town. He’s moving to LA to pursue his career as a singer-songwriter. When he first arrives, he will stay with our father and stepmother in the mansion. Because Clark’s parents, too, live in a mansion, this passes without comment.
Abe then suggests that I come along with him for the drive, to visit family.