Uit: The Third Brother
“Mike tries to decode this and can’t. Analect tells him again to stay out of trouble and that Bishop will take care of him. It seems to Mike that Bishop is pleased to have the help, but that there is more to it. When they are leaving the office, Analect tells Mike to wait for a moment, and when they are alone, he tells Mike that Dorr had been a friend of Mike’s father, years ago. That they had all been good friends, actually, the three of them practically brothers, and that Mike’s father would be glad for news of Dorr.
Mike looks out the window. He notices for the first time how really extraordinary the view from Analect’s office is. Mike can see the whole city, enormous and smogged and throbbing. For a moment he can’t believe the sound of it doesn’t blow in the windows. But Analect’s office sits quietly above it all, humming coolly. Mike is suddenly uneasy, with only the inch of glass between the two of them and the loud, empty space above the city. He looks back at Analect, who is frowning.
“Dorr and your father were sparring partners, when they boxed back in college,” says Analect.
Mike looks back out over the city. He knew about the boxing, but his father had never mentioned Dorr. It all surprises him, but maybe it’s just seeing his own features reflected in the glass, and the long drop to Hong Kong from fifty stories up.
When Mike was a small boy, his parents often entertained. In New York City in their world, they were famous for the dinners they gave in their big beach house at the end of Long Island, especially Thanksgiving. Mike remembered the candlelight and gluey cranberry sauce, which he would wipe off his hands into his hair. His older brother, Lyle, remembered the same things. There were servants, who disciplined Mike when his parents did not. One Filipino lady in particular boxed his ears. When he was older he remembered how it hurt but not her name. Their parents gave these dinners several years in a row. There were mostly the same guests, adults who would tousle Mike’s fine but cranberried hair, and their children, a crew of beautiful, spoiled playmates whom Mike assumed he would know forever. He still saw some of them, at parties and dinners of their own on school breaks. At hearing that one or two of them had slid into addiction, Mike would remember chasing them through his mother’s busy kitchen. His mother was never in the kitchen, of course, but it was definitely hers. Small paintings of vegetables and an antique mirror hung on its walls.”
Nick McDonell (New York, 18 februari 1984)