fountain city

FOUNTAIN CITY

First Chapter

Michael Chabon

The story of Harry Klezmer begins, like a ghost story, with the empty eye-sockets and idiot grin on the face of an abandoned house. The three-bedroom aluminum neocolonial at 3830 Magic Flute Lane, a small cul-de-sac in the Huxley, Maryland, neighborhood of Mozart Creek, had been built, along with all of its neighbors, in the middle nineteen-seventies, by a contractor named Frank Happey, an improvident and overambitious dreamer who went bankrupt and shot himself in the unfinished family room of 3838. It was the house Harry Klezmer had been raised in from the age of ten, and the one from which he had set out, a year earlier, on an aimless ramble across the United States in his dead brother's Alfa Romeo. On that distant morning his mother had stood on the doorstep, in a vast purple muumuu, blowing operatical kisses of farewell. Now the red-and-blue sign of a real estate company had been staked to the weedy front lawn, the first-floor windows, flanked by fake shutters that could never be closed, were bare of curtains, and the iron-black Federal eagle over the front door had fallen askew. The whole house seemed to exhale a melancholy breath of emptiness. Harry climbed uneasily out of the Alfa and started up the walk. When he reached the front door he saw that the mailbox was choked with circulars and gaily-colored rubbish, among them an advertisement for a Fourth of July sale on barbecue grills, suggesting that his mother had been gone for at least two months. Harry shivered. It had grown cool in the last hour and he was wearing a threadbare cotton baseball jacket that bore his brother's name, stitched in red thread, over the left breast. It was a Washington Senators jacket. Although it did not keep him very warm he was glad to have it on just then, to remind him of old Alex, who had been the kind of man people went to for advice and consolation.

At first Harry knocked, absurdly, on the paneled front door, producing a hollow sound so plaintive that it made him a little sick. Then he took the key from its hiding place in his wallet, unlocked the door, and pushed it open with his foot. He forced himself to stick his head over the threshhold and look around at all the empty September light bouncing off of the walls of what had once been the Klezmer hallway. Although he supposed that he ought to take a last tour while he was here--for nostalgia's sake, and to see if there were any clues to his family's disappearance, such as the word croatoan scrawled on a wall--there was a foxed, bitter smell in the air of the house, the floor was littered with mysterious black crumbs, and he could not make himself take another step. He withdrew the brass key from the lock and tossed it into the house; it hit against something in the kitchen and rang out once. Then he slammed the front door and hurried back to the car, shuddering.

He looked up and down Magic Flute Lane to see if any of the neighbors might be around, but all of the garages and carports stood empty. There was no one in the street except for Erno, the old yellow Labrador who often slept on the sidewalk in front of the Klezmers' house. As a puppy Erno had surprised and been bludgeoned by a prowler, an injury that left him sleepy and a little demented. His owner, an elderly neighbor, had been dead for two years now, and Erno didn't belong to anyone anymore. Harry hadn't expected him still to be around and he was glad to see Erno, sitting on the sidewalk beside the Alfa as though keeping a stalwart vigil over it, but looking dopey and half-asleep.

"Erno, Nerno, my buddy, my knucklebrain, my yellow, yellow pal," Harry said. He knelt and put his arms around Erno, and smelled him; he had always been a little sentimental about dogs. Erno smelled like the leather of his collar and like a still-warm afternoon sidewalk. Harry held onto him for a moment longer; then he got back into the car.

The car was a 1973 Spyder ragtop, red as an old Coke can, and in very bad shape; as the guardian of Alex's memory Harry had, in this respect, let his brother down. The left front fender was perforated with rust, the windshield wiper blades were held on by twist-ties, one of which had scratched an arc in the glass, and the canvas top was criss-crossed by peeling strips of duct tape. Harry's piled-in belongings only made it all look worse--they were few and disorganized and jostled for space in the small interior of the car. Harry wished, briefly but intensely, that there were room in Alex's car for Erno; but since he didn't know where he was going, or what he was going to do when he got there, finally he started the engine, pumping the gas pedal the prescribed three times quick.

"See you, Erno," said Harry.

He headed down Magic Flute Lane to Idomeneo Drive, then left onto the state road, toward the Huxley Interfaith Plexus. Although over the course of twenty years the planned, integrated, enlightened and ecumenical city of Huxley had come to seem nearly indistinguishable from the ninety-nine other suburbs strung along the freeways from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., and its school system had abandoned Open Classrooms and Team Teaching, and its candy-striped electric minibuses, which took you anywhere in town free of charge, were sold off to a Christian theme park in West Virginia, the geodesic Interfaith Plexus remained as a testament to the turned-on, Great Society-era egalitarianism of its planners. (It was Harry's peculiar destiny, and perhaps his entire problem in life, to have been raised and educated in Utopia.) At the Plexus he hoped to find his father, Jay Klezmer, who was the rabbi of Shekinah, the oddest of Huxley's three Jewish congregations. It was a Tuesday afternoon, still light, and unless his father had resigned his pulpit, he ought to be on the Plexus's playfield with the Shekinah Maccabees right about now, fungoing softballs out to this summer's outfield.

The peewee softball team was the most normal thing about Shekinah, a congregation that had been founded soon after the city of Huxley itself, in the late nineteen sixties, and whose constantly 'evolving,' Xeroxed-and-stapled liturgy incorporated not only the Torah, Midrash, and writings of Martin Buber but also those of Joseph Campbell and Wilhelm Reich, as well as Kundalini and Tantric texts, bits from the Bhagavad Gita, Popol Vuh, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Beatles songs, Black spirituals, and the poetry of Robert Frost. It was the rabbi's second congregation. He had been pressured to leave the more conventional Beth Shalom after his divorce from Harry's mother. Since he had always been a committed Leftist peacenik who liked oysters on the half-shell, fervently supported the claim of Palestinians to a national home, and believed that the original God of the Hebrews was a female deity named Hawwah, the rabbinate of even a Reform Movement temple had never quite been a comfortable fit for him, anyway. He had thrived in the pulpit of Shekinah for a long time. He was popular with the members of his congregation. He embraced leaders of the Arab community on podiums and solemnized interfaith marriages and coached the Shekinah softball team on Saturday afternoons. Then Alex Klezmer killed himself, and Harry's father made his first visit to Israel since 1966. When he came back, he had changed.

Rabbi Klezmer spotted his son when the latter was halfway across the Interfaith Plexus parking lot, and he slowly, perhaps wonderingly, waved his hand; by the time Harry reached the visitor's bench his father had jogged all the way in from left field to greet him.

"Harry!" his father said, drawing out the first syllable and doing a magician's hey presto with his spread hands. He was normally a restrained, even dour sort of man, but always effusive in greeting and farewell. His limbs were thin and angular, his nose long, and Harry noted, in the instant before they embraced, that his beard, blond, red, and silver, was longer and shaggier and more silver than ever before.

"Hey, Dad," said Harry. His father smelled of exertion, and the fabric of his sweatshirt felt good against Harry's cheek. "I went by the house."

"She moved," said Rabbi Klezmer, giving his son a big, scratchy kiss on the cheek.

"I gathered that," said Harry.

"Come over here," said his father, gesturing toward the visitor's bench. "Okay, you kids," he called to the children on the field, who had stopped practicing and were watching their rabbi, who was always good for at least one piece of unusual behavior, such as hugging a strange young man, per afternoon. "Take three laps around the field." He shooed them away with a fluttering of his hands. "Go on, go on."

The children set off, rather indolently, it seemed to Harry, and indeed as soon as his father sat down and turned his back they stopped running altogether and just walked the perimeter of the playfield, imitating his father's dismissive flutter, saying 'go on, go on,' and giggling. Rabbi Klezmer took off his cap with its big yellow M and ran his fingers through his thinning hair.

"So? Where have you been?" he said. There was not a trace of reproach in his voice, though Harry had sent only one postcard in all the time he was away, and had called only three times, early on in his ramble.

"Oh, just all over," Harry said. "I went to California. I went to Indiana." The vagueness of this reply was only partly intentional. He had passed through all of the contiguous forty-eight but North Dakota and Maine, as well as British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, living off the money he had inherited from Alex, sleeping in two hundred and seventy-five motels, and he had seen the geological marvels, the full range of American weather, the disastrous suburbs of the West, and he had watched a baseball game at Wrigley Field, and slept with a girl named Sheena. But all the details of his trip seemed too manifold and too mundane to put into words. He shrugged. Mostly, he supposed, he had driven Alex's car, endlessly, without a thought in his head. "I saw Mount Rushmore. I had a tuna sandwich and French fries for lunch in every truck stop in America."

"Wonderful," said his father, smiling as though he hadn't quite heard. Like many rabbis, Rabbi Klezmer had always been a deliberate and pragmatic man, mundane in the best sense of the word, interested in this life and its burdens and joys, but since Alex's death his plainness of spirit and engagement with the world had given way to a kind of pleasant, perpetual fog. He had let his beard, always hitherto kept trim as a dentist's, grow wild and wispy as a cloud, and moved like a graduate student or fugitive through a series of anonymous and ill-kept apartments. His manner had become distracted and otherworldly, his conversation filled with references to Messianic literature and ancient history. A few members of his congregation, in uncharitable moments, had been known to refer to him as Rabbi Krazy. "That sounds like a lot of fun."

"Dad, where is Mom? Did she leave Huxley?"

Harry's father hesitated before replying, and for a moment Harry was afraid that something had happened to her, as it was a hesitation identical to that which had preceded his telling Harry, four years before, that Alex had killed himself. His father must have sensed this, for he put a hand on Harry's arm.

"She's in Hawaii," he said. He blinked, wonderingly, at the information he was about to divulge. "On Maui. In a town called Makawao." The rabbi had been raised in Canarsie and his accent, generally moribund, revived in an amusing fashion when he was called upon to pronounce exotic words.

"Hawaii? What's she doing there?"

"Well," said the rabbi. "We don't talk often, but I gather she's become very interested in that channelling nonsense."

"Wow," said Harry, recalling a night in a motel somewhere in the lower third of California when he had seen a channeller, on a local-access cable television station. The channeller was named Rhiannon Free. After a perky and nonsensical general preamble on the subject of Soul Travel, read like the weather off a teleprompter, Rhiannon Free had licked her lips, rolled back her eyes, stiffened her shoulders briefly, and then proceeded to answer the questions of telephone callers, over the air, in the husky, sarcastic voice of a Lemurian court astrologer of the sixteenth century before Christ. "How'd she get into that?"

"She met a man," said the rabbi. "Andros, Andron, something like that. He took her to Hawaiil. Two months later she put the house on the market."

"When was that?"

"Right after you left." He pulled at his big, nephitic beard. "I haven't seen here since."

His father looked very glum all of a sudden and it occured to Harry that he had probably felt lonely for quite some time.

"Dad," he said, taking his father's hand.

"Everyone went so far away," said Rabbi Klezmer.

"Well, now I'm back. Can I come live with you for a while? Where are you living?"

"Uh, actually," said his father, averting his eyes. He coughed once, and was about to go on, when the Shekinah Maccabees, having completed their three slow laps, came trotting across the infield toward them. They rolled their eyes and panted, as though they had been knocking themselves out.

"Soda, soda," they clamored.

Harry's father stood and, complaining and cooing in an almost grandfatherly way, took out his wallet and handed nine one-dollar bills to a chubby little boy with glasses.

"Now, there are fifteen of you so that should be exactly enough, Ira," he said. "Don't jam the dollar changer. Mr. Dorsey was very irritated with me last week. "

"Thank you, Rabbi Klezmer," they said. One of them said, "Thank you, Rabbi Krazy," and was elbowed by Ira. Now they ran, toward the soda machine, which, as Harry recalled, was outside the central dome of the Interfaith Plexus, by the ladies' room, and could be easily pillaged by one determined child with a thin arm and long fingers.

"Actually," said Rabbi Klezmer, sitting down again and making an effort to look Harry in the eye. "I'm going away myself."

"You are?"

"Yes. I'm going back to Israel. Um, in two days, as a matter of fact. I'm taking a sabbatical. I have a new assistant here--a very intelligent young woman. Her name is Susan Finegold. She's quite capable of taking over for six months or so. Really." An uncharacteristic look of irritation crossed his face, and he pinched a little wearily at the bridge of his nose. "Frankly, the Council and I don't see eye to eye on much of anything anymore."

Rabbi Klezmer had been having problems with the Shekinah Leadership Council ever since he had returned from Israel talking about a vision of the Holy City he'd had while praying at the Western Wall, and, more remarkably considering his former views, about the reĪstablishment of Eretz Yisrael, the biblical kingdom of Greater Israel. Although he had not by any means embraced religious Orthodoxy, or the politics of the Koch party, he did stop marrying Christians to Jews, and he got the Pee-wee softball league to allow Shekinah to play its games on Sundays and weekdays; and soon every holiday, and each new appeal to help the Soviet immigrants to Israel, seemed to bring a fresh round of doctrinal skirmishes and arguments on policy with the members of the Council. For a long time they forgave their beloved rabbi, and tolerated his detour ż droite, because he had lost his oldest son to plague and suicide; but now their patience had finally run thin. Last month the council had hired Susan Finegold.

"Sounds as though this may be a kind of permanent sabbatical, Dad."

"It may be," he agreed.

"But what will you do over there?"

"Why, I'll write. And I'm going to give some lectures, at the invitation of a--certain group of people."

"Gee, Dad. In two days, huh?"

"And I'm afraid I've already rented out my apartment here."

"That's okay." Harry looked down at his feet. "Lectures on what? The Temple?" Outside of Huxley, where he had a reputation only as the rabbi who had had an affair with an eighteen-year-old tennis pro named Mindy Benezra, Rabbi Klezmer was known, in some circles, for a book he had written after his first return from Israel, on the subject of the great lost Temple in Jerusalem, entitled Speedily in Our Days. Part One of this work consisted of a scholary and considered description of the First and Second Temples, according to the evidence of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Kings I and II, the Talmud, Josephus, and other authorities; in Part Two he examined the long and tragicomical history of the latter-day dream of Rebuilding. "What group is bringing you? Hebrew University?"

All at once Harry's father looked very uncomfortable, and he pulled miserably at his beard.

"I'm afraid I can't really go into it," he mumbled.

"Dad, it's a secret mission?" Harry gave his father a gentle punch on the arm. "What, are you going to work for the Mossad?"

"It's a religious group. They're called the Moriah Society. I'm going to be doing some consulting work for them. That's all."

"Consulting work." Harry shook his head, and smiled at the thought of the strange man his father had become. He stood, and walked over toward first base. The sun had gone down and he was stirred, and somehow saddened, by the sight of the lights coming on all around him in the houses of Huxley and by the familiar scrape and give of the base path under his feet. In the distance he could make out the warning beacon flashing atop the watertower by his old high school, and, beyond it, the flashing red light on the watertower by his old elementary school.

"What do I do now?" Harry said.

His father shrugged.

"Well, what did you have in mind before you knew I was going away?"

"Hmm," said Harry.

"You have some money, you know."

"I do?"

"From Alex's life insurance. It was finally settled. The insurance company agreed to pay off both of Alex's policies. One of them named you as the beneficiary."

"Great," said Harry. He zipped the jacket up a little tighter and kicked at the soft red clay.

"You could use it to live on, for a while. Rent an apartment in D.C. Another year at least. Get back to your sculpture."

"I stink as a sculptor, Dad," said Harry, without rancor, since this, like the knowledge that he was to be forevermore only his brother's heir, was something he had accustomed himself to. He had been about to start his last futile year of art school, at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh, when the news had come of Alex's death in Paris. In the four years since he had waited tables and sold shoes and worked in an art gallery, but he hadn't touched a pair of jeweler's pliers or a sheaf of wire or a roll of copper-zinc solder, and he knew that part of his life, like Alex, was gone forever.

"That's true," said his father mildly. "Well, where would like to live? In all the places you visited, did you like any of them especially well?"

"I don't know, Dad," said Harry, walking slowly up the baseline to first, breathing in deep the suppertime autumn air of Huxley and the sweet, lost smell of the grass around him. "I guess I don't feel like I really live anywhere anymore. I mean, that house on Magic Flute Lane wasn't really our home, anyway."

"No, it never was," said Harry's father.

Until Harry was ten years old the Klezmers had lived in the country outside of Huxley, on fallow farmland, beside a large pond, where, like many other happy, isolated children before them, the Klezmer brothers had invented a planet. It was called Palindrome, and was a stormy, verdant world of moors the size of continents and two thousand lakes (each one carefully named). Its inhabitants, like Alex Klezmer, rode and worshipped horses, like Harry Klezmer they loved flags and heraldry; the languages of Palindrome were numerous and complex, its customs beautiful and sinister. The boys mapped their planet, drew pictures of it, wrote loose-leaf novels about it, lived in it. Its charm was so pervasive that even their parents eventually learned to speak a few words of Palalap, the predominant language of Palindrome, and knew, for example, the fatal secret of Lady Eflan Analfe.

In 1973, when Alex was thirteen and Harry was eight, Rabbi Klezmer, for reasons obscure to everyone but himself, had decided to build the family a new house, on a lot in Joplin Junction, at the center of Huxley, a decision which, in addition to removing the boys forever from the Palindromian pond and meadowlands around their old home, ultimately helped to destAlex the family. He built the huge, half-timbered, stucco and fir folly almost entirely himself, according to grandiose, unpracticable plans drawn up by him and Iris Klezmer, and had no sooner finished it, after two years' labor, then the debt its construction had incurred forced him to sell it, at a loss, to Mr. Ross Huxley III. They had then moved into the ugly little house on Magic Flute Lane, and then there had followed the revelations of Rabbi Klezmer's serve-and-volley with Mindy Benezra. Soon afterward his parents had filed for divorce.

Rabbi Klezmer rose and came toward Harry, and together they stood by the bag at first, kicking at it with their toes in a comforting and automatic way.

Harry looked at his father, then looked out at the twinkling windows of Utopia that filled the distance like lights in a faraway sky. "I just don't know where home is," he said.

His father sighed, clucked his tongue once, and then turned to face the children, who were returning, with their cans of soda, in a shadowy troop.

"Welcome to your heritage," said Rabbi Klezmer.



That night Harry and his father rented Mothra and Calling All Monsters and brought in the traditional black olive and red onion pizza from Bellacqua's in the Huxley Marketplace. Rabbi Klezmer, in a celebratory mood, drank a whole beer and fell asleep on the couch, with his leg pinned underneath him, so that when he woke up, all Japan was a smoldering ruin and his foot so filled with needles and pins that he could not walk. Harry had to help him to bed. It was the first time Harry had ever performed this service for his father and he found the experience both touching and disturbing. His father smelled of beer and garlic and a characteristic odor that Harry had discovered to be common among rabbis, the grave and comforting aroma of a roomful of new suits. He sat on his father's and mother's old king-sized mattress while the rabbi was brushing and flossing his teeth, and looked around at the bedroom. He'd forgotten that his father had ended up with the scarred, too-often-moved Lane bedroom set and with the pair of jaded Degas ballerinas who since the dawn of time had hung on the wall over the cherrywood Colonial Williamsburg bed. The sight of the familiar old furniture of the Primal Scene, cast adrift in the tiny bedroom of his father's apartment, with its drop ceiling and its lone aluminum window, was strange and depressing, and reminded him of the way his aunt Bessie's wingbacked armchair had sat, velveteen, imperial, in the corner of her haphazard cubicle in the Hebrew Home for the Aged.

His father had already packed up the better part of his few personal belongings, and put them into a storage space in the basement of his apartment building, and there was otherwise no decoration to speak of in the bedroom. The room had been stripped clean. On the nightstand sat only the Big Ben alarm clock that had for thirty-seven years measured the nights of Harry's widowed grandmother with its loud ticking, a haunting sound that Harry would always associate with her and with the infinite solitude of her apartment in the middle of the night, and a small pile of important-looking papers held together with a blue rubber band. Harry was about to pick up this bundle and examine it when he heard his father switching off the bathroom fan; he sat back quickly and adopted a bored and incurious expression. The rabbi emerged from the bathroom wearing a threadbare robe that many years before his ex-wife had sewn for him out of an old Hudson Bay blanket.

"Harry, I've been thinking--"

"Dad." Harry smiled. There was a long piece of green string entangled in the wispy fingers of the rabbi's blond beard. "Mint." Harry reached up to tug it free. "Waxed," he said.

"I've been thinking about you," said the rabbi, taking no notice. "Why don't you come to Israel with me, Harry? We could get a house together in Talbieh or Yemin Moshe! We could study."

"Study," said Harry.

"Study Hebrew. Study Talmud. Study the ruins and the women and the sea."

"In Israel."

The rabbi nodded, looking unanswerably and almost beatifically convinced of the excellence of this idea. He sat down beside Harry, then swung his skinny pale legs up onto the bed. He took off the Hudson Bay bathrobe and spread it on the empty bed beside him where for sixteen years Iris Klezmer had spread her ample self; no one else had lain there, as far as Harry knew, since his mother's flight into the land of Divorce. The rabbi's pajamas were old-fashioned, pale blue with a navy stripe; he had been wearing them, or a pair just like them, since Harry was nine years old. Harry slid over on the mattress to make room for his father's legs as his father climbed beneath the covers. The rabbi lay back against a pillow and folded his hands across his belly. He looked his son up and down, not entirely satisfied or reassurred by what he saw.

"It isn't a good thing to be wandering loose in the world, Harry," he said.

"I know that, Dad," said Harry.

"It's a kind of disease."

"I know."

There was a pause, during which his father's long face took on a philosophical, almost bitter expression, as it did after a game when he had coached the Maccabees to defeat.

"I'm sorry that I couldn't give you a place to come home to," he said.

"That's all right."

"But that's why you should come to Israel with me. Israel is your home, Harry."

"It is?" Harry wished almost painfully that it could turn out to be that easy, that he could just get off the plane in Tel Aviv, and touch the holy ground of Eretz Yisrael, and all at once feel that that his heart had been mended and his home recovered, and the dead would live again, and the night would be as day, and the hills would skip like rams. "Israel." He was ashamed to tell his father, but of all the nations of the world, Israel was the one he had never felt the slightest desire to see. It did not seem so much a country one could visit as a kind of elaborate family myth, a little like the planet Palindrome but far less interesting. Intellectually he knew, of course, that Israel was the homeland of the Jews, and the only compensation for the Holocaust, and he knew that as a Jew his feelings ought to be commensurate and deep; but they were not. Israel had always been a shadow country in comparison to his own, as Hebrew had always seemed to be only a harsh and phantom tongue. He would have gone to a hundred other places first; he would have gone to Botswana, Kiribati, or the Maldives as soon as to Israel.

"I guess I just don't feel like I'm quite through with my wandering phase, yet," he said at last. "Maybe I'm just not ready for Jerusalem, you know?"

"Maybe," said his father, sleepy now. His eyelids fluttered, closed, fluttered open. "Well, I really hope you'll think about it, Harry. Will you?"

"I will," Harry lied, giving his father's hand a squeeze.

The rabbi smiled, and shut his eyes again, and a few minutes later he was asleep.

For a while Harry just sat there on the bed, listening to the rabbi's breathing and to the plaintive machinations of the old Big Ben alarm clock. Then, idly, he reached for the pile of papers that his father had left on the nightstand, bound by the thick blue rubberband. Among them were Rabbi Klezmer's passport, a checklist of his last-minute errands, his airplane ticket in a paper wallet, and a copy of the U.S. Information Agency brochure, "Your Trip to the Holy Land." Wedged into the paper wallet with the ticket, folded into the pleats of a letter written on airmail stationery, Harry found a photograph. It was a picture of a tombstone, plain, polished granite, taken with a cheap camera by an unsteady hand.

ALEX klezmer 1959-1990

The letter in which it had come enclosed was written entirely in Hebrew, and signed, simply, with the Hebrew letter Lamed. One of his father's Israeli friends must have visited Paris and stopped by Alex's grave to take a picture. Harry's parents had flown to Paris for the funeral, but no one had been there to see the stone raised. There were fresh irises on the grave, in a small glass vase.

"Paris," Harry said, in a voice no louder than the voice of his grandmother's clock. He closed his eyes, and considered Paris. He had never had the chance to visit Alex in all the ten years that his brother had lived there. Perhaps it was time to visit him now. Harry opened his eyes, took one last look at the flowers. He wondered who had put them there. Then he wrapped the photograph in the letter and slipped them back into paper wallet. He rolled the rubber band down over the bundle, and replaced it on the nightstand. Then he looked pityingly at his father, who would have to go to Jerusalem alone.

"I'm sorry, Dad," he said softly.

"It's all right, Alex," the rabbi said, in a clear and reasonable voice. "I forgive you."

He was sound asleep.

"Thanks, Dad," said Harry. He kissed his father on the forehead, and gave his diaphanous beard a pat. Then he switched off the light, closed his father's door, and went to find sheets and a pillow for the couch.

© Michael Chabon. All rights reserved.