The Hazards of Good Fortune, Part XII

The living room was sparsely furnished and anchored by a table constructed from a piece of wood the size of a door resting on construction horses, its surface littered with several laptops, two of which were running, one displaying a chart, the other a soccer game. Bile dripped, acid drizzling his stomach lining. Whatever he had done to D’Angelo Maxwell, Franklin suspected his cousin would ultimately swat it away. The giant rubbed them away with the heel of his massive hand. He can look after himself.”
“You burying Dag?”
“No, I ain’t burying Dag,” Lourawls said. When Nicole left he turned toward the window and stared at the Queens shore until he was certain his wife was gone. Jay could only hope they would follow their leader and extend him the benefit of the doubt. After the quick calculation that occurred when he realized the coach was present, Jay anticipated matter-of-factness employed to disguise, at the very least, suspicion. “I’m glad you’re all right,” Nicole said. When had he last eaten? One of the monarch’s favored warriors was wounded, and the queen wanted to pay her respects? But to profess love? Crisp, pin-striped suit, red patterned tie. He had a vague awareness of enormous figures looming over the bed, but could not look away from what he had wrought. He knocked on the dented metal door of apartment 4H. He wondered how he would react when he heard her voice. To Franklin Gladstone, the ideal building was one where every unit was rented or sold, and no one lived in any of them. It’s trust-based.”
Franklin thought about this. Jay looked at her. The cop chewed his cheek, unhappy to get confirmation of what he had seen on the Internet. “Where do you look?”
“More places than you can name.”
That sounded impressive. Which details had made it into the news reports? “Don’t worry about me.”
Dr. Several of Dag’s teammates were already there. The words felt wrong as soon as they emerged from his mouth. “You should work out more,” Arun observed. Ahmed, Ahmoud? “Where are you from?” he asked, as Arun closed the door behind him. Mrs. Footage of Dag nailing a three-point shot appeared on the screen followed by a still photograph of Jay in a business suit and a hard hat. Mercifully, there was no footage of the pool house and nothing of Nicole. He needs your tender mercy, and he needs it right now. “I got Trey’s back, too. He could only imagine, along with the degree to which the entire metropolitan area was chattering about it. “The guy cheats on me, and now I’m supposed to write checks to him?”
Seeing the door open a crack, Franklin wasted no time dashing through. “I’m going to be in the apartment for at least the next few days,” he said. “You can put those away, sir,” the cop said. Poor thing.”
“I don’t recommend it.”
“Are you okay?”
“I survived.”
“How’s your nose?”
“It’s broken,” Jay informed her. Wires ran from the torso to monitors where bright green lines and numbers quantified the misery. And he intended to pay it back. Franklin had not counted on this. He’s the coach.”
“He runs everything past Gladstone.”
“How do you know that?”
“He works for him, Babs.”
“I got no problem with Gladstone.”
“The man is white,” Lourawls said. Jay sat in a chair and gazed toward Central Park. Jay looked over and saw a tall, athletic-looking doctor. Satisfied he was alone, Jay entered the master bedroom. Does it hurt?”
“They gave me painkillers.”
“I’m going to tell you one thing,” Nicole said, “and you have to believe me.”
“After I hear what it is, I’ll decide.”
“It was one time.”
“Was it?”
“Yes! The sunglasses and Yankee cap threw no one off the scent, and the mob immediately converged, microphones, cell phones, cameras pointed like guns. The rain had turned to hail and struck the windows like buckshot. But that’s it. There it was, hovering in the air between them. He’s gonna walk.”
“That happen already?”
“No, that’s a prediction,” Lourawls said. Was this an aural hallucination? Bannister had done his research. Our brother D’Angelo Maxwell is not ready to leave his earthly incarnation. Lourawls guided the car to the shoulder, put it in neutral, rolled down the window. “You always reading that civil war stuff, slavery stuff, the underground railroad and shit.”
“So?”
“That’s how white people still look at us.”
Babatunde declared: “The president is a black man.”
“Don’t let that deceive you.”
Lourawls took the exit for Alpine. “What do you want to talk about?”
“How come you wouldn’t come to my office?”
“I don’t like to attract attention. In the vestibule, he located the name “Prakash”—below “Odigwe” and above “Rabindranath”—and pressed the buzzer. Lourawls handed him his license and registration. Increasingly frantic about Dag’s condition, the phone calls he made during the drive left him unable to ascertain what it was. “You know, Nicole, a hospital lounge is probably not the place to have this conversation. “I need to know you’re not wired up.”
“What are you talking about?”
“With a microphone. I have a lot to deal with today, like Dag’s medical care. Franklin reached out to Prakash and, upon learning the computer specialist would not come to the Gladstone offices, agreed to meet at his Queens apartment. It was a cuisine he did not recognize and this added to his general discomfort. There were representations of the wronged husband in the arts from the time of the ancients, and they were nearly always farcical figures, older men with randy young wives who sought the company of more virile partners, in other words, exactly what had happened. WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT, JAY? Wife distorted into Betrayer. Jay might look his wife in the eye, acknowledge the betrayal, the underlying tensions that had caused it, perhaps even take ownership of his part in what had occurred, and agree to move forward. With your love, he’s going to heal. What was he doing in the apartment of some Tamil hacker in Queens? At least she hadn’t asked about Dag. As he reached the elevators one of the doors opened, and he saw the player agent Jamal Jones emerge with a striking black woman he recognized as Dag’s wife. It didn’t matter. Bannister. It had been nearly two months since they had been pulled over for no reason. Wessel, 16B, the wife of a Wall Street gorilla. The ride uptown and over the bridge was devoid of their typical to and fro. Both men made sure their hands were visible. As he turned up the collar of his topcoat, a Korean woman pushing a cart filled with shopping bags eyed the limousine and stared at Franklin.  
Chapter Thirty-Six
 
An African-American man behind the wheel of an expensive car must hew to the speed limit or raise the risk of being pulled over for “driving while black.” It does not matter how accomplished or famous or educated the black man is, the cognitive dissonance this sight causes across a swath of American law enforcement has created a phenomenon with which virtually all black males are familiar. His play Jungle Rot won the Kennedy Center/American Express Fund For New American Plays Award and the American Theater Critics Association Award. He was a writer-producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO series Big Love. Or was she genuinely concerned? “I’m too tired to talk about this shit now.”
“Same DA in Westchester who didn’t indict that cop? Gladstone, according to the laws of New York State some of the services I perform are a little sketchy, so I take precautions.”
“Didn’t you do work for the DA up in Westchester?”
“I don’t know anything about that.”
Franklin had not expected this degree of caginess on the part of someone being offered a temporary spot on the Gladstone payroll, even if it was off the books. He would need sunglasses, though. “Praise the Lord,” Jay echoed. For a moment, Franklin considered asking Arun for additional details but he stopped himself. A slow circuit of the hospital floor decreased the likelihood he would encounter his wife at the elevator bank. He lowered himself back on to the couch and hoped the preliminaries were over. They usually listened to hip-hop in the car, but this evening felt distinctly unmusical. Scraps of newspaper caroused with discarded parking tickets and plastic bags on the sidewalks. Pulleys in casts suspended the long legs above the surface of the bed. “Are you doing all right?”
“Yes, thank you, Mrs. The shiny black limousine stood out like a leopard in a herd of donkeys as it bumped along Astoria Boulevard surrounded by city buses, cabs, and delivery trucks. And why, why, why had she come to the hospital? The notion of their names linked for eternity, carved into the marble façade of a major hospital was repellent, but the doctor, having no idea, pushed on and inquired whether they would not like to stand in front of a group of dignitaries at the groundbreaking of the Nicole and Harold Jay Gladstone Pavilion. “If it’s not happy, it’s not the end.”
The coach rose, and they exchanged comforting pats on the shoulder. Jay’s membership in the family reflected well on all of the relatives, but once again, his less well-known cousin suffered this as belittlement. Wessel.”
“Were you wearing a seat belt?”
“I was,” he lied. From across the bed, Odell Tracy gave his big left hand to Giedrius Kvecevicius then reached his right across Dag toward Nicole. A young police officer appeared at the window on the driver’s side. That afternoon she had spoken with her divorce lawyer and learned her husband planned to sue for alimony. In all directions, an expanse of unobtrusive rugs. “I came to the hospital because I thought you might be here,” Nicole said. On the walls were framed posters of obscure martial arts movies, the titles rendered in bold Hindi letters. We know the body is a temporary home for our eternal soul, Lord, and for our soul to dwell for eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven we all have to vacate the premises. Same thing. Jay glanced at the players positioned at Dag’s bedside with bowed heads. Even without his topcoat on, the room felt hot. A film and TV writer, playwright, and author of four previous novels, Greenland was the original host of The LARB Radio Hour and serves on LARB’s board of directors. The Hazards of Good Fortune will be published in book form by Europa Editions on August 21, 2018. “Yeah, but I could have been someone pretending to be me.”
The host regarded his visitor like he was a slow child. “Save D’Angelo,” Jay said. There was a whisper of cleavage, but Franklin forced himself to keep his eyes on deck. Yes, he had suffered a traumatic brain injury, but the best brain surgeons in the world could be summoned. “I’m not certain we’ll be in touch at that point.”
“I love being married to you.”
“Funny way to show it.”
“Everyone’s marriage has problems,” she pointed out. For all of his pugnacity, he did not consider himself underhanded and regarded his current circumstances with ambivalence. But he needed to get Bannister out of here so requested that the doctor call his sister Bebe, who handled solicitations of this scope at the Gladstone Family Foundation. Perhaps he would tell her he wanted a divorce now. They were waiting. The driver was a middle-aged Egyptian whose name Franklin could never remember. If Dag ain’t here, you think these people want us around?”
“I haven’t thought about it.”
“Dag is famous, and he’s rich. But had it? I wouldn’t ask.”
“I haven’t.”
“I love you,” Nicole assured him. Wessel had jangled his already frayed nerves. CAN THE TEAM MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NOW? I can be as abject as you want me to be. “Okay, I get it,” Franklin said. Arun waited. The deserted lobby was in need of a facelift. He had not responded to her texts and right now, he realized, she could be waiting for him on the other side of the door. As far as Jay could tell, she was not excoriating him. The bruises under his eyes resembled small mussel shells. “Let’s do this.”
“Now, your cousin, he’s a public figure.”
“How does that figure in?”
“The price goes, like, way up.”
“Don’t worry about that.”
“Do you mind if I ask what you’re looking for?”
“His correspondence. The uniformed doorman saluted him with a touch of the cap and the usual, “Mr. “The scumbag,” Franklin said. He texted his driver and requested they rendezvous at a side door to escape the attention of the media. If you don’t want to do it, there’s the door.”
Arun leaned back in the chair and crossed his arms. There was no way he could not take it. To pre-order on Indiebound, click here; on Amazon, click here; at Barnes & Noble, click here. He couldn’t have been twenty-five years old. The report cut to a shot of the Gladstones’ Bedford home, then to the site of the accident (Jay’s car no longer there), then to Northern Westchester Hospital. “Please,” Nicole implored. He stood in the steam-shower, careful to keep the bandage covering his nose dry, and let the scalding water course over his tired body and open his pores until it washed the last vestige of jail from his mottled skin. “Sweet coat.”
“Cashmere, from Barney’s.”
“Yeah, I got the same one. He gently peeled the bandage off his nose. Was it on the plane from Africa? Several reporters attempted to follow, but hospital security stopped them. Bannister assured the couple he would do his best and departed. “What is it?”
“I feel like a lobster in a pot and, frankly, I don’t want to deal with your mishegas right now.”
“That’s fair,” she said. Somehow the person who had last mopped it had missed a scuff mark. At least, Jay thought, she did not have the temerity to say I love you to D’Angelo Maxwell in front of her husband. It occurred to him again that he could just get up and go. Nestled in the backseat, Franklin gazed out the window at the kebab shops, unisex salons, liquor stores, Greek diners, and discount furniture emporiums that comprised the neighborhood, relieved he did not have to live in a place like this. Why did the coach think Nicole was here? “Did you run him over on purpose?”
“Of course not!”
“It would be understandable on some lizard brain level.”
“I told you—” Jay’s attention had wandered to the television over Nicole’s shoulder. “Anybody in there?”
“No.”
“Mind if I look?”
“Shouldn’t I be the one who’s paranoid, Mr. If only Jay hadn’t threatened him, he wouldn’t be in this degrading situation. Jay had brought Dag to the team hoping to link their names through a championship trophy, the unassailable seal of NBA greatness and the longed-for apotheosis of both of their sporting lives. “It’s terrible, just terrible,” Jay said. For most of the year, their apartments were empty. Was it from a shoe? He was supposed to express his love. In her absence, she was less a person than an idea. “So you could confront me in public?”
“This is not public.”
“A hospital room with four team employees there?”
“I haven’t slept,” she said. Jay observed the pedestrians striding purposefully along the sidewalks singly and in pairs, deliverymen, business people, students, all in their worlds, and he wondered how many of them were aware of his plight. “I’m sorry for my behavior. Jay and Nicole, they love him, too.” Turning his attention from the Lord to the supine figure on the bed, he said. What did she think she was doing? “How’m I supposed to eat, man?” Lourawls shook his head from side to side as if he could not understand how Babatunde could be so obtuse. He sat across from the glamorous public servant and gazed into her dusky eyes so intently he could see a reflection of flickering candlelight. He had to exile that thought from his consciousness. He looked Franklin directly in the eyes. Bannister said, turning his attention back to Jay. When he regained control of his emotions, Jay shed his clothes. “I’m praying he’s all right, like those motherfuckin’ cops. Several more seconds passed. “Don’t worry, Jay. A high-pressure front had blown in from Canada causing the barometer to drop, and what started as an early spring day had turned blustery and cold. I’m not worried unless you’re here to evict me and I’m pretty sure this is one of the buildings you don’t own.”
Franklin was flattered by Arun’s acknowledgment of his status, something to which he was unusually susceptible. They must be aware of what had happened and if they did not know exactly, certainly they had some idea. They were going home to shower and get some rest before returning for the night shift. I love that.”
Someone was waiting to talk to them. Or had the wheels on one of the machines jammed when an orderly was sliding it into place and left a trace of rubber? He loosened his tie then unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a white T-shirt beneath it. WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT DAG’S CONDITION? Gladstone, we can scale new heights,” Bannister replied, taking the hint. Jay led a life above reproach. No. He thought of Bingo’s birth date, March 4th, a direct order. “That’s all they’re saying so far,” Lourawls said, “but you don’t know. When there was no response, he repeated her name. He wheeled around and—alarm and dismay mingled with a brief resurgence of vulnerability, a spasm of—what the hell? “You see a deer?”
“Naw, man.”
“Then what are you talking about?”
“Don’t need a hunting season for black men.”
Babatunde slumped in the seat. There were messages from Bebe, Franklin, Church Scott, Mayor Major House, his ex-wife Jude, and a litany of business associates including Renzo Piano, calling from Italy (the story, unfortunately, was international), all of whom expressed concern for his health. “Please join hands,” Church said, grasping Jay’s right hand in his left. What was his wife doing here? The button-front blouse she wore was open at the neckline where a diamond pendant glinted. “Thanks for coming,” Jay said as if this were an event he was hosting. Might Church have figured it out? By any objective standard—if it were not for one unfortunate detail—the Gladstone marriage had not disintegrated; rather, it was experiencing some turbulence. Jay waited. If this is what it took to get what he wanted, it was a fair price. But when they’re by themselves.”
“What?”
“Watch out,” Lourawls said. Manicured and ringed, her fingers extending outward. “Now, I’m going to ask you to remove your shirt.”
Franklin reacted as if he were being asked to perform calisthenics. He looked at Church Scott. “Sorry, man. Any references to historical events,
real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. ¤
This book is a work of fiction. Then, as if nothing had happened, Lourawls said:
“You best be thinking about your future.”
“I got Trey’s back,” Babatunde said. Ten minutes later the limousine parked in front of a tan brick apartment building in Jackson Heights. The SUV rolled up and Dequan jumped out to open the door for Jay. “Are you going to tell me who that person is?”
An indiscernible sound trickled out of Franklin’s mouth. “Church Scott cut Trey. No more jail for him.”
“Gladstone seems like an okay dude.”
“He cut Trey from the damn team,” Lourawls reminded him. He’s not prepared to vacate the premises. For a man in his fifties, he didn’t look terrible. Several houseplants were displayed, none of them reflecting an owner with horticultural aptitude. While Church was reporting what he knew, Jay’s eyes roved from the coach to the injured player and back. Perhaps he would build the Gladstone Pavilion and name it after his parents. The idea that Jay could one day be in the situation where he had caused the death of another human being, much less one as prominent as D’Angelo Maxwell, was too unbearable even to contemplate. What did the players think the owner’s wife was doing at Dag’s bedside? When a commercial for a life insurance company that featured two septuagenarians holding hands on a beach appeared, he turned his attention back to Nicole. He glanced down at his nakedness. To the volley of questions, Jay held his hands up, said, “Nice to see everyone. She looked up at him with heavily made-up eyes. From time immemorial, locker rooms were torn apart by one player dallying with the wife or girlfriend of another, but that kind of conduct, while reprehensible, was a hazard of the modern workplace. Across from the painting, custom-built bookshelves crammed with hardcovers that looked as if they had been read. “The cracker motherfucker capped that kid down in Florida, Trayvon? “Guilty.”
Arun stepped aside and gestured toward the apartment. A fixed wheel bicycle leaned against the wall in the otherwise barren entryway. Then, because sometimes even the most composed individuals keep talking when they should not, “but a lot worse for Dag.” The players murmured agreement and looked at their coach. He completed the circle and said, “Okay?” not bothering to hide his annoyance. “All right, one night. “There’s a person I’m in business with, and I need to get some information.”
“A person?”
“Yes.” Still wavering. The encounter with Mrs. Winds whipped along the avenues. The universe had shrunk to the three of them. The one that formally legislated upright behavior? If in his sweaty desolation he chose to unleash a malevolent force, it was probably best not to think too much about what was being done on his behalf. But Trey goes hard in the paint. Dequan cleared a path into the hospital. People said it was a miracle, but that was science. He would be out on the sidewalk. Where one guy makes another guy prove he’s not wearing a wire.”
“Sure.”
“Then you know this is the part where you’re supposed to take the shirt all the way off and lose the T-shirt, too.” Franklin looked at him, incredulous. Queens existed for the Mets and the U.S. He and Babatunde had been at the hospital all day and were drained. Copyright © 2018 by Seth Greenland
First Publication 2018 by Europa Editions
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction
in whole or in part in any form. While contemplating how someone who looked to him like a worker manning a call center in Bangalore could somehow have been born just across the Hudson River, Franklin took in the apartment with the practiced eye of a lifelong real estate man. The squares of oatmeal-colored linoleum gleamed. He told himself to leave. He hesitated while he considered this possibility but his intense desire for a hot shower overrode any discomfort at the idea of confronting her and he warily entered the apartment. Arun patiently waited, feet together, knees parted, hands on his thighs. He needs your love. Just a few years earlier a madman had shot a member of Congress in the head, and she had survived the bullet! Although he knew their marriage was beginning to fray, it hadn’t occurred to him that it could come undone quite so impressively. “But I’ll bet you.”
“I ain’t betting you.”
“You know I’m right.”
“I told you,” Babatunde said. “We’ve both been married before. I hope you can forgive me.”
There would be no commitment. What kind of person would even think of it? However painful it is to leave this Earth, in our hearts we understand. For twenty minutes, they discussed various plans to raise campaign funds, but by the time they had finished their cocktails—vodka, rocks for him, dirty martini for the DA—and were decimating the first bottle of wine, she alluded to her personal life. How had they managed to stay married for so long? “I heard you got a little banged up last night, too.”
“I’ll be fine,” Jay said. “Did you just try to give away a hundred million dollars?” Fatigued and besieged already, the doctor’s request, and Nicole’s response to it, further overloaded his system. Beedink, beedink, beedink. That Jay was aware of their behavior and countenanced it? “I’m too tired to talk about this shit now.”
“Always open season on the black man.”
“Come on, Lou. “Caller ID?”
“I’m just fooling around.”
“You’re hilarious,” Arun said, drily. Dag’s behavior was so reckless as to be almost incomprehensible. The pair shared an optimistic outlook, so neither wanted to mention it, but they were not comforted by the doctor’s palaver. “You want me to mess with him?”
Franklin did not want to “mess” with Jay. Particularly his cousins. Where he’s been on the Internet, who he’s communicating with. The unit was a one bedroom that looked out at the apartment building directly behind it. There was no choice. As the author of this disaster, he had anticipated, at best, a neutral response to his presence. The outpouring from the coach and the three players deeply touched Jay, who found himself toggling between paroxysms of guilt about Dag, sympathy for the players and coach, and the desire to murder his wife. It emerged at a steady rhythm, and from the bee to the dink there was a climb of several notes on the scale. Emails, texts, everything. A bag containing an inch of urine hung to the side. I’ll write the doctor a note and tell him I misspoke if you want.”
“Forget it.”
Jay felt enervated by the conversation with the doctor and Nicole’s ongoing presence was not helping. “Everyone at the station is praying for him.”
They mumbled thanks, and the cop told them to have a peaceful night. The rain rushed down the panes like it was late to a meeting. While we were talking on the phone. Again, nothing. She looked spent. Church might have connected that to Nicole’s presence. Even absent the sound, Jay could see they were hitting the highlights of the story. “Imagine that, Mrs. Her makeup barely concealed her pallor. Was Arun going to make him remove his clothes? Why hadn’t Church resumed speaking? Why did no one make a statement? Not today or tomorrow or the next day. “Okay, what about Jay Gladstone?”
“I, umm—”
Could he go through with this? If he did nothing, Jay would eventually discover everything. If there was a crime.”
“Say there was.”
“You think that white DA lady is gonna indict Gladstone? Gladstone, I’m Dr. Not only were there incriminating photographs, but the PI was also a denizen of the cyber world and the guy Christine hired retained someone who hacked into her husband’s various devices and produced the texts, emails, and receipts that enabled her to reconstruct the entire sordid mess. Maxwell.”
Jay shook the doctor’s hand and said, “This is my wife.” How strange the word “wife” felt to him. The driver was a skinny young man from the mailroom who was the son of one of Bebe’s friends, and he had the presence of mind to not ask questions. Yes, he needed more than a hundred million to execute the purchase of the hockey franchise, but had he tried to obtain bank financing, he likely could have cobbled it together. The rain had gathered in intensity, and the storm increased his sense of isolation. Did he want a divorce? From her response—she mirrored the airiness of his touch—Nicole seemed to understand, and was not going to pretend the circumstances between them were unchanged. When they were all still living in Houston, a high school friend took a bullet in the head. Or, worse, Jay knew. Too much chardonnay?”
“No, no, no, of course not. “I’m sorry. Then they waited for the routine to begin. Franklin felt the need to reassert his primacy. “What about him?”
“If he committed a crime, if there was some lawbreaking he did?”
“It was a car accident,” Babatunde said. They were on a commercial strip and then on a road lined with tall trees and big homes. For this reason, Lourawls maintained a steady sixty miles per hour on the Palisades Parkway behind the wheel of the Escalade. Jay asked for the doctor’s private cell phone number so he could call him directly to check on the patient’s condition and Bannister instantly provided it. He expected her to say never mind, or forget it. “How’s Dag?” Lourawls and Babatunde looked at each other, confused. The previous week Franklin and Christine Lupo had dined at a dimly lit restaurant in the east Sixties. Everyone waited. Afternoon light poured into the room and conferred an almost religious aspect on the broken body. Dag was still alive, and because he had survived such a horrific accident, it was evident to Jay he was not going to die. Neither looked at Jay, unlike Dag’s brother, who stared down at him from his imposing height. The prospect was a loss of face he could not bear. You’re the one in my crib.”
“Why would you be paranoid?”
Arun let his eyes drift to the ceiling. A cold drizzle was falling. “Praise the Lord, D’Angelo survived,” Church said. He had to! But Jay had cornered him. The proletarians scuttling along the Astoria sidewalks—old-timers, immigrants, hipsters—they belonged here. A person should live where he could pay his bills on time each month. “Some generous, family-minded donors choose to honor their parents this way,” the doctor helpfully pointed out. Full recovery.”
“Boy gonna bounce back.”
Lourawls guided the Escalade through the gates. The automatic lights were on, illuminating the trees and casting nervous shadows on the lawn. He listened intently, but the only sound was the murmur of the song playing in the other room. The statement amazed Jay. Franklin chose not to respond. Join hands? What were they thinking? He saw Nicole with her head down. The owner had incapacitated the team’s flamboyant cornerstone in ambiguous circumstances. They listened as he walked them through what had occurred in the operating room, and Dag’s uncertain prognosis. There was a large screen television with an imitation leather lounge chair directly in front of it and several expensive gaming consoles Franklin recognized from the collections of his sons. Arun nodded, impressed. He got out, and the smell of spicy cooking immediately hit him. The enormous center believed he had been praying. HOW SERIOUS IS IT? It was torture for him to hear Nicole talk about Bingo. Plenty of wealthy Americans could, along with Europeans, Chinese, and Arabs. Jay stepped off and absently picked up the pile of mail that had accumulated since his last visit. “Bebe is terrific, the best,” Nicole said, working overtime to curry favor with her husband, who ignored this remark. God only makes happy endings,” a tired-looking Church Scott said from a chair in a corner. Had he not already decided to revisit the question of a child? Jay noticed her voice was scratchy. Running through both of their minds was the future and what it might look like without Dag in the picture. The elevator arrived, and an older white woman who smelled of talcum powder got out, a holdover from when a different group of immigrants populated this neighborhood. Better to keep it that way. Lourawls said, “They got hunting season for deer.”
Babatunde’s head swung from right to left. “This is his car, isn’t it?”
“He’s in a coma, man,” Babatunde said. To be alone on his horse, in the woods, riding along a quiet path. Since it was the middle of the day, most of the tenants—they included a former Secretary of the Treasury, several CEOs, and a Saudi prince—were at offices where they pulled the invisible strings that moved the world, and Jay hoped that when the elevator arrived, it would be empty. His stomach gurgled, and he wondered if it was audible. “Before we get started, why don’t you tell me some of the things you’ve done?”
Arun exhaled. A further benefit of prayer was that he would be spared having to make small talk around Nicole for a while longer and so could collect the febrile thoughts ricocheting around his skull. It was almost musical. I don’t know if you’ve ever cheated on me. “The Nicole and Jay Gladstone Pavilion.”
“It has a nice ring to it,” Nicole said. Then his perception narrowed to just Church, a deeply sympathetic individual whose ministerial qualities shone in situations like this one, and Dag, a flawed man whose misery at this moment far exceeded anything he deserved. But he remained rooted to the couch. “Mr. “High All the Time” by 50 Cent insinuated at low volume from one of the computers. The whole cyber footprint.” Franklin was pleased with his use of the phrase “cyber footprint,” recently encountered in a business journal, and believed it suggested computer literacy. “I didn’t do what I did because I don’t love you.”
“You did it because you have a drinking problem.”
“Don’t twist my words.”
Jay regretted his role in this exchange. Makeup, lightly applied, barely covered the dark circles under her eyes. Greenland’s novel follows Jay Gladstone from his basketball-loving youth to his life as a real estate developer, civic leader, philanthropist, and NBA team owner, and then to it all spiraling out of control. His body is damaged, but the man is a fighter, Lord, he’s had to fight for everything he’s ever received, and with your help, Dag’s going to fight through this, too, and he’s going to win, Lord! “I understand he was a great New Yorker, Mr. If high Manhattan rents kept those who lived here in the outer boroughs, then that was an added benefit to a landlord like Franklin, since Queens played a significant role in the Gladstone real estate portfolio. Was she getting a cold? Church had spoken with the surgeon and filled Jay in. “Some prayers are silent.”
Odell said, “Amen,” looked at Jay, and winked in approval. He called him “Acky.” Why should someone like that expect to live in Manhattan? He glanced at the Indian woman. “If you say so.”
“I’m not predicting, man. Pale and flabby, upper body carpeted with hair, breasts nearly female. “It’s in southern India.” Arun took a swig from the quart bottle of Mountain Dew he was holding. “Chris Rock lives around here.”
“Besides Chris Rock.”
“I don’t know,” Babatunde said “A few.”
“The black population is pretty much you, me, Trey, and Dag, and if Dag ain’t here—”
“Why wouldn’t Dag be here?”
“I don’t know, man. He’ll never spend a day incarcerated.”
“They locked the man up already,” Babatunde remarked. “I don’t know if I’d put it that way,” Franklin said. She’s in charge of Dag’s situation.”
Babatunde said, “You feeling McDonald’s?”
“I ain’t hungry. On a table in the entry area was a framed photograph of Jay, Nicole, and an unsmiling Aviva at her high school graduation. “Truth,” Drew Hill said. “Nicole Gladstone,” she said. He would never have been in this position if he had resisted the temptation to pilfer the accounts. But please, Lord, not today. Gawkers with camera phones, media members, and a Senegalese vendor selling T-shirts with Dag’s smiling visage all jostled for space. Jay again bowed his head as if redoubling his efforts at prayer and gazed at the floor. Franklin had subsequently called the DA and asked for the name of the man who could tease secrets from computers and smart phones. Nicole was quicksilver, mystification, and needs. Closing the door quietly behind him, Jay peered around and braced himself for an encounter. “Turn around.”
As Franklin pirouetted, the image of a dancing bear popped into his head, further discomfiting him. “I haven’t mentioned that.”
“You just implied—”
“A lot of crap has happened. Just drive, okay?”
“They’re not gonna put that cop up in Westchester on trial,” Lourawls said. Too old for life on the perimeter of someone else’s life. But did they know? Across the bed, the players formed an imposing wall. Naked, Jay examined his face in the bathroom mirror. Could these young men remotely apprehend the events of last night? Franklin had to take advantage of whatever avenues were available. The sizeable diamond she wore on her ring finger in tandem with her gold wedding band glinted impressively even in the dull light of the hospital room. Waist high. Where had he left them? More than anything, Jay wanted Dag to recover. “I love you, bruh,” Odell mumbled, tears sliding down his cheeks. Jay’s attention pivoted from one to the other, then—
“Hello, Jay,” Nicole said. Nicole said, “I don’t want a divorce, Jay,” as if they had not been interrupted. I’m processing it. Mustering all his available hauteur, Franklin said, “You do know who I am, right?”
“I don’t give a fuck if you’re the Queen of England.”
No one had spoken to Franklin this way in decades. Sunglasses on, he pulled a Yankee cap low over his forehead. “That’s an arresting image,” Jay allowed. “I don’t want to split up,” she said. And many of the foreigners did not even live in the city. “I don’t know.”
“Fuck.”
“I won’t be able to live with myself,” he said. “What about your parents? Jay nodded at the brother, who blankly returned the greeting. His teammates love him, and his coaches love him. The cop must be new. He’s a young man, Lord.  
Chapter Thirty-Five
 
Tightly packed storm clouds gathered over the borough of Queens. JULY 24, 2018

THIS IS PART XII of LARB’s serialization of Seth Greenland’s forthcoming novel The Hazards of Good Fortune. He reflected on his conversation with Dr. He wished he could have asked the office IT person to help, but that was not an option. Would he speculate that the two of them not only had sex the night of the Obama dinner, but were currently engaged in an ongoing violation of marital vows? No one would expect the coach to show sympathy for anyone but the injured party. About to insert his key into the lock, he thought: What if Nicole is here? “My marriage is fine,” he hastened to add. But then Nicole invaded his thoughts and, as the car sailed across 42nd Street, his stomach twisted. Liberal white people be all friendly around black people. “I’m not ready to go back to the house.”
“I’m staying at the Pierre until we decide what we’re doing. Jay was visibly upset by what confronted him in the room. “And your company could build it,” the doctor reminded him. At least those details had not leaked. Although he would not dream of cheating on Marcy, it felt, at least from his perspective, a lot like a date. “Mr. At a window overlooking the East River, Jay and Nicole faced each other. The Gladstone apartment was the only one on the floor. Open tennis tournament; as far as Franklin was concerned, there was no other reason to be driving down this street. Furnished in contemporary style with king-of-the-world views to the south, east, north, and west, the dwelling reflected Jay and Nicole’s taste and, for all of its refinement, looked like actual human beings lived there. Although she was putting up a strong front, the nervous tension was evident in the tautness of her jaw. Jay’s phone rang. It was Boris, who informed him that Dag was alive and now being treated at NYU Medical Center. The coach placed a soothing hand on Jay’s back and said, “We all know this must be incredibly hard for you.”
Hard for him? He did not want to reduce the cataclysmic nature of their situation to the back and forth of a squabble. “What?”
“Take your shirt off,” Arun said. Church Scott had caused an uproar fifteen minutes earlier when he got out of a cab and entered without answering questions. “Okay, okay,” Franklin inauspiciously began. Or had it just begun? The head wrapped in bandages, face obscured by an oxygen mask. Had it been making that sound the entire time? Franklin was trying his patience. “Dear Lord,” Church intoned. Then Jay realized. I performed the surgery on Mr. Is that what she meant? It would be possible to appear in public without a bag over his head. Jay could barely tolerate being in the same room with her. He wanted to avoid any interactions. It did not escape him that Jay Gladstone, this paragon of authority and success, a man admired and feted, was concealing himself from an agent and a reality TV star, skulking like a criminal. The doctor said, “For a donation of a hundred million we could make it happen.”
“Only a hundred million?” Jay hoped the mild irony in his tone was apparent. Gladstone?” His accent was American. It was then he realized everyone in the room was looking at him. Gladstone, sir.” In the discreet manner of those who serve the ultra-wealthy, the man did not acknowledge Jay’s battered appearance. Could he not see past his emotional response and reach a decision based on careful cogitation? “Utterly ashamed. “New Jersey.”
Franklin acted as if this was interesting. No one was doing anything about it, so it had probably been making intermittent noise since Jay had arrived. “How many black people do you think live in these houses?” Lourawls asked. In his way, he was praying. His color is money.”
“The man is black, Lourawls!”
“And green.”
“What’s your point?”
A flashing light appeared in the rearview mirror. The elevator opened on to a vestibule decorated with two Currier and Ives prints, an antique side table where the mail appeared, and a copper stand from which several furled umbrellas protruded. Had she been in the bathroom? Franklin told “Acky” to wait for him in front and scrambled out of the backseat. Franklin got in and pressed the scuffed button. Tell the world Dag is sitting up in bed, talking, eating—something! It was as if he held a brittle autumn leaf, or a fragment of papyrus that might disintegrate on contact. “Tell me about it,” she concurred. If Dag somehow miraculously defied the odds and recovered, what were the chances he would play again? She placed a tentative hand on his arm but he tensed at her touch and she removed it. and Mrs. At the elevator bank, Jay pressed the button and glanced over his shoulder to check if someone was approaching from behind. Is that what Church thought? So.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Franklin said, not wanting to be hurried. Blue and gold sneakers on his feet. I hope you’re all having a terrific day,” to which Mayumi Miyata, who had driven down from Northern Westchester Hospital with her Lynx News crew, called out, “It’d be a better day if you answered a couple of questions.” Jay said, “You get around, don’t you?” before entering the revolving door and disappearing into the hospital lobby. I’m glad you’re all right after you nearly killed this man for doing what you had no interest in doing. Jay could not abide the role into which Nicole’s behavior cast him. “Well, I’m glad I have both of you, then,” Dr. The doctors were silent, and nothing had leaked. But Church was a champion, a motivator, an athletic icon, and he had offered understanding. Already happened. Dr. But the man he was meeting refused to come to the office. Arun Prakash was about thirty. It’s my fault.”
“Fault isn’t the issue now,” Jay said. An interminable fifteen seconds later the door opened, and a well-dressed older woman emerged. Could they even suspect? “Okay?” This striptease was all he was going to do. He took in Dag’s damaged body, felt the kind eyes of Church. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Mine’s at the dry cleaner.”
Whether this was meant honestly or not, Franklin didn’t react. He did not resemble the gnomish geek Franklin had expected. Wherever she had materialized from, her sudden and startling arrival was an unwelcome intrusion. “Our brother Dag needs you today. Coma was a dangerous word. He ignored her and strutted into the building. Jay offered what he hoped was a smile tight enough to forestall any inquiries about what had occurred last night. Plenty! He removed his suit jacket and placed it next to where he had been sitting. Jay got on the elevator and pressed 20. Attempting to bring the conversation to a close, Jay said, “You’re doing great work, and I commend you for that.”
“With your help, Mr. Franklin glanced toward the bedroom door where a beaded curtain hung. Before leaving the apartment, Jay went to the kitchen where he filled a glass with filtered water and swallowed an Oxycontin left over from the previous winter when he had tweaked his knee skiing in France. “I spent the night in jail. He knew this was a long shot and the path he was contemplating was not a righteous one. “Talk to me.”
Franklin put his hands behind his head and leaned back to give the impression that nerves did not consume him. An unmade bed, clothes strewn on the floor, a bureau with a half-opened drawer. “It’s business.” Franklin contacted the PI, and this man passed along the name Arun Prakash. He had yet to digest that the Indian immigration had begun four decades earlier and Arun’s generation was born here. WERE YOU AND DAG AT THE OBAMA DINNER? “Let’s pray.”
Although Jay’s belief in a Supreme Being wavered, he was aware of studies about the efficacy of prayer in situations like this one and, while beseeching the Supreme Being might not have occurred to him had he been alone, he was happy to try. “Oh, for godsakes.”
The reporter Mayumi Miyata was standing in front of the hospital. Jay sucked in his modest paunch then let it out. To demonstrate that Franklin Gladstone was free-range, his own man, beholden to no one. “All right,” Church said, delivering Jay from having to speak. Satisfied they were alone, he took off his coat, folded it over the back of a chair, then plopped himself on the living room couch ready to gab. Jay moved his hand toward hers but rather than grasp it naturally as he ordinarily would have done, instead he took her fingers lightly in his, taking care not to intertwine them. Jay Gladstone had plenty to do. Gladstone,” the doctor intoned, “I don’t have to tell a man like you what’s happened to medical costs over the last couple of decades,” and then began a fundraising appeal for the hospital. I will do whatever you want.”
“I hope you’ll get past it.”
“I hope you’ll get past it.”
“Well, I have a mental picture nothing can erase, so I don’t know that I’ll be able to get past it and, honestly, it’s not even the worst mental picture that got burned into my brain last night.”
“I will apologize to my dying day.”
“No one should have to do that.”
“But I will,” Nicole said. Why wasn’t this Arun Prakash person just glad to have the opportunity? We love you. In Franklin’s perfect world, tumbleweeds rolled down the deserted hallways of luxury buildings. Jay had not anticipated this. He suppressed the urge to inquire whether Arun was familiar with the name Franklin Gladstone before their interaction. “Check the bedroom.”
Franklin parted the beaded curtain and peeked in. He had considered bringing Ari and Ezra along since this would be a valuable lesson, but thought better of it. “I didn’t hear you.”
“A relative.”
“Which one?”
“Jay Gladstone,” Franklin blurted. Waiting for his. “We love you, Dag,” Nicole whispered as if the situation had knocked the breath from her chest. Rangy and athletic, he wore jeans and a gray hoodie over a white T-shirt. Earlier, Jay informed Boris that he wanted him to familiarize himself with the family’s Asia holdings—he did not say why—and since this might require that Boris travel there, Jay would be breaking in another driver. “How are you feeling?”
She seemed genuinely concerned. “I’ll tell you that.”
“I’m ashamed,” Nicole declared. Despair was for people who did not have enough to do. But success in the business world at Jay’s level does not come to the fragile, and in the startling arrival of Nicole, he was able to draw on deep reserves of mettle. “Mr. He had intended to let her know about his change of attitude as he entered the pool house in Bedford less than twenty-four hours earlier. Hear our prayers. “Look, I could say I’ve penetrated the servers of major corporations, or looked at nude pictures in the private Instagram accounts of half the actresses in Hollywood, or I could claim I hacked the Defense Department for shits and giggles, but I would never admit to any of it. Although the three-ring circus in his head had prevented any rest, nerves rendered him wide-awake, and as he toweled off, he tried to formulate a plan for the remainder of the day. God, of course!”
“Really?”
“One!”
“Does it matter now? Either way, he would have time to formulate a plan before confronting her. In the passenger seat of the SUV, Jay stared through the tinted window as Second Avenue blurred past his bloodshot eyes. You gotta keep up with the news.”
“I follow sports,” Babatunde reminded him. What was she implying? With calibrated sarcasm, he said, “Nice to see you.”
“You, too.”
Sleep had been a stranger to Nicole as well. “Yeah?” said a wary voice emanating from the intercom. Jay looked back toward the bed, and the behemoths revealed themselves to be spindly Odell Tracy and the Lithuanian, Giedrius Kvecevicius. Yes, it was! It was only unaffordable if you couldn’t afford it. “I love you, man,” he said, in his rumbling Lithuanian accent. They had not connected since the incident and Jay had no idea where she was. Dark skin and a luxuriant head of jet-black hair. “It was unforgivable. We know you want him, Lord, and you’ll get him one day. That was going too far. What had occurred here was beyond the pale. It was sunny, and there were high clouds in the western distance. The situation had not changed: Medically induced coma, uncertain prognosis, watch and wait. He believed that most people who had heard about the story viewed it through the prism of a famous athlete’s bad luck, and that the general public would perceive him, Jay Gladstone, as a supporting player. Nicole’s presence obliterated the atmosphere of benevolent healing created by Church Scott, and forced Jay once again to confront the ur-story that had led them all to gather in this hospital room, not the accident but what had preceded it, and the memory of the previous evening burst the thin membrane that held it at bay, momentarily flooding his consciousness. “We had to do that?”
“Look, Mr. ¤
Chapter Thirty-Three
 
After Jay fled the courthouse, he went to his Manhattan apartment on East End Avenue. It’s protocol. He was not going to do anything until his visitor granted the request. Franklin said nothing, not because he was offended but because he did not give a shit what someone like this thought of his geographical expertise. But we beseech you to hear our prayers today, Lord. The bed was immaculate. Gladstone? “You’ve seen this in the movies, right? “Typically, those kinds of businesses have pretty tight security packages in place.”
“I’m going to give you the passwords,” Franklin said. He could not give into negative thoughts now, much less despair. Franklin glanced around nervously while he waited for the elevator and wondered if he should have asked “Acky” to accompany him. Hacking isn’t a business where a guy has a website. He needs an advocate.”
“And it’s going to be you? It was early evening. If his father had bequeathed a single quality to him, it was optimism. In front of him the spacious living room where an Anselm Kiefer canvas took up most of a wall. Franklin identified himself, and the door clicked open. Several conveyed sympathies for the legal predicament he was in, although no one seemed to understand quite what it was. He would have preferred just going about his business. “There’s someone I’m—ahhh—” (You schmuck, he razzed himself, Enough with the hesitating, get to the goddamn point). “Great families like yours are the backbone of New York.”
“The Gladstones have always been about family,” Jay said, glancing at Nicole, whose attention was focused on the doctor. Or did the coach discern a motivation more disconcerting? A throng of about a hundred loitered on the sidewalk in front of the hospital. It was like visiting the White House and having sex with the First Lady. He assumed the other two were part of the player’s retinue. Jay recognized one of them as Dag’s brother, who he had just seen at the hospital last night. The twins did not know what plausible deniability meant. Did anyone else in the room have any idea what had happened last night? The black bodyguard Doomer had produced at the courthouse, Dequan Corbett, kept vigil from the backseat. Who knew what any of them were imagining? Of course, no statement meant that he, most likely, was not dead and that was cause for celebration. Thus disguised, he took the elevator to the lobby. There’s no excuse,” Nicole said. Why did this kid make him nervous? This plan was reckless and foolish. ¤
Seth Greenland is the author of five novels. His latest, The Hazards of Good Fortune (Europa Editions), will be published in 2018. This had been duly arranged. He asked what happened and she told him how she had hired a private investigator. If that brave member of the House of Representatives had recovered, so would Dag. A bullet! Jay and Nicole could have a room named after them, a wing perhaps, or if they liked, because a couple of their means could certainly afford it, a pavilion. Jay froze and waited while they proceeded down the corridor. There’s a legal situation and—” He didn’t want to get into it. D’Angelo’s down the hall and—”
“Do you think he’s going to—”
“Die?” Jay asked. And Jay didn’t know? To his left a den/screening room and a hallway that led to the bedrooms. He was in a coma for two weeks and then expired. “You’ve gotta be kidding.”
“I’m busy, so if you don’t want to strip down, I get it, but then you should leave ’cause I got stuff to do for paying clients.”
“You’re really going to make me do this?”
“I already said you could go.”
Reluctantly, Franklin heaved off the couch. Let’s not play who had it worse.”
“Oh, no. “Your father would have loved that,” Nicole said. Franklin couldn’t understand it when he would read articles that reported Manhattan was now “unaffordable.” Unaffordable to whom? Giedrius and Odell nodded their assent. It was not a bad break and, although there was some swelling and it was tender to the touch, the fear that he would look like a proboscis monkey had not come to pass. Why, then, had he done it? How does that sound?”
Dr. Gotta do it.”
Franklin reluctantly displayed himself to Arun, naked from the waist up. Jay remained in that position for several minutes. “I love you, Dag.”
Taking Church Scott’s cue, Drew Hill said, “We love you, Dag.”
Giedrius cleared his throat. They were both around Dag’s age. To start with installment one, click here. What was about to occur represented the crossing of an invisible boundary and while he liked to believe he had the stones required for this kind of warfare, in quiet moments of self-reflection—because of the pain they engendered, these were exceedingly rare—it was not clear he was so endowed. To leap back into his life he had to believe a full recovery was possible for Dag. Medical science had reached inconceivable heights. He called her name as neutrally as he could, considering the welter of strong emotions he was experiencing, and waited. The elevator chugged to the fourth floor. Between them Drew Hill, the point guard. “Terrific,” he said, still searching for his bearings. Having already turned him into a dancing bear, Arun was starting to make Franklin feel unintelligent. But he was a modern man with a high degree of psychological acuity. Lourawls put the car in gear, stepped on the gas, and drove slowly away. She was still sleeping. Jay listened for the sound of the television, a running tap, the click of heels against parquet. They got out of the car and trudged to the front door, each wondering how long they would continue to live in this house on this street. Gladstone.”
“He was,” Nicole said, “a titan.”
“I’m sorry I was never able to meet him.”
Jay wished the doctor would vanish, but he listened politely and nodded. It would be impossible to avoid physical contact with Nicole without making it clear that that was what he was doing. Wasn’t the coach leading this service? He still did not know. “The Bernard and Helen Gladstone Family Pavilion. Three young black men huddled outside the room. He did not as a rule say Praise the Lord but this was Church Scott’s room, and right now Jay was happy to cede power. “I think I might have a drinking problem.”
“That’s your excuse? The kind of place a crime might be committed. They were the best tenants, even the Arabs. WILL THE CHARGES BE DISMISSED? Rather than knotting his tie again, he rolled it up and stuffed it in his jacket pocket. And how to deal with that detail? I know you’re tired of hearing it.”
“Not as tired as I am of thinking about it.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Apparently, you can do whatever.”
Here she paused, as if trying to determine whether or not this was something she genuinely wanted to know. He gave a loud sob and placed his head in his hands. “All I said was that having a hospital named after the family was an idea that your father would have liked. But that detail, oh that detail. “Satisfied?”
Not wanting to meet Arun’s impassive gaze, he looked toward the window. Where are they from?”
“Tamil Nadu,” Arun said. He’s a young man who tries to live right. But what was Franklin supposed to do, let the Maxwell situation play out in Jay’s favor (as he feared it invariably would), and then wait for the walls to close in, squeezing him until his nemesis invoked the Gladstone family contract that all of them signed upon entry into the business? “But you let a complete stranger come to your apartment.”
“I checked you out, dude. Arun spun his desk chair around and sat. To the right was the formal dining room with its Gustav Klimt portrait of a Viennese socialite, and seating for twelve, and beyond that the kitchen area. He had no intention of disrobing. A television mounted in the corner showed a news program. Weird shit happens. He shaved and dressed. Where did that leave them? Grim-faced, she pushed past Franklin, ignoring his presence. A guy with the chronic physical problems likely to result from this kind of trauma required a staff of nurses, not sidekicks. Babatunde and Lourawls exchanged a resigned glance. Franklin was tempted just to get up, throw his coat on, and leave without another word. The abstract nature that the situation had assumed for Jay instantly coalesced back into a reality whose sheer awfulness throttled him. He wondered if she had taken her jewelry off last night before—but his thoughts were interrupted by the voice of Church Scott. He half-expected to see his wife waiting for him demurely in a chair, legs crossed, nonchalantly perusing a magazine, but there was no sign of her. Mistakes get made. He craved solitude. When not in a vegetative state, Dag exuded an ineffable grace that, combined with his athletic prowess and charm, made women all over the world want to inhale his pheromones. “You’re clean.”
Shaking his head at the humiliation he had been made to endure, Franklin quickly put himself back together. Bannister did not press the matter. An African-American anchorwoman addressed the camera. “But you want me to hack him which, to be clear, is not something that I have agreed to do.”
“That’s right.”
“Please take out your phone and let me see you turn it off.”
Franklin complied with the request. His face darkened.  
Chapter Thirty-Four
 
The lounge down the hall from Dag’s room was unoccupied save for an Indian woman wearing a yellow sari dozing in a chair. The players respectfully acknowledged Jay and did not mention his physical appearance. At least his sons were not here to witness this indignity. People knew that name. “So?”
“So, you think he’s gonna be himself around you? For a few seconds, neither of them spoke. Bannister. Maybe I did all that; maybe I didn’t. And I’ll tell you something else.”
“I know you will.”
“Jay Gladstone,” Lourawls said. With her left hand, she took Odell’s right and extended her right hand to Jay. “You sure you not hungry?” Babatunde asked. “You know where that is?”
“Should I?”
“If you don’t want to be ignorant.” Arun paused, as if to gauge Franklin’s reaction to his effrontery. Gladstone,” the doctor said. A tone was coming from one of the devices Dag was hooked up to. Or he could let her know he wanted to dissolve the marriage as quickly as the State of New York allowed.