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Red Cat Peter Spiegelman

Red Cat

Peter Spiegelman

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Id seen him angry plenty of times. Id seen him dismissive, contemptuous, reproachful, and mocking too--and, more often than not, Id seen that bad karma pointed in my direction. But in the thirty- four years Id known him, Id never seen my brotherMoreId seen him angry plenty of times. Id seen him dismissive, contemptuous, reproachful, and mocking too--and, more often than not, Id seen that bad karma pointed in my direction. But in the thirty- four years Id known him, Id never seen my brother quite like this before. Id never seen him scared.David ran a hand through his ginger hair and knocked it from its slick alignment. He rose from my sofa and whisked imaginary dust from his spotless gray trousers and paced again before the long wall of windows. I shook my head, as much from the surprise of him turning up at my door on a Monday morning--or, indeed, any time--as from what Id heard.Jesus Christ, David--on the Internet? What the hell were you thinking?He stopped to look out at the rooftops and at the sun, struggling up an iron January sky. Reflected in the window glass, his face was lean and sharp-featured--fairer-haired, lighter-eyed, more sour and lined than my own, but still too similar. At six feet tall he was barely an inch shorter than I, but he seemed smaller than that now. His smile was tight and bitter.Is this your usual approach with prospective clients--to interrupt their stories so you can exercise your own disapproval? He flicked at a speck of nothing on the sleeve of his suit jacket.The irony of him complaining about my disapproval was lost on David just then, but I fought the urge to point it out. Nor did I comment that he wasnt so much telling his story as wandering around the edges of it. I knew it would be futile. Unsure of what to do with his fear, and unused to discussing it with anyone, least of all with me, David was falling back on more familiar and reliable behaviors, like annoyed and patronizing. Id seen clients go through it before- fighting didnt help.David turned around and made an elaborate survey of my loft--the kitchen at one end, the bedroom and bath at the other, the high ceilings, cast-iron columns, bookshelves, and sparse furnishings in between. He pursed his lips in disapproval. I havent been here since it was Laurens, he said. Lauren was our younger sister, and still the owner of the apartment. Id been subletting the place for the past five years. She did more with it, he added. I kept quiet. David wandered to a bookshelf and eyed the titles and smirked.Do people still read poetry? he said. People besides you, I mean.I sighed, and tried to bring him back to at least the neighborhood of his problem. You exchanged names with this woman?His smirk vanished. First names only, and not our real ones. At least, the one I gave her wasnt real. I called myself Anthony.And she . . . ?Wren. She called herself Wren.But now she knows your name--your real name.David smoothed his hair and smoothed his steel-blue tie. Yes. When I think about it, it wouldnt have been difficult. My wallet was in my suit jacket, and my suit jacket was in the closet or on the back of a chair. She could have gone through it while I was in the bathroom. I should have been more careful about that sort of thing, I suppose, but I assumed we both