That was another aspect of Thomas Geary’s personality I was well familiar with. Connie went on to explain that they hadn’t fully broken it off until Brightman got engaged to Katerina.

“Of course he loved Katerina. She was wonderful and god-awfully beautiful. I know women who had crushes on her.” Connie Geary blushed. “After their divorce and the resignation, my dad kept Steven afloat. I suppose he felt responsible for him, like Dr. Frankenstein for his monster. It wasn’t a week before we were sleeping together again.”

She went on explaining about how her own marriage fell apart- I never really loved Craig. I didn’t even love the idea of him — and how, after her father’s illness, she managed the family’s funds. Brightman’s stipend grew ever larger. But they had never managed to recapture the early magic. Even when he was fucking me, he was fucking her.

“You see, Moe, it was easy for me to act the whore for you. I had been acting as a whore for years. And,” she said, reaching across the piano placing her hand on mine, “you made it easy on me. You were good and you were present.”

I pulled my hand away.

“I didn’t know about the murders, I give you my word. I did know about the scheme to frighten and confuse your wife with the actors. I helped him. I financed him, but I was desperate to exorcise Katerina’s ghost. After she died, her ghost took up more and more room in our bed.”

There was a knock on the front door. I stood up. “That’ll be the police,” I said, pulling the wire out from under my shirt. “I’m through keeping secrets, Connie. The secrets stop here. Don’t worry. I doubt you’ll do time.”

If I was expecting anger or defiance, I didn’t get it. Constance Geary, I think, wanted this over as much as anyone. The wealthy understand the cost of doing business and paying a fair price.

Israel K. Prager was born on March 29, 2001. He weighed exactly what Sarah had weighed at birth. It was to laugh, no? Who can explain these things? Klaus thinks the K is for him. Kosta thinks it’s for him. Carmella and I let people think what they want. When he’s old enough to understand, I will explain it to him. The three of us live pretty well and happily in my condo. Although I’m not sure my single neighbors are too thrilled with the arrangement. I guess we’ll eventually buy a house somewhere, but not yet.

Before Carmella and I got married, I asked if she wanted to change her name back to Marina. It was, after all, her real name, the name she had when we first met. For me, there never was and never will be any shame associated with it. She said no, that as long as we knew the truth about who and what we were, that was the only important thing. I suppose it was. To say I love my son as if he was my own is cliche. It is nonetheless true. He is magic. Sometimes at night, I hold him in my arms and tell him about his big sister. I tell him that if we could make a family out of broken parts and discards, there’s always room for one more.

Not long after Katy’s funeral and the fallout from Brightman’s tape, I was called to testify in front of a federal grand jury. The government was preparing its case against the bikers and I was a peripheral witness. My testimony, as the U.S. Attorney explained, was the cherry on the whipped cream on top of the cake. Even without me, all of these guys were going away for a very long time. I had been a part of and around law enforcement long enough to know that the Feds believed in piling on. Why charge someone with a hundred counts when you can charge them with a hundred and one? If the government wants you, you’re in trouble. Once they’ve got you, you’re fucked.

Outside the grand jury room I walked past a man in a neat blue suit and silk tie.

“Moe!” he called after me. It was Agent Markowitz.

“Crank in a suit. You clean up pretty good,” I said. “You’ve lost weight. I didn’t recognize you.”

“Crank,” he repeated shaking his head. “Great name, huh? I just wanted to apologize again about-”

“Don’t apologize. You guys nearly pulled it off. It was my fault, not yours.”

“It’s just that using the tracking device on your car, we couldn’t get men in place in time. We had to use the chopper.” He pointed at the cast on my leg. “How’s the ankle?”

“Hurts like a sonovabitch.”

“The funeral, how did that go?”

“Divorce fucks everything up, including death. It’s a long painful story, so let’s forget it.”


We shook hands and I hobbled out of the courthouse. I didn’t look back. It hurt too much to look back.

In December, Steven Roth and I flew to Warsaw, Poland, carrying a very special piece of cargo, the urn containing the ashes of Israel Roth. I had held onto his ashes for nearly ten years. For in spite of what Mr. Roth had said to me in my car on that long-ago day when I’d taken him to say Kaddish at his wife’s grave, I hadn’t known where to spread his ashes. I hadn’t known until fate and a false ghost interceded.

We took a train from Warsaw to Krakow and hired a car. At six the next morning we met our guide and an official of the Polish government at the hotel. Both the official and tour guide checked our papers and we set off for Oswiecim or, as most of the world knows it, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The ride took a little over an hour, but seemed to have taken much much longer. It might have helped if someone had uttered a single word.

The weather was just as Mr. Roth had described it to me. It was cold and dreary. A mixture of rain and snow fell on us as we walked from the car. The camp, a museum since 1947, opened at 8:00 a.m. The government official was keen that we finish our business before the gates opened. He wasn’t mean-spirited about it, just nervous. I got the sense that what Steven and I were doing wasn’t standard operating procedure. Our guide was crestfallen, but he needn’t have worried. No matter how many newsreels, movies, or documentaries you’ve seen, no matter how many books you’ve read, no matter what you know or what you think you know about the Holocaust, being at Auschwitz, even for a few minutes, changes you. But as hard as it was for me to be there, it was much worse for Steven. For the sins visited upon his father had lived on to be visited upon him. There were victims of the Holocaust yet to be born.

We explained to our guide what we were looking for and he said he knew just such a place. He walked us over to the spot. It’s hard to say that one frozen patch of snow-covered earth is better than another, but for our purposes this patch of earth seemed well chosen. We asked the guide and the government man to excuse us. After they left us, Steven and I spread handfuls of Israel Roth’s ashes onto the slippery ground. When there was nothing left in the urn, I took a card out of my coat pocket and began to recite Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer. “ Yis-ga-dal v’yis-ka-dash sh’may ra-bo, B’ol-mo dee-v’ro…”

As I read off the card, Steven Roth joined in. He didn’t need the card. After finishing the prayer and saying our amens, I held Steven’s hands in mine.

“Kaddish and ashes, it’s what he wanted,” I said. “I guess part of him never left this place.”

“Part of us will never leave here either.”

Who was I to argue?

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