The Glicksberg Chronicles
Book II: The Burning Lie
“I have failed not only my children, born and unborn, I have failed my motherfucking species. Way to go, Gary. Hell, I’ve turned being short-sighted, complacent, and self involved into an art form. Look at this shit! I know, I have known we were living in a fucking irrational decaying system since I was a kid, did I do anything about it? Nah I was too interested in getting laid and having a good time so I did the same thing as every other idiot. I mean, I mean how can I even claim to love my family when I sit passively by while the world progressively gets shittier and shittier?” Gary said finally stopping to breathe.
Beside him Rivka was opening and closing her mouth and rolling her eyes the way she did when she mocked people for speaking without signing. If she’d only known what she was missing she’d be glad she couldn’t hear it.
What did I do? I slapped him.
Rivka perked up immediately, both horrified and fascinated. As far as I knew it was the first time she’d seen violence since she’d been with the family.
“What the hell? That’s unfair. I don’t slap you. If I slapped you I’d be hung in the public square but you slap me and it’s supposed to be cute?” Gary said, quick and full of words, as always.
SLAPPED YOU BECAUSE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO, I admitted signing to keep from shouting YOU NEED SUCK IT UP, RIGHT NOW. NOW NOT GOOD TIME FOR YOU PLAY MR. SENSITIVE AND GO INTO SOME TAILSPIN OVER WHAT HAVE OR HAVE NOT DONE IN PAST. I NEED YOU, ENTIRE FAMILY NEEDS YOU, NEED YOU TO USE EVERY BIT OF THAT BRAIN YOU SO PROUD OF TO GET US OUT OF THIS, NOT AFFORD LUXURY OF YOUR SELF-INDULGENT CASTIGATIONS.
Gary, meanwhile sat down on the couch with his head in his hands.
Rivka touched his arm, softly, GARY, SAID BEFORE. NEED DEVISE PLAN QUICK AS POSSIBLE AND MORE SMART PEOPLE WORK TOGETHER ON PLAN BETTER.
NOT EVEN KNOW WHERE HELL WE GO Gary signed sadly.
ENOUGH GAS GET OUT RANGE MELTDOWN? Rivka asked HOW MUCH YOUR TANK? HOW FULL?
NOT QUITE TWO GALLONS, I signed SO, NO.
I didn’t know anyone who bought much more than that at a time unless they were going out of town.
PAID BILLS AND BOUGHT GROCERIES YESTERDAY TODAY, MAYBE BUY ANOTHER GALLON. NEED SUPPLIES, TOO Rivka signed.
I didn’t say anything about how much cash we had on hand. Gary and I were both savers by nature and anxious enough about our status as imposters to keep it out of the bank. Rivka and Ray spent money like a pair of drunken sailors, or more to the point, a pair of 12 year olds. There was more than one reason we referred to them as “the Kids”.
Gary looked first at me then at Rivka TAKING OWN CARS STUPID. INEFFICIENT. NEED GET AS MANY PEOPLE OUT AS POSSIBLE.
HOW MANY? Rivka asked.
AS MANY AS WILL GO. Gary signed WHEREEVER WIND UP GOING.
I got down on my knees and reached for the Scrabble box on the little shelf under the coffee table.
WHAT DOING YOU? Gary asked.
YES, Rivka signed WHAT? TELL ME.
I pulled the pencil and the notebook we used to keep score PAPER AND PENCIL - LIST PROVISIONS. AND MAKE PLAN. NOT AFFORD LEAVE ANYTHING OUT OR MAKE ANY MISTAKES, IF TURNS OUT ALL A BIG SCARE, A BIG DEAL OVER NOTHING, THEN PUT NOTEBOOK IN SCRABBLE BOX AND HAVE PLAN READY IN CASE SOMETHING HAPPEN FUTURE BROWN’S FERRY.