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Brooklyn plays piano with his thumbs, like nobody plays anything: sideways, wrists loose, swing out and snap in 12/4. He’s grimacing, when Verry catches his face. He must be bruising the sides of his knuckles.

He moves quickly, but of course with two keys at a time he can’t play chords–until he leans in and stomps the sustain. The felts roar up, thunder like a kick drum. The chords leap out. He stops.

“No!” Verry can’t help saying. Brooklyn laughs a little in the mirror.

“Always a journeyman, never a proper,” he says. “Never a climax, always a tease.”