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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.”


“I didn’t really know him,” Verry says. “He was in my orientation group.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Pan looks five years older than he did a year ago. “There are maybe ten people here who believe–I mean, why a memorial?” He sighs. “The guy’s been dead six months, we graduated a year and a half ago…”

“But it’s so crowded!”

“Heh. That’s what I’m saying.” Pan pulls at his napkin. “We’re here to get lai–I shouldn’t make that inclusive. But.”

Verry sips again without actually drinking. She admits, privately, that she wouldn’t have come without losing that ten off her thighs.