By Peter E Abresch
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I let out a breath. “Okay. Where’d you park the Olds? ” “Can’t get it,” he said. ” “Parked it, wiped it down. ” I scanned the lot as it dawned on me. ” “Borrowed. ” We piled back into my Caprice and I headed up Burnet again toward Denny’s. Pop said, “There’s no point. ” I wasn’t even sure by then why I was taking him back to the car. He’d only ditch it again. But at least I wouldn’t have helped him ditch it. “You made me accessory,” I said. ” No argument there. When I was a kid, I helped him unload stolen TVs and sofas off a truck.
They say I have new job, I am going to America. First, Canada. I am The Last Jew Standing f 35 quiet in customs. I do not want to be deport. By now I do not trust police. So I go to Canada. From there Buffalo. ” I knew the word was Yiddish, not Russian. The kh sound doesn’t exist in English and sounds to the unaccustomed ear like you’re trying to bring up something from the back of your throat. Irina had no trouble with it. I hadn’t taken Irina for Jewish. My grandparents’ generation of Eastern European Jews grew up speaking Yiddish, and it showed in their body rhythms and their humor.
Room 416 at the Allerton Hotel. I remembered the Allerton as a decayed residential ﬂop on Water Street along the river in downtown Elmira. Even when I was a kid, the Allerton bore little of the charm people said it held for visitors in the twenties when it went up, when it was stylish for single folks to live in hotels, along with those visiting and those passing through. I remembered a large, comfortable lobby gone to seed, furnished with wing chairs and sofas bearing the threat of lice. There were classier places then, like the clubs at the Mark Twain Hotel where cigarette girls walked among the guests, where people met for a drink before dinner.