Birthrights and Deathbeds

Brother’s back.


Father forbade me from seeing you before Sunday. I suspect Jacobian theft of a birthright is in scheme.


Father leans over to me at the dinner table and whispers “There’s always equity in the banana stand.” I smile comprehendingly.

Later Tiffani asks me what he said. “I don’t know,” I frown. “Something about horses and bananas.”


“Father, see Father? The drachma you gave me, I planted in the ground, knowing you were a hard man who reaped what you did not sow. See Father I have kept what is yours and now I return it to you.” You hand him a golden coin. He removes the wrapper and a swarm of ants envelop his hand. His eyes darken.

“You knew I was a hard man, you knew I reaped where I did not sow. And yet you buried my bedtime snack in the ground where thieves can steal and moths may eat?” He begins to cry. You dodge around the house. “No! No! I think we have something! I think we have maybe some jelly beans?” He wails.


I return some minutes later, forlorn but with purpled mouth and stained lips. “Father, there were no jelly beans.”

You leap from your chair to accuse me, but the falling of a jelly bean from your lap is heard loudly. Father’s eyes turn to you in horror, and mine slant in victory.

You will always wonder how I did it, the jelly bean in your lap. But I will die with the secret, and it is only on your deathbed, with your son grown tall and fair sitting beside you, when he whispers low “It was I. You cannot speak but your eyes ask why. ‘Why.’ I could ask the same, as a small boy of ten with a basket of Halloween candy who awaited me – a basket that contained four lollies when I slept and three when I awoke.”

And the rift in your heart will be but a blip on the doctor’s monitor, and the warden will say “It is time.”