As the Spirit of '76 approaches--
Still, in remembrance, Herbert Louis, as I said...
Herbie, you are a good brother. A bit extraordinary, odd even, but good. Born on Halloween in '38 within 24 hours of Welles' notorious "War of the Worlds" broadcast. Did that scare send Mom rushing to the hospital, only you, not I, would know, (and so would it ever be). I've read that Seabiscuit was victorious over War Admiral the next day, but you know that, too.
Do you remember the time when I was seven and you were eleven and you pushed me into the Duck Pond at the Bronx Zoo to see if little brothers could float? Your inquiring mind was active even then.
How about the time, a couple of weeks later, when you gave me my first cigarette and started my lifelong addiction to nicotine? I was told that you were conducting experiments at the time for the Department of Agriculture...for E.T. Benson was it?...studying the effects of tobacco on various living organisms, plants, and your brother, forinstance. You took me to the lab that they set up for you at the Botanical Gardens, you would be twelve in a few months. I still have the old corncob pipe that you had smoked in those days. A regular Huckleberry Finn, kiddo.
Herbie, do you remember when Castro came in and you guys fled Havana for Miami and then bicycled it up, you and Esther, all the way to New York City? The press clippings are around somewhere. I guess Es, or maybe Mom, saved them. You set up then on West End Avenue in that studio and I'd come over after work and we'd play chess and you'd beat me every game while reading the complete works of Ian Fleming. What a wise ass. I said, "Herbie, pay attention to the game," and you just snickered and pointed to the pile of paperbacks that you'd already tossed on the floor. Hansa and Goethe were poking their noses in the pile. "Pick any of those books, open it to any page. Just give me the page number."
"Doctor No, page 35!"
"Got any money you want to lose?"
"Just do it!"
"Running Head: Reception Committee
that it was a big American type taxicab and that there was no one in it but the driver. Then it was gone.
The dust settled slowly. They sat for ten minutes saying nothing. Then Bond told Quarrel to turn the car and take the--time out--move my Knight to Queen 7, mate in 3--He said, I think that car was interested in us, Quarrel."--
"Fuck you, Herbie."
"Nobody likes a sore loser little brother."
Herbie, I know that now that you've retired you've begun watching all of the movies that were ever made, because you've already read every book that was ever written, but let me ask you, have you seen that Dirty Harry movie, the one where he warns a perp that, "a man has to know his limitations," yet?
You're just like him you know. Dirty Harry. You've got your personal code that you follow; you can't keep yourself from crossing lines. Always the Mathematician, first drawing the lines to follow, but then moving them when you feel that they must be moved. Quite a trick to be able to get away with that, but now we know, don't we, now we know, the truth, that is, don't we know, Herbie, now...about limitations, that is.
And Herbie, just one more thing, well two now that I've decided: First, I'll be talking to you, and second, here's looking at you, kid.
Your little brother,