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Emmett shot into Brooklyn on the subway to see his family, and they were glad he did. His parents couldn't for the life of them understand the length of his hair or his name change or the things they heard or read about him and what he was doing. But they were happy to see he was healthy, except his mother commented that he looked a little thin, and his father was a bit disconcerted by the gold earring pierced through his son's left ear. "What does it mean, anyhow?" he finally asked.

Usually, when he was asked this sort of question, Emmett would reply, "It means that you don't know what it means, and I ain't never gonna tell you, ever!" But this man was, after all, his father, and he wasn't being in the least bit arrogant, just curious as to why any young man, especially his own son, would have a thing like that done to him. So Emmett told him, simple and clear, that his brother named Tumble put it there, and all it really meant was that there was going to be a hole in his ear forever which would never let him forget who put it there and what they had both been to each other. The gold earring that was fitted into the hole was given to him by another of his brothers, Coyote, for more or less the same reason. The only difference being that the earring could be removed or changed or lost, like in a fight, or even stolen, but the hole was going to be there for as long as he lived.

His father understood. It all sounded like a story he once read about a group of Rumanian gypsies, but he understood and thanked his son for explaining the matter to him. Then they drank some beer together and reminisced about Grandpa for a while before Emmett felt comfortably certain that he wouldn't offend his father by asking him about his own job and how it was treating him. His father was a proud, sensitive and extremely gentle man, and, even though he was his only son, Emmett wasn't exactly on familiar terms with him, having been away from home for most of his life, ever since he reached puberty.

There was still a bond between them, however, the same kind of bond that's always between two men who are father and son, regardless of whatever else they might be. And so Emmett heard that things weren't going as well as they should be and that his father was quitting the firm he'd been with for over twenty years to accept an offer from a long-time Greek friend of his who was about to open his own stock brokerage house. Leaving Delafield and Delafield, the place he worked at for half of his life, was a difficult decision for his father to make, but it was made easier by his friend who showed him [end page 420]


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