All About Me

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Chapter 14

I walked out of the hotel, for what I hoped would be my last time. Moretti was waiting for me.

“You did good, kid, he said.” That’s what I like to see, cooperation. This way nobody gets hurt. So, how about we keep up the good atmosphere here, and you release the rest of the hostages?”

“Okay,” I said.

I don’t think he was expecting that answer. Which is strange, because, you know, that’s kind of what he’s been asking me along. And, the truth is, that was kind of what his job was, right? To get the hostages out safely, so you’d think he’d be happy with me saying yes, right? Well, he didn’t seem too happy. I don’t understand people, sometimes.

“What’s the catch, kid?” he said.

“No, catch, really,” I said. “Things just seem to have kind of gotten out of hand, if you know what I mean. I mean, I doubt, you even ordered the bus, right?”

I did check out that Atyaf Samar. She was picked up on a DUI, but the judge ended up throwing the case out, anyway. There was a problem with the evidence.”

“Really?” I said. “And I found out that they have a McDonalds in Gaza and Ramallah, so most of our demands were kind of met, anyway.”

“What about that refugee law?” Moretti asked.

“Well, that was kind of my own idea, and it seems it wasn’t so popular. Most of the hostages thought it was a stupid idea. They took a vote.”

“Really?” he said. “I kind of liked that one.”

I smiled. Really. I’m glad someone liked my idea. I had newfound respect for the police at that moment. It probably wouldn’t last. “So you see, we kind of don’t have that much of a reason to stay in the hotel anymore, and it’s really hot in there without the air conditioning and NCIS is almost on, so, if it’s all right with you, we’ll just all go on home now, okay?” I knew I was pushing my luck, but it was worth a shot.

“I don’t think so Kid,” Moretti put a hand on my shoulder. “I mean, how would it look? I have to justify the overtime you know. We’re in the middle of a financial crisis, if you haven’t heard.”

I sighed. “Yeah, I know. But we’re not really prepared for a shootout or anything. We don’t even have real guns. And the hostages are all having a really good time. Well, except for the heat, and the lack of T.V. But, in fact, they seem to be more anti-Israel than we are. Well, the rabbi isn’t. But he’s not really a hostage. He came with my Mom.”

“What?” Moretti wasn’t smiling now.

I think he might have thought I was joking with him. I kind of wish I was; I kind of felt like I should explain things. “Yeah,” I said. “It turns out he’s my uncle. It turns out I’m Jewish.” I said.

“Funny,” Moretti said. “You don’t look Jewish.”

Wow, if I had a nickel for every time someone told me that … Well, I’d have a nickel, I guess. Oh, well, you know what I mean. Well, maybe not.

Anyway, we stood there for a moment, just staring at each other. Judging by the look on his face, I guess I was wrong. He wasn’t really interested in any explanation. I figured I better start working on my defense.

“He’s also a lawyer,” I said.

“Oh great!” “Moretti threw up his hands. “Do you realize, Kid, that I’m already coming off a fourteen hour shift?” I wasn’t sure if he was going to cry or haul off and hit me, or both. “Are you telling me, all this is some kind of prank?” Moretti looked at the crowd. Then he looked past me at the hotel.

“Where are the hostages, Kid?” He asked.

“Well, that’s what I’m trying to say,” I said. “Everyone’s ready to come out. We just don’t want anyone to get shot, or anything, if you know what I mean.”

“That’s my concern, Kid.” Moretti said. “It’s my job to make sure no one gets hurt, not you, not the hostages; no one. Got it?”

I could tell he wasn’t really worried about me. I don’t even think he was so worried about the hostages, especially since he just found out that they weren’t really being held against their will. I bet he was wondering how this would all look on television. It kind of made sense to me. Well, sort of. I mean, in a weird sort of way, he might end up looking like a laughing stock, if you know what I mean. I don’t think he was as used to that as I was. I bet you he was trying to figure out how far away he was from promotion, or maybe retirement. I kind of felt sorry for him, if you know what I mean.

“Do you want throw in a couple of canisters of tear gas or something?” I offered. “We can make it look good. I mean, just as long as no one gets hurt or anything.”

I don’t think he appreciated my offer. I wasn’t being sarcastic or anything, really. But, he didn’t see the humor in it. When he spoke to me, he was keeping his temper under control. You could tell really. I had to give him a lot of credit for that. I mean, I kind of imagine I just ruined his one big chance for a major crime. Terrorists aren’t running all over the place in Southern Ohio, if you know what I mean, at least not Pro-Palestinian terrorists. Here they’re just called militants. I think I may have mentioned that before. I’m repeating myself again, aren’t I? Did I mention the A.D.D. thing?

“Get them out here right now!” he said.

All I was supposed to do was to signal my uncle, which shouldn’t have been too hard, if you know what I mean. But, as I may have mentioned, I can get distracted sometimes. You see, it was kind of weird thinking of the rabbi as my uncle, but on the other hand there was something nice about being part of a larger family. I mean, as you know, I was an only child. And, you’re probably as confused as I am at this point as to how that happened. But, since my parent kind of cut themselves off from everyone else in their family, it wasn’t only about not having brothers and sisters. I mean, I didn’t have any grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins or anything growing up. We didn’t even have any pets in the house. As you can imagine, my father’s not so gung-ho on any animal fur that’s still connected to the animal. Though I don’t think any of the things that had been connected to his furs would have made very good pets anyway, if you know what I mean.

But at least I had two parents. You probably know all about that new study by McGill University that shows that people that grow up without fathers end up being violent criminals or terrorists or something. They did the experiment on mice, actually. I guess they think that human beings are a lot like mice. Which kind of makes that whole “are we mice or men” analogy kind of moot, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I don’t really consider that a compliment actually. Well, maybe, I don’t know. I wonder what kind of animal they would use to demonstrate my family dynamic.

Which brings me back to my point, actually - believe it or not (Take note, this doesn’t happen often). I was feeling kind of good that I had someone I could call an “uncle.” I mean, even though it didn’t seem that this newfound uncle of mine could stand my guts, it kind of gave me a warm feeling inside that I had family. Well, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. But still, he seemed to be helping me, in spite of the fact that he didn’t seem to like me very much. If that’s not family, what is, right?

After all, as the saying goes, blood is thicker than water. Actually, I got to tell you the truth. I never really understood that expression, either. Okay, it is true, I guess, I mean I never actually did an experiment or anything, but it certainly seems that blood is thicker than water, especially after it coagulates. But so what? What does the consistency (or is it the viscosity?) of blood have to do with anything? Why is one person obligated to another person simply because they share a similar DNA? And what is this whole thing about everyone being descended from the same set of parents, Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam?

Actually, that’s really weird, if you ask me. Does that mean that someone had to sleep with his sister to get this whole ball rolling? But aren’t we taught that if siblings sleep together, it causes all sorts of genetic problems? So, does that mean that we are all just a bunch of genetic mistakes? Actually, I can see the logic in that.

And, another thing - isn’t that just a little bit too close for comfort to the whole Biblical story of Adam and Eve? Even if the genetic Adam and Eve lived a few generations apart it’s still and eerie coincidence, isn’t it? Maybe not as big of a coincidence as living in the same log cabin in the middle of the Pennsylvania woods, but still, it ranks up there, if you know what I mean.

And, what is this whole deal with having only one set of parents? Only one? How come the Bible never talks about Cain and Abel having a sister? They must have had one, right? Otherwise the whole thing would be too weird, even for me.

And if we take this whole blood being thicker than water thing seriously, does that mean that we have an obligation to someone who donated his blood? I mean, let’s say, I need a blood transfusion, and twenty years later the guy who donated the blood shows up on my door, do I need to loan the guy money? And how does all that work with DNA? I mean, isn’t the other guy’s DNA in his blood? What happens to it when it meets the DNA in my blood? Do they work out some kind of business partnership? I don’t know. I hope I never need a transfusion or anything. On the other hand, I donated blood plenty of times, and I could really use some cash. I think I might have to post bail pretty soon. I hope not.

Moretti became a little inpatient. He may have interpreted my blank stare as impertinence (another ten-dollar word if you ask me. I liked it from the first time a teacher ever called me impertinent, and it’s happened a lot, if you know what I mean). But I’m digressing again. I wasn’t being impertinent. I wasn’t even stalling. I wanted to get this over with as soon as possible, but you know, I just can’t stop thinking sometimes. I suppose there are other people out there like me. I know there’re a lot of people that seem to have trouble getting the thinking started, that’s for sure.

Moretti shouted at me. “Kid, I’m beginning to lose my patience.” Actually, that’s how I knew he was becoming impatient.

I thought I should explain myself, but judging by his expression, he didn’t have the time to hear my whole life story. So, I just shrugged, and turned towards the hotel to signal my uncle, the rabbi.

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