Friday, January 15, 2010

A tale of two brothers

I wonder if two brothers on the phone to talk about their mother's experiences with a "ghost" would taunt each other about the circumstances at the time of their father's death. They were due for mandatory conscription when Pop died, the older already in the service counting bananas in Guadeloupe and the younger got a deferment. The question becomes...

Is it pointless to include it in the scene, or does it strengthen their relationship as brothers OR does it also show, indirectly, the younger brother's capacity to accept responsibility since he got the deferment to care for his mother and grandmother after his father's death (which of course he already had a student deferment when he dropped out of school to care for his mother and grandmother after his father's death).

The scene intersperses some humor, and I would think some realism to an otherwise emotional time. I don't want to ruin the pace of the novel...

Edmond is the older brother, Étienne the younger (remember him? I promise, I will write something that doesn't involve him). Edmond has recently graduated from university and has opted for a volunteer assignment rather than the shorter traditional military service. Étienne, to this day, never served his country. Ironically, his wife has. But in a capacity similar to Edmond. She actually nationalized some banks for the Mitterrand administration... but anyway...

So, Étienne has seen a ghost, talked to the ghost and interacted with the ghost. He does not believe in ghosts but he knows his mother insisted their father haunted the workshop after he died. Étienne and his brother thought their mother a tad touched with grief, and attributed the ghost to that. And now Étienne calls his brother to find out what he should do.

"Hello?" Edmond answered.

"Edmond, it's your brother. I have a problem. Adelaide," Étienne paced. "She's haunting my bathroom. I have a ghost."

"Étienne… There's no such thing as ghosts. Maybe you should call Mom."

"I know, it sounds crazy. Do you remember Mom insisting Dad was there, in the workshop?"

"No, Étienne. I was in Guadeloupe, sacrificing for the motherland."

"Sacrifice. Two years in the accounting office of a banana plantation in the Caribbean. Only you could land—"

So do I allow them to tease each other? or do I stick to business?

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