Hey, Barbecutie

The BB was still lodged between two knuckles in Chas’ left hand

Posted on: December 29, 2011

Royal Tenenbaum bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year. Over the next decade he and his wife had three children and then they separated. They were never legally divorced.

Etheline Tenenbaum kept the house and raised the children and their education was her highest priority. She wrote a book on the subject.

Chas Tenenbaum had, since elementary school, taken most of his meals in his room standing up at his desk with a cup of coffee to save time. In the sixth grade, he went into business breeding Dalmatian mice which he sold to a pet shop in Little Tokyo. He started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. He negotiated the purchase of his father’s summer house on Eagle’s Island. The BB was still lodged between two knuckles in Chas’ left hand.

Margot Tenenbaum was adopted at age two. Her father had always noted this when introducing her. She was a playwright, and won a Braverman Grant of fifty thousand dollars in the ninth grade. She and her brother Richie ran away from home one winter and camped out in the African wing of the public archives. They shared a sleeping bag and survived on crackers and root beer. Four years later Margot disappeared alone for two weeks and came back with half a finger missing.

Richie Tenenbaum had been a champion tennis player since the third grade. He turned pro at seventeen and won the U. S. Nationals three years in a row. He kept a studio in the corner of the ballroom but had failed to develop as a painter. On weekends Royal took him on outings around the city. These invitations were never extended to anyone else.

Richie’s best friend, Eli Cash, lived with his aunt in the building across the street. He was a regular fixture at family gatherings, holidays, mornings before school, and most afternoons.

The three Tenenbaum children performed Margot’s first play on the night of her eleventh birthday. They had agreed to invite their father to the party. He had not been invited to any of their parties since. In fact, virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums had been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster.

I can only aspire to write something as lovely as the opening narration from the Royal Tenenbaums.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: