Stanley Klepp deceased (5c)
By Simon Barget
He saw his father last Friday; he called him out of the blue complaining that he was short of breath and he’d told him just to go to the doctor and his father said that he had already and she’d given him the all clear and Kaminski had said that if he felt that bad he should go back to the emergency surgery just to make sure; he didn’t want do go; well so he couldn’t not go and complain about it at the same time, that just didn’t make sense; and his father had pleaded with him to come round, and on the brink of giving in, which his father obviously senses, he then asked him if he could bring him some rye bread from the kosher bakery and some Emmental and a few other things -- he hadn’t been able to go shopping -- after five years he’s asking me to go shopping for him, but he couldn’t be that bad if he was thinking about food, so he’d reluctantly gone to Tesco and then Shulman’s on his way round and the first comment was about the rye bread without even eating it, no pleased to see you or anything like that; he said that it looked like a duff batch, it was undercooked, and Kaminski had almost been willing to take it back and get him another, but he thought the bakery might be closed. His father was in bed, which he’d very rarely seen, so perhaps he should have been worried, and he was coughing a fair bit but to Kaminski it was like he was making a meal of it and it all seemed exaggerated like when he used to produce these deafening sneezes which made him jump out of his skin, beyond unnecessary, and he was still managing to needle and provoke and kept on moaning that he was going to die, all said in this sickly voice of self-pity which he couldn’t stand, so he’d reassured him that he wasn’t, he looked fine, but his father said that he knows when he’s going to die, everyone knows when they’re going to die, and he doesn’t mind, and that it could well happen very soon, he can feel it, and Kaminski says that if you’re feeling so bad, then we should take you to A & E or at least the doctor and he asks for his GP’s number is, he’s going to call him, but his father tells him that he already called her and she already said he’s fine – they don’t know what’s going to happen, only God knows – oh nonsense, still full of all this mystical nonsense, and his father actually warns him that this could well be the last goodbye, and starts singing, “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu” from The Sound of Music, and he’d basically told him again that if he did die he wouldn’t get one single cent because he hadn’t done anything with his life, what would he do with it anyway, yes his father had given it to him but at least he’d made use of the money, and his grandfather had worked hard when he was a young boy, no education, and look where his education had got him, working in a casino, a place for degenerate gamblers and lost souls, which was forbidden in Judaism incidentally and he’d pointed to a book he had on the side table and said he (Maimonides) says giving out of pity is one of the lowest forms of charity, and why should he have to pity his own son should make him proud; it was up to Kaminski to assert himself as a man and take the money as his, then it would be absolutely forthcoming. And after making him a cheese sandwich which he wouldn’t eat, and saying he was leaving is that ok, his answer was leave if you want, I just wanted to tell you that this is it, so this cycle repeated itself a few times and Kaminski had eventually walked out at about three thirty in the afternoon, but how could he possibly have known that he was going to die?
He looks back down, with pursed lips and a look of shame, moments of even greater pregnancy as Pearson doesn’t react but just alternately glances at Kaminski and the carpet. Silence for a good few moments, except that Kaminski is casting the heel of his right shoe back and forth across the carpet which makes a rasping sound. They seem to want to contemplate the significance of what has just been said but hardly knowing each other, it feels impossible to sit in silence. Then Pearson tries to speak but actually starts stammering, trying to say something apposite or perhaps consoling but uncertain of his words; along the lines of: perhaps it’s just best for Kaminski to forget about all that, just accept things and get on with his life, and he says no more than this. And he then places both hands flat on the table and pushes himself up to standing; I need to get going he says -- and Kaminski follows suit -- with more conviction now he’s standing up, he slips in neatly into the practicalities; the flat needs to be cleared of all stuff before it can be put on the market:. And so they agree that Kaminski will take the belongings, clear out the cupboards and the clothes and get Parkash to help him, no urgency but Pearson would like to get the flat on the market soon after probate is obtained and Kaminski is asked to give Pearson a call once everything has been taken care of so they can get an agent round to take photos and market it. And Kaminski just accepts his charge and walks out in to the crispness of the early December morning.