Half a Jew
‘Taken in error,’ Poley said. He threw over a square envelope, with the flap tucked in at the back. ‘A bill. Some hopeful tradesman.’
I recognized Isaak’s writing on the address. The card inside was printed in heavy Gothic type. I read it with amusement.
Poley examined the card curiously. ‘Bar Mitzvah. Rosenbaum. Rose.’ He looked up. ‘Are you a Jew?’
‘Half and half. Non-practising. This is a cousin.’
Although I wanted not to, I was watching Poley for his reactions. Sometimes I thought that was the worst – the compulsion to watch eyes, lips, speech, for the inflexion or the look that betrayed. Nothing that was found could be as bad as the need to look.
‘Half a Jew?’ Poley said. ‘Bad luck.’ He grinned. ‘If you were a full Jew, I’d say bloody bad luck!’