Tuesday, 2 February 2010

the royal tenenbaums (chas)

Chas’ room looks like a businessman’s office, except it is
very small and has bunk beds. There is a desk with an Apple
II computer and an electric coffee pot on it. There is a
water cooler in the corner, with a paper cup dispenser.
Chas stands talking on the telephone while Etheline brings in
his lunch on a tray.
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.
On a shelf in an alcove there are ten cages connected
together by plastic tubes. White mice with tiny black spots
all over them race around outside the cages. Chas feeds one
of them a drop of blue liquid from a test tube.
In the sixth grade, he went into
business, breeding dalmatian mice, which
he sold to a pet shop in Little Tokyo.
There are twenty-five pinstriped suits in boys’ size twelve
and an electric tie rack hanging in the closet. Chas pushes
a button on the tie rack and the ties glide along a track.
He started buying real estate in his
early teens and seemed to have an almost
preternatural understanding of
international finance.
There are a small weightlifting bench and punchbag in the
corner. There is a set of exercise charts neatly drawn with
felt-tip pen tacked on the wall. Chas bench-presses about
fifty pounds on a small barbell.
He negotiated the purchase of his
father’s summer house on Eagle’s Island.

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