Previously: So far, no good leads for finding Alyosha. His abandoned room provided no clues. It was too clean to find anything much. And the call to the number on his lease in Jerusalem, proved to be a dead end, too. His cousin, unfriendly when she answered, had no idea where Alyosha was. And no suggestions about where to look.
“Maybe,” said tall Richard, a man who was both tentative and insistent, “maybe we should concede defeat today. We’ve tried. Success is not always possible. Prolonging is never a good idea.” He uttered these words with a little too much good cheer.
“You’re a negative person,“ Richard two replied, unexpectedly. He seemed like a compliant man, the sort of person who rarely rebelled. “We’ve only started to try,” he added. “We’ve hardly begun. Who knows. He could be right in front of us somehow. You’re happier conceding defeat than trying for victory.”
“I don’t know how to begin to respond,” said tall Richard. He looked hurt.
“Never give up,” Mrs. Israel’s voice was a little too loud. She waved her clipboard in front of her. “I’ve written those words right here with a black marker,” she said, and sure enough, she had. “Not that it’s been my motto all along. But for today, it is.”
Eve and Naomi, who had spearheaded the search, both of them, with Charles as their cheerful accomplice, seemed torn about next steps. “I was convinced for no good reason that Jerusalem would yield the clue we needed,” said Eve. “Jerusalem is one of those places where you can assume there will be answers.”
“Jerusalem,” Naomi replied, implying god knows what. “Why in the world would he go to Jerusalem? Did you have any reason to think he’d be there? Although it is a beautiful city, with all that pink light. So different from New York. This is a black and white city, don’t you think? Jerusalem’s on my Big List of places I intend to be one day.”
Charles, not a peace-making type, more of an arguer really, Charles felt he had to change the tenor of the room. To combat what seemed like hopelessness. He was not a usual leader, but still.
“We will find him,” he said, with more certainty than he could ever remember saying. “Don’t ask me how I know. I do.”
And then, as if on cue, Alyosha’s neighbor Albert entered the room, and entered the discussion. Albert (he pronounced his name Al Bear, as though he were French) had started the search in the first place. He’d told Naomi his neighbor was missing. Albert was always resplendent, even when his intention was just to buy grapefruit juice at the Red Apple Supermarket. Today, for instance, the day he made his Big Entrance and his Revelation, Albert was dressed in orange velvet, pants and matching jacket.
“Here’s a helpful detail,” he began. “Alyosha and I were, briefly anyway, lovers. But briefly counts. I know that this society is obsessed with longevity, but we didn’t have that particular hang-up. Brief can be satisfying,” he said to the listening room.
“What do you know about him that can help us locate him?” Mrs. Israel asked. She sat down to record any helpful information.
“I actually know a thing or two,” Albert said, and then he smiled, an actor who delivered a successful line.