'Why do the people not like Mr Bren living there?'
'Not Mr Bren, darling, just Bren. They, some of them, don't think it's right for him to live like that, in town.'
'What do you think?'
He paused. 'I think they're right. I think it's... unseemly. There are places for the cleaved.' I'd heard that word before, from Dad Berdan. 'Retreats just for them, so... It's ugly to see, Avvy. He's a funny one. Grumpy old sod. Poor man. But it isn't good to see. That kind of wound.'
It's disgusting, some of my friends later said. They'd learnt this attitude from less liberal shiftparents. Nasty old cripple should go to the sanatorium. Leave him alone, I'd say, he saved Yohn.
Yohn recovered. His experience didn't stop our game. I went a little further, a little further over weeks, but I never reached Yohn's marks. The fruits of his dangerous experiment, a last mark, was metres further than any of his others, the initial letter of his name in a terrible hand. 'I fainted there,' he would tell us. 'I nearly died.' After his accident he was never able to go nearly so far again. He remained the second-best because of his history, but I could beat him now.
'How do I spell Bren's name?' I asked Dad Shemmi, and he showed me.
'Bren,' he said, running his finger along the word.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...