Excerpted from “With God On Our Side” by Mikey Weinstein
St. Martin's Press
Curtis remained stubbornly silent during the Viper ride out the South Gate and across I 25 to a nearby McDonald's, and it was in that silence that Mikey wrestled with the worst-case scenarios: a pregnant girlfriend, a drug problem, an infraction of the unforgiving Academy regulations and honor code standards? He had time now, too, to reflect on the pressure his son was under and wonder if, albeit unwittingly, he had positioned the boy squarely in the bull's eye of expectations he couldn't meet. He was all too aware of the conventional wisdom applied to family dynamics: the firstborn who gains approval by excelling in everything; the second born who gets attention by acting up and acting out. Was it possible that whatever was happening behind Curtis's normally easygoing exterior was an overdue bid to get noticed?
They sat down in the harshly lit restaurant, the circus colors and canned music in jarring contrast to the apprehension Weinstein had held in check until this moment. “What is it, Curtis?” he asked at last. “What have you done?”
Curtis took a long pull of his soft drink and took a deep breath. “It's not what I've done, Dad.” He looked Weinstein straight in the eye, and in that instant Weinstein felt the twisting in his gut loosen a little. His son's expression conveyed something reassuring: there was anger in his eyes, certainly, and even defiance, but nothing akin to chagrin or confusion. Whatever it was, Curtis had already faced it squarely…and considered the consequences. “It's what I'm going to do,” he continued, his gaze never wavering.
“I'm going to beat the s**t out of the next guy that calls me a 'f**king Jew,'” Curtis replied evenly. “I'm going to beat the shit out of the next guy that accuses me, or our people, of killing Jesus Christ.” He broke his stare at last, gazing out the window, his equilibrium restored by the simplicity and sincerity of his avowal. The clatter around them faded, replaced by a roaring in Weinstein's ears.
“I just thought,” Curtis said, still looking out at the passing traffic, then turning back to his father, “that before it happens, you and Mom should know.”
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