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ou didn’t know him? That’s too bad. Did you know

the Priest maybe? I don’t mean an actual priest. That

was just what we called him, the Priest. He even let

me call him that, though I was a lot younger than him. A

welder, he was. We worked on a building site together.

Because I was thinking that if we found some people we

knew in common, maybe we’d find ourselves too, the two

of us, at some time or other, some place or other. I

sometimes think of somebody I used to know, and he leads

me right away to some other person I knew, then that

person leads to someone else, and so on. And I’ll be honest,

there are times I find it hard to believe I used to know one

guy or another. But I must have, since they remember

meeting me someplace, at such-and-such a time. One guy,

it even turned out we’d played in the same band years ago,

him on the trombone, me on the sax. Though he’s dead

now. But people we know can lead us all kinds of ways,

even to places we’d never want to go.

One guy abroad told me about these two brothers he used

to know who’d fought on opposite sides in a civil war.

Brothers on opposite sides, you can imagine what ruthless

enemies they must have made. But the war was ruthless

too. People killed each other like they wanted to drown

each other in blood. Civil wars are much worse than

ordinary wars, as you know. Because there’s no greater

hatred than the kind that comes from closeness. So when

the war ended they continued to be enemies. They lived in

the same village, but they wouldn’t allow their wives to talk