"I'm telling you, Miranda, he’s super weird. I mean, half the family’s convinced he’s immortal or something.”
Miranda glanced up in disbelief from where her fingers were tracing a pattern on the couch. “Immortal? Gimme a break.”
“No, I’m serious! I’ll show you—there’s a picture that Avuela has from, like, when her grandpa was alive, and there’s a guy in it who—swearonmylife—looks exactly like Uncle Crowley.”
Miranda let out a low whistle. “Jeez, Shosh. You gotta show me.”
“Yeah, I will, it’s really weird, I just—” Shoshanna froze mid sentence. A creak sounded from outside the sewing room, where the two girls were avoiding the Passover seder. They waited for a moment, until satisfied that no well-meaning but nosy adult was going to barge in on their not-so-Kosher conversation, whereupon they let out a collective sigh of relief.
“Yeah. The photo’s around the house here somewhere. I just gotta dig it out.”
“Huh. I wonder…” Miranda mused, but Shoshanna didn’t hear her.
“He only comes, like, to every other holiday, but it’s always wild when he does. Last year we were singing Chad Gadya and there was the part with the Angel of Death, you know, and he just leans back in his chair, and mumbles—” she sucked in her lip and shifted her voice a bit deeper— “‘Woo-ee, he’s a nasty bugger. Wouldn’t want to mess with him.’ And then just carries on singing.”
Miranda laughed, a bit disbelievingly. She started to respond, but footsteps bounded up the staircase outside the door, and Shosh rolled her eyes. “Here comes Aaron, again.”
The door burst open. The little boy shifted his kippah back to the top of his curly brown hair.
“Shosh, Miranda, c’mon downstairs, Uncle Crowley’s here!”
Miranda raised her eyebrows at her companion. Shoshanna smiled. “Awright, Aaron, we’re coming.”
She got up, brushed invisible dust off her skirt, and followed her brother down the stairs, Miranda on her heels.
In the foyer a man stood, dressed in a black suit and sunglasses (after sundown? asked a part of Miranda’s brain, but she shushed it), currently fending off a small swarm of children. He looked up at the girls’ approach.
“Oh hey, Shosh, how’re you doing?” He said, flashing her a smile before returning to pushing a drooling toddler off his expensive looking boots.
“I’m good, Uncle Crowley, how are you? Um, oh, almost forgot, this is Miranda.”
“Miranda, you say? Shakespeare had a character named Miranda, didn’t he, and he made up the name, too. Pretentious git. Well. Anyway. I’m Anthony, Anthony Crowley, and I’m someone’s uncle, I think. That’s why I’m here, innit, or so I’d think.”
Miranda shook off her mild bewilderment. “Yes, um, well. My mum married Shosh’s aunt Noemie. So I’m here now. Part of the family, I guess.”
“Noemie got married? Well. Who would’ve thought. Is she here? I’ll wish the happy couple mazal tov.”
Aaron tugged at the man’s sleeve. “Uncle Crowley? Do you have any of those sweets for us?”
“Sweets? What do you mean, sweets? Aren’t you too old for sweets now? What are you, a hundred?”
Aaron laughed. “No, I’m not! I’m seven!”
“Oh. Well, I guess when I was a hundred, I didn’t fancy myself too old for sweets, so alright.” He held out a hand, and all of a sudden a lemon drop was on his palm where there was no lemon drop a moment before. He dropped it into Aaron’s outstretched hands, and the rest of the children pounced on the boy immediately.
The man sighed. “Oh all right, settle down now.” And the floor was littered with lemon drops and cherry suckers, which the children scrambled for gleefully.
The man sauntered out of the foyer towards the delicious scents of the kitchen. “Nice meeting you, Miranda,” he drawled as he left.
Miranda turned, wide eyed, to Shoshanna.
Her new cousin smirked.