Perfection: A Story
Early in June of 1956, the summer in New York burst forth temperate and bright, the colors deep, the wind promising. This was the beginning of the summer that was to see the culmination of a chain of events that had begun, like everything else, at the beginning of the world, but had started in a practical sense in March of the previous year, when the Saromsker Rebbe opened the wrong drawer.
A heavy wet snow had snapped some telephone lines in Brooklyn, many of which at that time were carried on poles above the ground. When these went down, the magnetic effect coursed its way through the webs of copper and steel in the telephone exchanges and made oceans of static that flowed like backwash into every telephone in Brooklyn. The Saromsker Rebbe had intended to use the telephone to propose a meeting with Rabbi Moritz of Breel, who lived on Ocean Parkway with his followers, who trimmed their hats in mink, whereas the Saromskers lived in Williamsburg and trimmed theirs with sable. The Saromsker Rebbe wanted to discuss a theological difference that now appeared reconcilable.
About the Author
Mark Helprin is the author of, among other works of fiction, Memoir from Antproof Case, A Soldier of the Great War, Winter’s Tale, and Ellis Island and Other Stories. A contributing editor of the Wall Street Journal and a senior fellow of the Calremont Institute, he writes widely on defense and foreign relations.