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"I've never been one to get revenge, but one time I took some scissors and cut up a big roll of roofing sheets. When Dad came home, he was mad as hell. I told him Jim did it. He knew it had to be Jim because of the kind of kid Jim was. And then Dad beat Jim half to death. Jim walked by me and said, 'I'm going to get you. I'm never going to let you play basketball again. Ever.' "
Henry's attention drifts off for a moment. "Thank God for Fred," he continues. "He was a more likable guy."
Jim, as befits an older brother, doesn't recall the past as vividly. Henry, he feels, has heightened the drama because of his "runt" perspective. Jim even feels his attitude toward his brother has benefited Henry's career. "You see that three-point shot Henry puts up? That's the same shot he learned in our backyard. He had to shoot from out there because if he came inside he got no pity."
When Henry's plane lands, Jim is waiting at the gate. "When I grow up, I'm going to be a ball park," he says, taking Henry's basketball and slam-dunking it through the airport.
Henry can be outgoing and fast with lines, but with Jim he's reserved. He listens as Jim talks baseball. At one point Henry asks, in all seriousness, if Rod Carew and George Brett are on the same team. For a moment Jim looks as though he is considering a wisecrack. But he merely says that Brett plays for the Royals, Carew for the Angels. Twenty years ago he never would have been that tolerant.
Upon reaching Jim's townhouse, Henry greets the family, and then he and Jim begin kidding each other about the old days on the farm.
"I always got the whipping for them," Jim says, pointing at Henry and including Fred in absentia. "My parents wouldn't even give me a BB gun."
"They knew you'd shoot somebody," Henry says. "But they gave you one anyway."
"Yeah, when I was 20."
"What was the first thing you did with it? You shot Fred."