TOC page here.
Diana and Mustapha are at a church breakfast for the homeless, talking to two guys about Bill Knight’s death:
Diana said, “What did Bill talk about in therapy? Anything that might help.”
He chewed thoughtfully. “Don’t know if it will help. You understand, I’ve only been doing this a couple of months. Bill? He was due to go back to his family a few months ago. When Red did. So it was all about one day at a time. He grew up with a lot of money, hear? His family’s like old-school money. ”
Steve nodded. “Real aristocats.”
“So what he figured it was, they was ruthless people: money and power. They raised him that way, but deep down he’s one of them sensitive people. He tried to be what they wanted, and there was all kinds of what Ms. Claire calls cognitive dissidents.”
Steve drained his coffee. “Yeah, that’s it. So he drank. Now, he’s going back, he’s worried about them trying to make him be that way again. He said they understood it, but he was still worried. Me, I grew up in a real abusive family environment: now I realize my daddy did… shit to me, because he didn’t have no toolbox to work out his own problems. But I can’t go back and confront him, or even forgive him, because they’re all dead. Hurricane Katrinka done got’em.”
“Have another biscuit, brother, ” said Steve.
“That’s only a little slower than drinking, in the long run. ” But he took it, chewed it thoroughly. “Man. His family had let him come back last fall, he wouldn’t have been on the street where the Reaper could get him.” He looked up at the stained glass. “Talk about a cross to bear.”
So now we understand why Bill drank, and why he was on the street, and at least part of why he was still on the street and ended up dead. Keep in mind the story of Bill’s family keeping him out on the street as the reason he wasn’t living with them yet. This will be important, later. And enjoy the wordplay, and the contrast between the wordplay and the actual sophistication of what they’re saying.