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"I have Alzheimer's," replied Charlton. For a moment, there was silence.

"I thought it would be me," said Jerome, his voice now more subdued.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand."

"Since Alzheimer's is inheritable, and I was more like Dad than you, I always figured that I'd be the one to get it. I never thought for one minute that it would be you," said Jerome, disbelievingly.

"Jerome, I can't come by myself. It's not safe for me anymore to be alone. Can you come and get me?"

Charlton's helpless voice reminded Jerome of a time when they were both little. Charlton couldn't have been more than five years old when the incident happened. He had not come home from playing all day, and their Mom, Vera, was growing concerned. At her prompting, Jerome went to search for his little brother. The sky was growing darker with every minute and Charlton was nowhere to be found. Then Jerome heard Charlton's frightened little voice coming from a tall tree. Jerome quickly ran to it and looked up into it's thick branches. Out on a far limb, high up in the tree, clung little Charlton. He had been playing contentedly up there for several hours until he suddenly realized he couldn't climb down. Resigning himself to spending the rest of his life, alone and up a tree, Charlton began to cry. It took all the brotherly support Jerome could muster to climb up there himself and coax his little brother to climb down with him. He never forgot the greatful hug Charlton gave him when they reached the safety of the ground.

"Can you come get me?" repeated Charlton. "I can't afford to have an episode in the middle of a busy airport."

"You'd wind up in Timbuktoo and not remember how you got there," replied Jerome knowingly. "I know what to do. I'll be there tomorrow."

"Thank you, Jerome," said Charlton, greatfully.

"Just make sure you're packed and ready," replied Jerome. When they hung up, Jerome leaned back in his office chair and called his Mom. He quickly informed her of Charlton's phone call, and, after a few minutes of motherly disbelief and tears, Jerome instructed her to get the guest room ready for Charlton.

"Charlotte's coming, isn't she, Jerome?" asked Vera.

"I suppose so," replied Jerome, who had'nt even noticed the omission of his niece in Charlton's phone call.

"Of course she's coming," said Vera, answering the question, as if she had just spoken to Charlton herself. "Oh, I can't wait to see my grand-daughter again!" she exclaimed through her tears.

"You'll see her soon enough," responded Jerome, patronizingly.

That night, to Adam's surprise, Jerome thoughtlessly lost his queen within the first fifteen minutes of the chess game.

"What's on your mind?" asked Adam, realizing that the loss of Jerome's queen had strategically undermined the safety of the king.
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