A detective halted him short .
‘Who are you?’
‘I am Steve Iskenderian’.
‘Who are you looking for?’
‘Mardiros Iskenderian. I am his son. Is he inside?’
‘Is he dead?’
‘Yes. He’s dead’.
For a moment he felt a strange relief that only later would he attribute to gratitude that his cancer-ridden father had finally found release from his suffering. Then almost in the same instant it occurred to him to ask the question that he already knew the answer to. ‘My grandmother and aunt. Are they dead, too?’
The cop stared into his eyes and nodded. ‘Yes – they’re dead, too’.
The police had questions and he tried his best to answer them.
On the drive home he had to forgive himself for allowing his mind at such a moment – to consider the family business. Who would take it over now that his father and grandmother – the heart and soul of Zankou Chicken were gone? His mother Rita by design had never worked a single day at Zankou. His older brother Dikran was a born-again evangelist whose fire took him to street corners and a younger brother Ara was addled by drugs.
No one was more lost than Steve himself . Just three years earlier he had been charged with shooting at a prostitute and her pimp and had faced a life sentence. The case ended in a mistrial. He did have two cousins – Aunt Dzovig’s sons – who were capable enough. But how could they be expected to work beside the sons of the man who had murdered their mother and grandmother?
‘My God Dad’ he said climbing the hillside to give his mother the news. ‘What have you done?’