Wilson’s mother has a Maxwell House tin from the early seventies filled with complementary blue copies of the Haggadah—collected from years of dedicated coffee-drinking and being Jewish. She has a beautiful white, eyelet table cloth and blue china plates, heavy and hairline cracked with age, and sets of silver and glasswear that she brought out special for the occasion, although she’d admitted to House more than a decade ago that she still used the same pots, and she figured God would forgive her that.

House liked Iris Wilson as soon as he’d met her—which is the only reason he hasn’t killed her son and tossed his body on the side of the highway already.

He flicks on his high beams and narrows his eyes at the houses lining the sides of the streets, trying to see mailbox numbers. “Stop fidgeting,” he mutters.

“I can’t help it,” Wilson mutters, his knee bouncing, thumbs playing at the seatbelt.

Outside, the rain beats down harder and harder, slapping the hood and windshield, battering the trees. They’ve been on the road for more than two hours already, and they’ve finally peeled off of the highways and onto the side streets, melted into quiet, tree-lined neighborhoods that meander one into the other like streams.

“It’s your mother,” House sighs. “She thinks you crap unicorns.”

Three-oh-six, House thinks, three-oh-eight—three-one-zero, finally, and he parallel parks (badly) underneath an enormous sycamore, setting the parking break.

“She thinks you crap unicorns,” Wilson retorts, rubbing his hands over his face. “I suppose I’m just lucky you’re not actually a woman—God knows she would have made me marry you years ago.”

“I’m not your type: I’m not a shikse,” House says and got out of the car.

Wilson is probably the most terrible Jew in the tri-state area—and that’s even accounting his unprecedented capacity for guilt.

House’s role in Wilson’s family life is to attend each Jew party his wives wouldn’t—either because they were cheating on one another, divorcing one another, or looking for reasons to do one or the other. All in all, House has gone to six of the last ten year’s worth of Seders at the Wilson house. He doesn’t mind: Wilson’s mom makes a killer brisket.

“No,” Wilson says, sounding fond. “You unrepentant shikker.”

“Hey,” House says, thumping up the front steps after Wilson, “I am not a drunk.”

Wilson rings the bell and shrugs, saying, “It was the closest my people came to inventing a word for ‘addict’ predating narcotic drugs.”


Wilson always anticipates the disappointed frowns, his father’s sadness, the scolding looks of his older brother, the smirks of whichever cousins had appeared. House imagines that Wilson always plans for at least one nephew or second cousin to have some sort of seizure and die, prostrate, with tumors sprouting from his eyeballs, on the dining room floor. But Wilson has always been the good son, and well-loved by both his parents, if not necessarily understood. They worry about him, less than they should but more than Wilson wants them to.

“You look thin,” Iris scolds, peeling Wilson’s coat away and starting to tug at House’s. The concept of personal space is foreign here, House thinks, resigning himself to being stripped by a woman about a foot and a half shorter than himself. She turns to him and frowns. “And you! You look terrible! Who’s feeding you?”

House points at Wilson. “But only if I’ve been good.”

Iris slaps at both of them, trying to stay annoyed, but collapses like a cheap card table, gathering up Wilson in a hug and giving House’s elbow a squeeze, leading them into the kitchen. Only House and Wilson are ever led to the kitchen, House has realized, and he recognizes he’s there only by virtue of Jimmy’s cooking; Wilson’s conscripted into service immediately, forced to parcel out gefilte fish and check the matzo ball soup.

“Ma, what did you do to this?” Wilson half shouts, diving at a cupboard, one hand holding the pot lid. The liquid inside does look somewhat suspicious. “You’ve been messing up this soup for as long as I can remember!”

Iris waves a dismissive hand and turns to House. “What a stickler,” she laughs.

“Yeah,” House agrees, grinning. “You know how patients hate that.”

“It’s so good to see you boys again,” she tells him, and seeing that Wilson’s appropriately distracted trying to rectify whatever she’s done to the first course, she asks, “Is he doing all right?”

House could say any number of things, but he and Wilson are on shaky ground as it is, relearning boundaries after Tritter had gerrymandered his way into their lives—and more than that, he doesn’t want Iris to worry. Wilson is fine—just not in the classic definition of fine. Jimmy won’t ever be happy the way he thinks he should be happy, but Iris doesn’t need to know that, so House says:

“Well, he hasn’t proposed yet, but I’m thinking he might ask soon.” He holds up a hand for her inspection. “What kind of ring, do you think?”

“Hah,” she mutters, and pushes his hand back into his lap. “My boy’s a nice Jewish doctor. He can do better than you.”

“Touche,” House acquiesces.

Iris asks about hospital gossip and House says utterly scandalous and horrible things about his fellows until Wilson finally tunes back in, compelled to speak up on their behalf.

“I like Greg’s stories better,” Wilson’s father says, herding everybody to the dining room table, and filling everybody’s wine glass. He slaps peoples’ hands away from their drinks with his dog-eared copy of the Haggadah, shouting, “All right! All right! It’s time for us to get this night on the road so everybody shut up and think about escaping from Egypt.”

“I feel closer to God already,” House whispers, and when Wilson kicks him under the table, shoulders shaking from laughter, House can feel the love through the toe of his expensive French shoes.

1 Response to “[house] passover”

  1. 1 teresa11 April 21, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    *g* I’m laughing so hard right now. I hope you write for a living,
    because it’d be a damn shame if you didn’t. But I think you do, so there’s that.
    (Now if only I could get you on the writer’s staff of House…)

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East Coast Gazette has a terrible editorial focus and tends to use a lot of ALL CAPS but TOTALLY NOT BECAUSE OF HARRY POTTER. Stories in progress as well as snapshots will be listed in the "box full of snapshots" below, website archive for stories and assorted tomfoolery is glitterati.

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