"The man I'm working with..."
Ryan didn't bother asking his name. She certainly didn't try to remember it.
"He heard my accent. He told me : 'You're from Russia !'
- I thought you were German."
He remembers when he first met her, one hour ago : "Are you Herr Ryan ?" Weird question to ask, actually : he was the one who invited her in his office, it was written Andrew Ryan's office on the door, and Ryan Industries on the building.
"My father was German, but we lived near Minsk. The man was wrong! I'm from Belarus."
They could speak in Russian, he realized. She thinks of the same thing :
"We could switch to Russian. Or German. Or Yiddish.
- No, no that's alright."
Speaking in yiddish, here ? The whole building would know in one moment.
"It's funny, Herr Ryan. The man I work with, he asked me : 'But why did you come to New York, you're in such a far away country!' And I told him..."
Brigid Tenenbaum touches absent-minded her tattoo on her arm, and Andrew Ryan tries to not look at it.
"I told him 'Far away from what ?' "
There is a silent.
"It sounds like a joke."
Tenenbaum looks him in the eyes for the first time.
"A sad little jewish joke, right?"
It's hard to focus when he talks to her ; she has this aura, like she's from an other world. That's what a genius looks like, he thinks. His city... it would be full of people like this. More than ever, he wants her to come.
"Why did you tell me this?
- Because, Herr Ryan, when you told me about a city underwater, 'far away from everything', you reminded me of this man.
- So, will you come? I know you have an... interesting position here, but... you're different, aren't you? There's only one Brigid Tenenbaum in the world, and this city only deserves the best : the greatest artists, the most ambitious scientists...
- And what are you, Herr Ryan? A scientist, an artist?"
Somehow, she confuses him. Like a child.
"I... play violin sometimes."
What a woman! He wants to slap himself.
"I'm the one who will make this dream come true. You're an extraordinary scientist, Dr Tenenbaum. Rapture could be your home."
"Minsk, New York, Rapture, only names... I'm used to wander.
- Is it a yes or a no?"
He's running out of patience. What does she want from him?
"You know, your little story reminds of a joke my father told me years ago. A 'sad little jewish joke'."
She doesn't seem to listen, but he goes on anyway.
"In 1939, a Jew enters a travel agency and says : 'I want to buy a ticket.' 'Where to?' the agent asks. The Jew examines the globe on the agent’s desk, and the agent rules out every country he suggests: 'that country isn’t accepting any more Jews, this country requires a visa, there’s a 10-year waiting list to enter another country.' "
She's listening now, more than when he was talking about Rapture.
"Finally the Jew looks at the agent and says : 'Excuse me, maybe you have a different globe?' ”
Her laugh surprises him. It was not a funny joke in his opinion, but to each his own, apparently.
When she stops laughing, she nods :
"I will come, Herr Ryan. I hope you have more jokes with you under the sea. Or a least, some violin to play."
He shakes her hand, delighted :
"I can't promise it, Dr Tenenbaum. But I can promise you a bright future."
With or without jewish jokes.
He's not a fan of parties like this, but Diane insisted. He didn't build Rapture to have fun, but to work, after all. These mondane events, and people in it... What do they bring to Rapture? The Great Chain can be hazardous.
He doesn't doubt for long ; Diane takes his arm. She drank a little, and she smiles.
"Oh, Andrei! Rapture is truly Heaven!"
People laugh around them, agreeing. He doesn't.
"There's no Heaven. I built this city."
Silence. He can feel Diane's glare - he ruined it, again. He can already hear her, when they will be back at his flat : "You're such a killjoy! It's always the same! I just wanted to have fun!'
He coughs :
"It makes me think of a little joke..."
The mere concept of Andrew Ryan telling a joke is funny enough to make some of them smile.
"How do we know the Soviet Union is 'Heaven?' "
None of them knows it.
"Because they are naked and they only have apples to eat."
By chance, they all laugh, and Diane relaxes. He raises his glass.
"And this, my friends, is why I left Russia! To Rapture!"
"To Rapture!" They all cry.
These evenings are not so bad, after all.
"I'm glad you left Russia, Andreeeeeeeeeew."
Diane's drunk, way too drunk, and she falls on her bed.
"Thanks Andreeew, d'you.... d'you want...
- I have... work to do."
It's never a lie.
In five minutes, she will fall asleep. Suddenly, she laughs. He stares at her, confused and annoyed.
"Imagine... imagine you in Russia... naked and eating apples."
He doesn't even pretend to smile, and she sees it.
"Why, Andrew, you never laugh! It was... was your joke."
It's true, it was his joke. It was a light joke, more lighter than would have been his fate if he stayed in Russia. And if he had to be honest, with or without communism, his father would have left at some point, hopefully.
"Why don't you play violin to me, Andrew? You never do!
- I don't have my violin here, and you know I don't..."
She doesn't care. He should just leave, let her sleep. But there's one more thing he has to say, hoping she won't remember it tomorrow.
"Diane, I do have a little joke for you."
She's almost asleep, but she smiles like a child.
"Do you know why so many Jews play the violin?"
She shakes her head. He's sure she didn't even listen the question. Good.
"It's easier to carry when fleeing from a pogrom."
She's sleeping. He shuts the door behind him.
"Mark my word, Andrew : this Lamb, she's going to find a new messiah. It might even be an octopus..."
Steinman, very proud of his little joke, bursts out laughing ; unfortunately to him, his audience is composed of Andrew Ryan and Sander Cohen. The first rarely smiles ; the former... Well, Sander Cohen being Sander Cohen, he says:
"What a delightful idea! It gives me a great idea for my play!"
Neither Ryan or Steinman bother to ask for more precisions. They're at Steinman's flat : the brilliant minds of Rapture happen to share a meal from time to time.
"This isn't funny, Jacob. This Lamb... she's dangerous. Not a laughing matter.
- Nothing's a laughing matter for you, Andrew. That's why I don't eat with you more often : your sense of humour is terrible. Are you even jewish?"
Here he goes: Steinman can't help but laugh again. This time, Cohen smiles, almost shyly. This is still not a laughing matter to the Great Andrew Ryan, but he cracks a smile too.
"Here we are! Really : this Lamb is just creating a new christianity under the sea.
- And that's funny because... ?
- Because it's ridiculous! Did you ever listen to the "Father" Wales? I'm sure even the Pope makes more sense! Listen, I know a fair amount about religious bullshit. Did you know my uncle was a rabbi?"
Andrew Ryan watches him, Jacob Salomon Steinman, playing with Adam to improve the body every day, and whistling while doing it, eating seafood as they're speaking, and flirting with his female patients.
"It's hard to believe.
- No one in my family accepted my profession. My uncle tried to convince me to stop so many times, "HaShem made men in His image", "B'tselem Elohim", etc. Do I look like I care about this? So, I left.
- You never saw your family again?"
When Cohen focuses on the conversation, he can be surprisingly insightful. He asked, but he already knows the answer. Steinman smiles, sardonic :
"You only go at the bottom of the sea if you've got nothing to leave behind."
"Far from where?" asked Tenenbaum. Maybe it was the real motto of Rapture, after all.
"Anyway, these debates were not a success, right? What do you think, Sander?"
Cohen's eyes shine : Andrew Ryan is his favorite topic.
"I think you were marvellous, Andrei. This bitch doesn't know what she's talking about. And the people applauding her! Degenerated sheeps, incapable of a single critical soul!
- Even you has to admit it, Andrew, a new christianity under the sea, it's hilarious! That's what you get when you mix religion with ADAM."
Before Ryan gets to answer, Steinman claps his hand :
"I have a joke for you! It was my uncle's favorite joke - you won't believe it when you hear it. You will laugh, I swear! It's a Jew in New York, atheist, very modern."
"Like me" is the unspoken addition between the three men.
"He decides to send his son to the Trinity school, a former prestigious Christian school, now secular. One day, his son comes back from school : 'Dad, I know what trinity means! It's the father, the son and the holy spirit!'
Sofia Lamb, the Adam and Rapture, certainly.
"His father, enraged, yells at him : 'Listen to me! We only have one god - and we don't believe in him!' "
Steinman's right : Andrew Ryan laughes for the first time since... he can't recall.
"That was a good one, Jacob."
He almost adds :
"It's funny, because it's true."
Atlas, Atlas, Atlas! The name of Atlas is ruining his city, he knows it.
Fontaine's dead, but that's the last of his trouble now. He thought he left the parasites at the surface, but apparently, they followed him. No matter what the council might say, he won't let them win.
He's angrily going in circles in his office, in the middle if the night, at Hephaestus.
If he can't sleep, he should work but he can't calm down. Diane must be... angry as ever. Their relationship felt distant, recently.
"It's easier to carry while fleeing from a pogrom."
When his father told him this joke, he wasn't laughing. Was he serious? He wonders now, preparing himself to a sleepless night, as he takes and tunes the violin, where his father heard this joke for the first time. His parents maybe.
Now, thousand of miles under the sea, it's the only legacy his family left him : a joke and a violin.
Six of the morning. The engineers are coming to Hephaestus. He didn't sleep, but he will be alright. He begins to be used to it.
His secretary, on the interphone, sounds alarmed. Another day, another migraine.
"Mr Ryan, something happened that night. You should... see it by yourself."
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to put his face on the walls of his city. But he sure hoped he would at least be safe in Hephaestus.
He doesn't need to read the insults entirely to feel them under his skin. A 'k....', a 'y...', of course, of fucking course. Written accross his face, in his Hephaestus.
And he heard nothing! He was too busy playing violin. Now, he's tired and annoyed, more and more curious employees are coming, and he knows it's going to be a long day.
"Fifty ADAMS to whoever cleans this."
His hands are trembling from rage ; he hides them in his pockets.
"And fifty more to the one who knows who did this."
Pablo Navarro almost jumps to the opportunity, pushing others to take a sponge. While Ryan goes back to his office, he hears... Samuel Lutz? Funny how he remembers his name - the Lutz are russian, that's why.
Another common point : they know a lot of jokes, and Ryan stops at his door, when Lutz begins to tell one at his colleague :
"A group of nazis attacks an old Jew in 1940. They ask him :
'Who caused the war?'
The old man answers :
'The Jews and the cyclists.'
They ask, surprised :
'Why the cyclists?'
He answers :
'Why the Jews?'"
Ryan smiles ; but no one sees it.
"That's beautiful, Herr Ryan."
He's startled. Why, a man can't be left in peace! Tenenbaum raises a hand before he can complain :
"Don't fire your secretary : I sneaked like a thief."
He looks at her : Brigid Tenenbaum is different. Tired. Sad. But - and that's the strangest thing - she smiles warmly. He follows her gaze to... oh. Right. She heard him.
"Why do you play only in your office? It's good."
For once, he doesn't have an answer.
"Was it the Shalom Aleichem? Last time I heard it, I was a little girl..."
She pauses. He never saw her so calm.
"I never thought I would hear it in Rapture. And even less from you.
- So what? Am I a hypocrite? It's just music. Nothing... religious about it."
She comes closer - she sits without asking.
"You're a hypocrite indeed, but not because you play the jewish songs of your childhood on your violin."
Her tone is accusatory now. He puts his violin on his desk.
"I suppose that's why you wanted to see me. To talk about my so-called 'hypocrisy'."
As long as they don't talk about his violin, he should be alright. Ryan's already feel more confident. That's nothing : an employee's complaining.
"It's not too late to stop the Little Sister's program.
- Wh... Because they're children!"
Tenenbaum raised her voice : even her seems surprised.
"That didn't seem to bother you when you were working with Fontaine. You're the one who...
- Fontaine is dead, Herr Ryan. People change. I changed."
"Fontaine's a monster.
- We agree on that.
- But you're not... maybe. I'm not so sure now. You changed too, Herr Ryan. What's about the freedom of these little girls? Of these golems protecting her?"
Why is he always uncomfortable in Tenenbaum's presence? He sees it know: she makes him doubt. He doesn't have time for that.
"These 'golems' as you say protect the little girls you love so much.
- They're golems because they bring the truth into the light! The truth about Rapture! Your city is build on hypocrisy and slavery!
- This is enough!"
He can't doubt now, Atlas is too close, too dangerous... but if he listens to her too much... He hopes his voice doesn't shake :
"Out. Of. My. Office. Go to Atlas, if you want to help parasites.
- I can't believe I thought...
- If you... never mentions it again, I will forget. Keep your... 'jewish mother instinct' to yourself, and go!"
It hurts to say, and it hurts her. He never liked 'jewish mom' jokes, now that he thinks of it.
"I never knew my mother."
She sounds defeated. Did he win? He's not exactly proud of himself. He stops himself before adding "Me neither". No place for sentimentality.
"Herr Ryan, do you know the difference between Atlas's men and a jewish mother?"
She's so collected, suddenly, but her voice... she's so sad. Why did she change? Why is she trying to change him? He's sure she didn't try to convince Fontaine. Why?
What they have in common, origins, a former religion, songs, almost the same country, and languages... Did she think it would have been enough? That it made him different enough of Fontaine?
"What's the difference?"
"You can negotiate with Atlas's men."
He swears he sees tears in her eyes.
"Goodbye, Herr Ryan."
He would never see her again.
Ryan barely leaves his office nowadays. How many months since Tenenbaum's disappearance? Since the... incident at the Kashmir?
He can count the sane citizens still alive on the fingers of his hand. He heard disturbing things about Steinman ; apparently, plastic surgery was not enough for him. What would his uncle think of it? And Ryan's annoyed to realize how much Steinman's descent into madness could be a rabbi's preventive tale.
And now, Fort Frolic's closed to the public. He's been told people passing by heard terrible screams. Cohen... keeps prisonners at it seems. He should send Sullivan, but no one knows where he went. His security is too busy with Atlas's men.
He has no choice but to call Cohen himself. He doesn't have a lot of hope, but Cohen answers right away :
"Why, the Great Andrew Ryan!"
These words, Ryan heard them more than once. But today, he's certain Cohen's sarcastic.
"What are you doing, Sander?
- Not much, not much. Searching for... inspiration. As always, you're my favorite muse, Andrew."
Sander is not in his right mind, it's obvious now.
"You trapped people in Fort Frolic.
- Jealous you're not one of them? I sure do miss you."
Cohen has always been flirty, but now, he sounds murderous.
It hits him, how much he used to appreciate Cohen's weirdness, Steinman's sense of humour. What changed them?
"I miss you too, Sander."
But he quickly adds :
"Rapture miss its greatest artist."
Cohen stays quiet a moment. When he speaks again, his tone makes Ryan's shivers. This is so wrong.
"You know what Rapture miss? When Andrew Ryan was still a great man. Say, Andrew, let me tell you a little story, as a farewell gift. It's a Jew..."
Come on. He can't be serious.
"... Who leaves his little village to a big city...
- I know this one."
If Ryan were in the same room, Cohen would have killed him for that interruption.
"You don't know this version, Andrew. It's a man who goes to Rapture, and he says to a friend : 'What a great city Rapture is! I saw a man claiming free will was the most valuable thing! I saw a man establishing the death penalty for smugglers! I saw a man despising government's interventions in business! I saw a man nationalizing his rival's company! I saw a man promising a city free of censorship! I saw a man sending to prison everyone criticising him!'
- I know the punchline, Sander, it's not...
- His friend says : 'Well, Rapture is a huge city. It's normal to see so many different men.'
- The other friend answers : 'You don't get it! It was always the same Jew!' "
And with that, Cohen shuts the line.
His son... this stranger intruding into his city... It was his son.
Does he know? Does he know he's used by Atlas? Does he know he's going to kill his father?
Ryan never thought he would be a father... not this way, anyway. If he manages to kill him, what will he keep of him? His legacy - a city almost destroyed. A violin. His words on his radio.
"I see that you struggle to adapt in my wonderful city. Might I entertain you with a little joke?"
The boy - his boy!, doesn't answer. He never does, even to Atlas. He will die without hearing his son's voice, oh... He has to focus.
"Do you know what chutzpah is?"
Of course he doesn't. Unless Tenenbaum told him, unless she inscribed it in his genetic code - but Ryan doubts it.
"It's... audace. Impertinence. Insolence."
He wonders if Tenenbaum's listening, wherever she is. If she's still alive.
"Chutzpah is a man who kills his parents and then pleads for the mercy of the court because he's an orphan."
The boy doesn't get it, obviously.
If he dies today, at least... at least, it would be his legacy.
"Tenenbaum! Brigid Tenenbaum!"
The boys is close, he doesn't have much time. He has been searching for every radio frequencies on Rapture. There's Cohen's one, closed to everyone, there's his son, Atlas, and... there's one, from Rapture's sewers.
Could it be?
"It's Andrew Ryan!"
If it's her, she doesn't answer. Maybe she's afraid Atlas might find her. Maybe she doesn't want to talk to him.
He switches to yiddish, as a last hope. At least he's sure Atlas won't understand them. His yiddish is rusty :
"I might be dead soon. Answer me, Brigid Tenenbaum."
And then, her voice, as it was the only thing she expected :
"I'm sad to hear that, Herr Ryan.
- You're not."
He can hear little girls behind her.
"What do you want, Herr Ryan? My help?
- Even if you wanted to, what help could you give me? An army of children?
- What do you want from me?"
What does he want?
"What's the name of the boy?"
There's a silence.
- What's his name?
- I called him Jack."
Jack. Jack Ryan. He can deal with that.
"Jack is coming to kill me.
- I'm following his journey. He has been good to my... to my children.
- If I die... Hear, Dr Tenenbaum, hear, Rapture! Hear, Jack!"
His swan song ; and Tenenbaum makes a little "oh" when he starts to play.
All the radio frequencies are on, except Cohen's one - is he even alive?
"Oyfn pripetchik brent a fayerl
Un in shtub is heys
Un der rebbe lernt kleyne kinderlekh
She's singing, slowly. He thinks one of the girls joined her.
Violin and voice : Cohen would have liked their duet.
"Az ir vet, kinder, elter vern,
Vet ir aleyn farshteyn,
Vifil in di oysyes lign trern
Un vifil geveyn."
The little girls frown at the sun. They will get used to it, she hopes. They have to : they're free now.
Jack sent a rescue message. While awaiting for a boat, Tenenbaum finds herself wordless. What could she tell him?
Ryan talked about his legacy ; before leaving, she had to go to his office. Jack buried the corpse, along with his mother, Suchong, Steinman, Langford, even Fontaine.
She didn't face Ryan's body in his office, but she found his violin. And now, she's holding it, not knowing what to do with it.
"You play violin, Dr Tenenbaum?"
She doesn't know what to answer. He's a child, in so many ways.
"Mama Tenenbaum sings! She sings with the violin from the radio! And I sing too, and Mama Tenenbaum said I sing very well! "
Masha is beaming with pride, while Jack's thinking.
"The violin from the...
- It was your father's violin.
- Can we sing? Can we sing? Mama Tenenbaum, please!"
Jack takes the violin.
"I don't know how...
- You will learn, if you want to. You're so young, and already a mensch, Jack. You're free."
He doesn't ask what mensch means ; maybe he understands, somehow.
He takes Masha in his arms.
"So I heard you were a singer... Care to show me?"
Masha smiles :
"Az ir vet kinder, dem goles shlepn,
Zolt ir fun di oysyes koyekh shepn,
Kukt in zey arayn"
The sun feels good, decides Tenenbaum. She almost forgot.
Hope, she thinks, hope feels good too.