Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Jeremy died eating flying shrimp. Blame Benihana: the argument of his mother’s $5 million lawsuit. The chef, in white hat and apron, sliced and diced on a sizzling hibachi in a circle of customers. After salad and onion soup, he worked the circle flipping and tossing steak, chicken, shrimp. Oohs and aahs, the spectacle of spatula-launched meats landing in mouths. When he reached Jeremy, the shrimp soared high; Jeremy stood, leapt, fell backward, head crashing into a ceramic tree pot. The chef and customers rushed to his aid, but not quick enough. He’d caught the shrimp in his mouth, died from traumatic head injury.

Jeremy was not great at catching things, his mother said, crying, flanked by lawyers at the press conference. Thrown objects like footballs and baseballs had eluded him since childhood. If anyone there had bothered to realize this, maybe he’d still be alive. His father, God rest his soul, had tried to improve his skills, to hone his timing, to work past sunset throwing balls, to forge his progeny’s legacy as all-county, all-state, MVP. But the boy just didn’t have it.

Someone mentioned Jeremy did, at least, catch the shrimp. But his mother was lost, contemplating how a healthy settlement check would compensate for everyone’s failure to outlive her.

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