Marcus was a patient man. He had learned patience in Otisville Correctional, where he had spent five years of his twenties. He was 40 now. He wasn’t shy about it, and would often joke that he had been a Jew only by name until he went to Otisville, where he learned to eat gefilte fish and intersperse his conversation with bits of yiddish. It was really a strike of luck, he said when he talked about it now. Had his surname been different, or had he burned down an apartment building outside of Williamsburg, he could have been sent to a real prison instead of a federal sleepaway camp. No matter how much he underplayed it, five years is a long time, and his habits still bore the mark of his time upstate. In fact, all of his hobbies seemed to be a product of what he called his “long walk in the country.” He read constantly, played tennis twice a week, and took classes at a community college downtown. He had never gone to college, but discovered in Otisville that he enjoyed the ceremony of sitting in a classroom. He figured out that he liked being the class clown, and had passed the time mastering a range of sleight-of-hand tricks. This was how he met Mary.