Fisk the Amanuensis

A short story by Mark Fenton.

By Mark Fenton
Published September 09, 2007

I helped save a guy's life once. With Fisk. We didn't mean to. It just ended up that way.

It was one of those times when Fisk's life takes a turn. The thing about a turn is it's in some ways good and in some ways not so good. At first it all seems good because Fisk is off the street. That's how it was with Simmons. At the beginning.

See Simmons is a genius. Fisk doesn't know that at first but he figures it out. Fisk probably isn't a genius although who knows if he'd had advantages and distinguished instruction. But he's exceptional with his wits in a way that geniuses maybe aren't. Here's some examples. He can sense he's WITH a genius. And he can tell which way a person goes.

Fisk was just getting by. Keeping clean. Getting inside at night. Then he starts to get aspirations again. Decides to span time in a pub. The EQUESTRIAN. In Westdale. To meet a better class of people. Notices this guy in the Equestrian just looking into some space where nothing is. Sitting like that for hours. And then when it turns to evening the guy goes across the street to the movie theatre which is playing HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDERS FROM PHOENIX. Next day he's at the bar again and sure enough he goes across and watches the movie only this time he goes back to the Equestrian. Sits where he always does. He's a big guy and people don't sit next to him. And he's reading HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDERS FROM PHOENIX. And he's writing notes.

Now Fisk. He doesn't have a library card because he doesn't have an address. But Miriam. She's one of the librarians just down the street. She's got a full on crush for Fisk and reserves the book for him and just keeps it for him and lets him read it when he comes in. "I thought you might be here today. You were overdue." And she moves her hips one way and her head the other and her hair sways. Fisk doesn't take notes. If Fisk had to rely on writing stuff down to remember important stuff he'd be dead.

Sometimes Miriam lets him have a book overnight even though he doesn't have an address. That's the kind of effect Fisk has on women. Pretty soon he's not only read HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDERS but all the other Harry Potter books. He reads them in backwards order but puts them forward in his head so he has the whole story clear. Like a guy who can read in mirrors. Its fantasy. Not really his thing. Mostly he likes to read how-to books about home-reno. Cause he's always in different homes and the least he can do is help out. But Fisk is versatile in his tastes.

This is how Fisk makes acquaintance with Simmons. Ed Simmons. His other friends call him Ed. Fisk calls him Simmons. Cause this is a special friend and takes him longer to say which is I guess exciting in a Partner. Which I kind of have trouble saying without laughing cause this is Fisk were talking about.

Fisk observes Simmons with these friends of his. A man and a woman who sometimes see him in the Equestrian like they aren't sure they want to go to Simmons's house. Ralph and Rowena. Ralph is pronounced RAFE cause they all met at university in England where they're from. One time Rowena gives Simmons a pie full of organ meats. Simmons sort of wiggles all his fingers in the air like he's excited the way a kid is. Looking at the pie. "You look so pale," she says "I fear you lack iron."

They talk like books Fisk says. Simmons is talking about Harry Potter and the little ways the book and the movie are different. He just talks and talks and they aren't really listening any more just looking at each other and making eye motions like he's just into his own thing here. But he can't see that with the bottle glasses and then Simmons finally says "…at times it seems as though the movie where a membrane testing what tolerances the thinnest of synthetic reproduction can be stretched to." And he laughs really hard at this until the Rafe says "You certainly don't lack iron-y." And Rowena laughs and Rafe sits there happy with himself like he said something really funny.

Meanwhile Fisk is up at the bar. And the bartender is leaning in and shows him this picture he's drawn of Simmons. It's really quite good cause the bartender is practicing to do art at the university and only works at the bar to afford it. And next to the picture of Simmons there's a photograph of a pear and it's exactly the same shape as Simmons body and he's even drawn little dotted line around it in the shape of a pear and the body to show its the same and he laughs evilly. And Fisk is just sort of uncomfortable and doesn't like this. Fisk might lie to people when he's hungry but there's one thing Fisk ISN'T. Fisk ISN'T mean for no reason.

Fisk's idea is that Simmons will see him reading the book in the Equestrian and he's almost out of money cause the beers aren't cheap there. But Fisk isn't sure Simmons even notices him. Just keeps reading over and over a copy of HARRY POTTER AND THE BLEEDING PRINCE. Fisk has an idea. He'll actually bump INTO him. Which he does when Simmons has had enough beer and goes to the bathroom. They both drop the book which is the same and Fisk makes the comment that they're reading the same book. "You can use the exact techniques you use to meet women" Fisk says. And Simmons goes "Good heavens we are—I'm…I'll admit it's a guilty pleasure of mine, these books. Do you… If you have a moment, we might have a …I mean if you're not BUSY."

"I'm Fisk." Which is an odd answer and makes Simmons take off his glasses and laugh. Pale green eyes in a white mass of face. Beads of sweat. Hair plastered to his skull with product is coming loose.

"A moment…" Simmons comes back with beers in sweaty glasses and Fisk has already moved to his table. "So you TOO are a fan."

"I haven't actually been able to see the movie." Fisk sort of squints across the street at the theatre.

"Ah, perhaps…You see…I've been putting off seeing it yet AGAIN. I feel a bit CHILDISH seeing it so many--But of COURSE it's always more fun with someone who hasn't seen it YET...I'm wondering…if you aren't busy…WOULD you be…My treat…?"

Simmons. He's taking a risk here. Fisk says he's breathing like he might have an attack. So Fisk saves him. "Hey. I got nothing on. I'm just looking into getting to know the book really well first."

"An admirable plan. Now when you see it…in terms of inTEGrity to the book…a word or two of WARning…"

It spins into a good gig for Fisk. Because Simmons has a house in the neighbourhood and Fisk moves in. Actually he doesn't move in because he doesn't have stuff. He's just suddenly there. But he starts looking better. Simmons has things in his bathroom. Fisk is always good at keeping himself clean but here there's shaving creams and conditioner and after-shave and salves of all manner and Miriam the Librarian sees him the next day all groomed to read. "Well Fisk, there's no risk of unruly hair impeding YOUR reading." And he finds Miriam's fingers touching the points of hair he's done into upward spikes and her nails have been done since yesterday and she almost giggles but stops herself with a look that's as happy as a person ever is. Fisk happens to mention he's visiting a friend named Ed Simmons. Her eyes go big and Fisk looks puzzled. Takes him over to a computer and types in EDWARD SIMMONS. And this big entry comes up with a picture at an award ceremony.

Turns out Simmons isn't just a professor. He's famous everywhere in math. And there's lit up names of other math people and mention of Simmons and his theories and acclaim. Math words which Simmons had something to do with are lit up too. Fisk is amazed. Miriam has a hand on his shoulder as he reads.

What Fisk finds is Simmons doesn't really have a structure to the time he works. Some days he's up at 3:00 pm other times he goes for 20 hours and falls asleep in his chair at supper time. Fisk has been taking care of meals because he has use of Simmons's credit card and bank card. "Its kind of a role you fall into. I guess I don't REALLY mind" he says in a way that shows he DOES mind. But then he also has food right now. "Guy doesn't really eat well. Mostly gets Hamburgers and Pizza. So I start bringing in Chinese Food and Subs which is better because it's got vegetables."

When Simmons isn't working he's going to the Equestrian and drinking and reading Harry Potter books and seeing the movies and making notes on them. Then one day he gets an idea for a Proof. After that Fisk says he hardly goes out at all. Doesn't drink. Has to be forced to eat.

One time Simmons DOES go out to see Rafe and Rowena. Fisk follows him out after a phone call and there they are at a coffee shop.

So later Fisk and Simmons are lying in bed and Fisk says. "Those people who gave you the pie. I just wondered. Should we have them over? Like a dinner. We could order in." Simmons looks kind of frightened. Looks into the empty space in the room as though there's numbers and signs that might give him an answer. But then he starts to laugh. "Oh, Oh good heavens. I'm not sure they're ready for THAT." He rolls over towards Fisk and puts him hand on Fisk's arm. "They—they're lovely people in their WAY. They THINK they're cosmopolitan, but they have very set ideas of things. Can't see the subtleties. Why, I'm sure they'd look at us and think we were QUEERS." He laughs really loud here like it's the funniest thing ever. Fisk feels weird at this. "Certainly WE know we're not queers, but they would think that and there's no telling them anything when they get a set idea—Oh, I meant to show you. There's an interview with Daniel Radcliffe about the next movie. He talks about working with Crookshanks the cat. It's really quite charming."

So this is strange for Fisk. Considering what they've been doing. Does it mean he's interested in women now? Which is bad news for Fisk. But maybe he doesn't even think of Fisk at all. Takes him for granted. Fisk analyzing how Simmons changed the subject. "He thinks of me like a cat. That just comes and stays and you let it have scraps." It makes Fisk sad for a minute. Then he figures it's just an opportunity to not be so guilty for being a non-paying tenant.

He starts looking around the basement. It's a disaster there. Stacks of storage containers full of notebooks and old computer equipment and disks. And even some old fantasy books and Disney movies which I guess Simmons was into before Harry Potter took up his free time. At the back there a bunch of copper pipes. Some are capped and some just sort of ooze. And they're coming between the rubble foundation and making it crack. Fisk finds out from Simmons it's old plumbing that got pulled out and he knows he should do something about it but he just hasn't had the time. Fisk offers to look into it which is fine with Simmons.

That's where I come in.

Fisk calls me cause my Dad did masonry. Brickwork. Now rubble basements aren't my specialty and I know more about laying brick than taking stones apart and putting them together. But I'll give it a shot. Simmons spends most of his days at the house. He's so smart he just has a couple of students he teaches. Doesn't need to teach full classes because the University just likes having him around. For the prestige. Fisk is on campus but whenever Simmons sees him he just waves and keeps going or maybe gives him money for a hotdog. Fisk kind of likes it there and went to a free lecture about moths and says one lunchhour he heard an organ concert which made his ears buzz.

Anyway he has me over to get all the copper pipe out of there. At first we go in with hammers and chisels but then we kind of got stumped and opened some watermelon coolers. I got an idea to run home and get my brothers Reciprocating Blade Saw which he says was a find on E-bay. He says what to look for is counterbalancing masses on either side of the back and forth action which this tool has so you discourage lateral torque force. Which loses me. But my brother he's engineering minded so I trust him. Anyway it works pretty well aside from wrecking all the blades and at one point I think I'm going between stones but I'm actually nosing into a nook in a big stone and it WAPS out of my hands. Working beside me with chisels in each hand like a Samurai Fisk almost got SKINNED.

We get all the copper pipe out and then we've been holding up the foundation with rods. Lucky they still hold when we get back with a bags of cement. Cause they're starting to bow. We work one at a time with me pulling a rod out and holding. Fisk doing the mixing and putting the stones back. Better me holding for the strength cause Fisk is missing the thumb on that hand. Thought it was all going to go down on us but finally it hardened up enough. Keeping our backs up against the wall for two hours and I'm glad we had two more coolers to drink during that. To pass the time we got talking about Simmons and his work. How its all just symbols Fisk doesn't understand written in ballpoint pen in a notebook. How that would be bad if he lost it and maybe he better talk to Simmons about having more than one copy. We eventually leave the wall and it bulges a bit but it holds. Although in retrospect I wish I'd got a sealant which my brother tells me was the problem.

I actually give Fisk money for more than half the pipe. I figure I'll keep it all in the scrapyard until someone really wants it for retro plumbing. There'll always be people in this town for pipe.

So Fisk goes and talks to Simmons about how he should make copies of his work. Simmons has never thought of this but says, "Hmmm, there's something in that. All too many cases of lost manuscripts. I'm reminded of a servant who threw Carlyle's FRENCH REVOLUTION into the fire." Fisk wondering if Simmons thinks he might do something dumb like that. "I know someone at the library just around the corner who could probably do it for free."

Everything Fisk-related fits like stones in a solid foundation. That's what Fisk wanted the money from the pipe for. He goes to the library again but Miriam is all kind of quiet. "Miriam" Fisk says looking up under her hair cause she's bowed "I hope you aren't upset at some tact I don't have?" and finally her eyes go to his. All important and brown and sad. Spaces between words where she pulls herself together. "It's certainly not you… my favourite reader… I'm not going home tonight… I'm working late… and then staying with a friend… near by." And she stops and just looks down again to keep from losing it. So Fisk figures she's having trouble with her husband and he's going to ask her out for dinner and needs money for a restaurant and some good clothes. That happens with Fisk all the time. His attention gives a woman the confidence to finally leave. Its like a service he does and he doesn't get a cent for it.

She's gone out and bought new clothes. Black. To make her look thinner. And she's going to join a gym. There's an understanding here and its sweet when you see that. She knows Fisk isn't a permanent solution cause Fisk is legendary. Just some male attention is what she needs right now and that's a good situation for Fisk. Not that Fisk is uptight about doing what he has to do to stay inside. But being with women is the way he would naturally go.

"So, I'm curious. What is it you actually DO for Simmons?"

"It kind of varies. Someone like that has to focus on the ideas. You need someone around to kind of put everything in order. Otherwise it all falls apart."

Her eyes go narrow. She's thinking back to Fisk photocopying all those numbers. "SO," she thinks, "there's a side to Fisk I didn't know." Like he must be one of those two or three important students Simmons has. Cause if Fisk is a math guy it wouldn't be surprising he lives on the street a lot of the time. Fisk and Simmons aren't like stockbrokers who add up rows of numbers on a laptop and make money. Its these little symbols without numbers and there's no way of getting money in and out of banks that way.

"I had no idEa." Looking up through her eyelashes at him. "So you're his…amanuensis?"

This doesn't happen to Fisk very often but he actually blushes here. Like she's ON to what he does with Simmons.

"Its just for a while. Till I get established on my own."

She reaches over and puts her hand on his and laughs. "Fisk, its nothing to be emBARrassed about. Everyone pays his or her dues in the academic world. After all, he's a genius. He's going to need some, support. And I imagine he's a bit eccentric. It can ONly look good on your cv."

They get talking again. Fisk can't believe its all OK with her. "By the way. Do you know what he does with his papers?"

"Oh he doesn't use papers. He writes in little books. The pages are glued together inside a cover. So you don't loose a piece of paper that might have something really important on it."

"Fisk. STOP it. I've never laughed this much. It's more dangerous than the wine. No. Seriously. I just wondered if he was at a point where he was ready to sell."

"His house?"

She's getting so giddy here the other customers are looking over.

"No his PAPERS. There's a huge demand with someone like Dr. Simmons. If he's ever interested I have a contact at Princeton …"

Its right then that he notices Rafe sitting at a table near by. Interested and puzzled. He's not with Rowena. Some other woman he works with from the way they're talking. About all the other people they work with and how bad their work is but how they get all the good grants because they PROSTITUTE THEMSELVES is how Rafe puts it. "I'm learning stuff about university" Fisk tells me. "You can be married or whatever and see whoever you want for dinner as long as you teach at a university. But jeeze I could never survive there. Getting by on the street is one thing. I'd never figure out how to get by in THAT place."

Miriam is still staying at the friend's apartment and they walk there because Fisk has spent all the money I gave him for the pipe and can't afford a cab. She won't go in the front door. They walk down the ramp to the parking garage and just as she's about to open the parking door with a remote control they start kissing in the dark. Fisk says it's never been so good. Even against the concrete. But a guy who'd been forced by economics to be with Simmons would feel that. And then the door opens and headlights hit them and he notices her gold tooth for the first time and they go up through the parking elevator and the apartment has an Indian carpet and a lot of big pillows. They make a bed with the pillows and they have to be really quiet and she says "I want you to know I don't normally do this." And Fisk knows this line well and knows to be really serious when it comes and just nod.

Next thing he knows its 5:30 and daylight coming over the satellite dishes on the highrises and people who work in Toronto coming out of the parking garage. Fisk figures he'll be home early enough if he leaves now. Turns out that Simmons is up. Doesn't even look up at Fisk coming in. Hardly answers to anything Fisk asks him. His notebook is just sitting there on the desk. Open. Four or five pages fanned up from how he presses the ink so hard with the ballpoint pens he writes with. Lying there with nothing else on the desk. He's got a bottle of wine and he's just sitting.

"Hi Fisk" he says. But distant. Once Fisk got out of the detention centre the same week as his pal Kosmo. Kosmo got on at the Asian fishmarket for parole cause Kosmo has culinary skills. And he'd give Fisk the fish heads they were just going to throw out. And they'd just lie there on a newspaper as Fisk sat at the bus station. The eye looking up at him. But Fisk says you couldn't look back into it. He says that's how Simmons looks when he walks in at ten to six.

Tries to get him interested in breakfast. Fries up some eggs but Simmons just picks at them. "I'm finished the Proof" Simmons says. But also he's thinking a lot about how the last Harry Potter book will be coming out and then there won't be any more. Its a lot of things ending for him. And Fisk tries to cheer him up by inviting Rafe and Rowena over. Simmons has been pretty keen on not having people at the university know about Fisk. Now he doesn't care what people know. Doesn't care period.

Fisk also asks if he can take the book over to the library and get it photocopied. For safety sake. Simmons's body just sort of shrugs into a "yeah whatever" answer only its not really a shrug cause he's large. His body dents and twists a bit like when you squeeze one of those stress balls.

Miriam helps with photocopying the rest of the book and talks really quietly because of the night before and her coworkers are looking at her which makes her talk even quieter and then look at her even more. Fisk is mentioning about how he's doing this dinner party for Simmons and his friends. And he says THAT'S a mistake cause Miriam is like "I wasn't invited to the dinner party" and she cries and has to find a place that isn't with Fisk and isn't with the co-workers and oboy Fisk is getting looks from the staff there. The energy of it PUSHES him out of the library like the wrong end of a magnet.

All during the dinner party Fisk is in the kitchen. He's had it catered. Yeah. Kosmo's back as the Greek food caterer he was meant to be. Brings in these appetizers that are wrapped up in cigar leaves. And then a moussaka and little squids and lots of wine. Rafe and Rowena are all awkward whenever Fisk comes in. They change the subject by talking about the Proof.

"You know, it's probably the most exciting thing to come out of this university. Haven't looked at it closely. But given where I know you've been going…" says Rafe.

"Mmm," says Rowena, "I'm worried the news will create utter havoc when it breaks. Westdale residents aren't all that keen on student celebrations. Math undergrads drunk in the street shouting "Were number one!"

You can tell Rowena's NOT in the math department and kind of sarcastic. Rafe laughs at this but Simmons is sort of in his own world and is drinking a bottle of wine all by himself.

"Oddly, the idea came from a pattern I saw in the discrepancies between the Harry Potter novels and the movies. Once I watched in the back row without glasses. I had to fill things in mentally, and account for huge ambiguities. A whole structure emerged."

"Sad there's no Nobel for Mathematics. That would go over well as an acceptance speech."

Rowena looks at Rafe like maybe they should lay off the jokes. They've left all these fishtails on the plate and when Fisk goes to collect them he gets an odd look from Rafe who picks up his own plate and takes it into the kitchen where Kosmo is preparing baklava. But it's how Rafe stares at Fisk. Like daggers. Smiling evilly. And he says: "Let me. I think you've done enough for one night."

Fisk is coming out of the library with the whole book of photocopies done. Runs into Rafe. In front of the Equestrian. "Fisk!" he says. A little TOO happy to see this guy he never talks to. But Fisk doesn't want to be rude and they go in and Rafe orders him a beer. Rafe takes the seat with his back to the door. Pinning Fisk in to the rounded booth. Under an old painting of a horse in motion which is the kind of theme they've got going at the Equestrian. Rafe looks up at the picture and says "That's actually a mistake. Galloping horses never have two legs straight forward like that. But that couldn't be verified before the advent of photography." Which kind of lets Fisk get his guard down. Like maybe this guy's OK. Fisk loves to gain this kind of knowledge. When he sees one of his kids and can teach the kid a bit about science. But then Rafe starts leafing through the Proof book and the stack of photocopies without even asking and looks at Fisk like he did that night of the dinner party. Then he says "Look. Why don't I come straight to the point. Ed and I have known each other since we were at Eton together. I think you're taking advantage of a very sensitive man. A man of great gifts and magnanimity, albeit one who daily battles crippling insecurities and bi-polar disease. A man who, incidentally, has NEVER come to terms with his sexuality. Personally I don't even believe you're gay—not that it matters one way or the other—I think you're a nasty little parasite out for whatever he can get."

Fisk has been called things like this before but hearing it is still not nice. "That's…um…here why don't I pay for the beer. If you're thinking I'm some kind of freeloader." He's reaching in his pocket for money that isn't there and Rafe says. "And what, may I ask, are we doing with these photocopies? I sinCERely doubt that you're intelligent enough to pass it off to a math journal as your own. Probably you have some half-baked notion of selling his manuscript to a collector."

Fisk has gotten past the element of surprise by now and says. "Actually Simmons wanted me to copy it. He didn't think it was safe to have just one copy. Like in case there's a fire. You keep one copy off-site."

Seems Rafe hadn't thought about this and he doesn't have an answer so he changes direction: "Listen. I want you out of his life right now. Believe me, I have connections and I can seriously mess you up. If I find you've done ANYTHING with this manuscript without his authorization I will make sure you NEVER work anywhere NEAR a university campus again." Rafe's jaw is moving back and forth nervously. Beads forming at his temple. Fisk can tell the guy doesn't make threats as a rule and that Rafe is actually scaring himSELF. Reminds Fisk of that guy who threatened to shank Kosmo when they were in the detention centre. REALIZING as he's threatening it he should maybe rethink this tactic. Kosmo with more connections than anyone there and next thing you know the threatener is in the infirmary. It actually occurs to Fisk that Kosmo might be a good guy to contact for protection. Kosmo swiped an awfully big bill on Simmons's MasterCard. He owes Fisk.

Fisk takes the proof book and the photocopy and leaves. The bartender is there and hands him another drawing on the way out. This time its the head of a weasel. And then Rafe's head in the exact shape of a weasel. Fisk drops it in a garbage can.

When Fisk gets back there's Simmons fast asleep in the chair in front of the computer with half a mugful of wine and an almost empty bottle and he's leaned back and snoring. His computer is up on SENT MAIL. Fisk notices a message from Rafe and pushes Simmons away from the desk, because even though he's large he's on casters. And when he opens it he's surprised. Its not like Fisk is taking advantage of Simmons. SIMMONS talks like he's taking advantage of FISK. There's a whole lot of stuff about math and Harry Potter and how he doesn't feel he can go on. But this part catches Fisk's eye.

…I feel like a Victorian Gentleman who's amused himself with some Strumpet whom he casts aside when he wants to return to respectability. It's not that I don't like Fisk anymore, I just don't like ANYTHING anymore. I'm Miserable, Miserable, Miserable. And this poor unfortunately soul will be tossed back in the street where he came from. And I loathe the fact that I can't acknowledge his existence to my colleagues. I all but typed "my friends" as though I had any friends other than yourself and Rowena, although I don't know how you can stand someone so pitiful…

It goes on like this. Fisk isn't sure about things here. He decides to go for a walk. Even though she shouldn't be home he buzzes Miriam's building. Turns out that she's home on a sick-day-for-mental-health. She's so sad because all her friends are saying Fisk is no good for her. She doesn't believe that but its so hard to live with the censure of your friends she says and she hates that she feels guilty about seeing him. She should be able to go places with him proudly. Poor Fisk. The LAST thing he wants is for people to feel bad about being with him. Its always the same. At first people get all excited being with him. Like his energy and good attitude rubs off. Then they get depressed and feel that he has unrepairable flaws that will infect them. And NOW its like their depression over him is infecting HIM and HE feels depressed. And then they feel MORE depressed because HE'S depressed. Fisk feels like a sad person standing between mirrors.

So this is where things get strange. Fisk and me tried to piece together the series of events a few weeks later when we were salvaging pipe at a demolition because after the trial run at Simmons's house we actually know how to use the Reciprocating Blade Saw without harm.

Here's what probably happened.

Simmons wakes up and sees that he's pushed back from the screen, and then when he goes to it and clears the HARRY POTTER AND THE LITHOGRAPHER'S STONE screen saver he notices that his E-mail to Rafe is open. He figures out Fisk has come home and seen it and that's just too much for him.

When Fisk gets back to the house the fire and police and ambulance are already there. Simmons had this honking big chandelier hanging from the high ceiling of the dining room which is the room he uses as his office. We figure he must have tied that yellow nylon rope around his neck cause that was lying around and then the chair on casters slid out on him. Anyway the chandelier is obviously bolted to a beam that puts pressure on the whole frame of the house and Simmons is a major weight and what goes is your weakest link. Which in this case is the rubble foundation right under it. Because like I said we weren't really up on the sealant and even at the time I thought we might of mixed the cement a bit watery. Anyway the whole back of the house all just WENT with Simmons hanging in its midst in air.

By the time Fisk got there the ER workers have all the shingles and boards and plaster off him but he's sort of buried in tiling and rubble up to his waist and his glasses are broken. Looking like someone you'd've dug up on 9/11. Not really screaming loud. More whining like something hurt on the road. And Ralph is there because I guess Simmons keeps his cell phone in his shirt pocket although why you'd call that guy rather than 911 I don't know. But maybe it was the only number programmed because like he said he doesn't have any other friend except Fisk who doesn't have a phone. Rafe's walking around saying: "Everything's Under Control." Which is something people only say when they aren't.

So our bad work saved him from strangling. See they get him out and he has some fractures and has to walk with canes. But they just report it as a home accident. Not to mention of the despair and the rope.

After he publishes the Proof the paper is all over the story and there's even a picture in the Equestrian that the bartender drew and framed. An eagle with sleek wings and Simmons's head and shoulders in the same shape. Both of them all noble. Bartender's been accepted to art school now and going in the fall. A guy who'll turn on people for a dime and buy them back if it's to his gain. Go far at university.

But here's where Fisk helped out. The book with the Proof wasn't anywhere to be found and it would probably be wrecked if they hunted for it. But Fisk had the photocopies off site at Miriam's. So Fisk gets interviewed for being a good amanuensis. And Fisk says he's not that at all "I just happened to think to take a copy and keep it at my GIRLFRIEND'S apartment." And so she's a bit famous too. Her workers and her have accepted that that's a role she fills. "It'll never work but GOD you make me laugh" she says to Fisk one time and kisses him hard. She still wants him to come up through the parking garage when he comes over. She's found him an extra remote.

And Simmons. He's on meds. And so he's able to be a bit more normal and talk to people at the Equestrian standing up on his canes and telling how the walls came down. He's kind of an attraction to people who go there now so that they have to move tables for him with all the circling around and public speaking he does. Saying stuff like. "It's not that I prefer the films to the books or vice versa; I just enjoy occupying the shadowy land between the two media." With the meds he has positive feelings about himself and people sense that and so he even managed to get a companion his own gender who works in the department and is definitely not like Fisk. But the Dr is keeping an eye on how he needs to get better before he goes off the meds. Simmons tells Fisk he might go off anyway. Cause he doesn't like the way they make him gain more weight. And also he doesn't get ideas for more Proofs on meds.

And maybe worst of all even though he's not depressed when he's on them he also can't get so excited about Harry Potter.

Mark Fenton lives in Hamilton and works in transportation logistics. He is the author Pim, a children's book for all ages. The eponymous Pim tweets daily @PIMSLIM_. A physical copy of Pim will be published soon and in the meantime Pim is available as a Kindle e-book which you can buy. Mark maintains a website at


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