funny_herman: (recline)
2008-04-12 11:44 pm
Entry tags:

Please Mr. Postman, look and see, if there's a letter in your bag for me

A letter from Herman, in response to this one, arrives at the Plaza Hotel in Boston the day after Danny and Frankie arrive.

Dear Frankie & Danny,

When I had asked for the both of you to write me letters, I didn't expect for you to write one together! That was probably the most entertaining letter I've ever read. Thank you!

And thank you for looking out for a good sailor or two -- I do admire a man in a uniform. (There's just something about the cut of their trousers.) You've made me long for the open sea with your adventure so far. It sounds as if there is much fun to be had on a ship: the people, the sights, the food. Did that gorilla-chef ever give you any more trouble? Hopefully not, as I would very much like to welcome Danny back home as I remember him: in one piece.

So, despite the small size of your cabin, you seem to have made the most of it. I can't think of anything else to do in such close confines than while away the time...perpendicularly. ...I imagine Uncle Leon had the same idea? Surely being on a ship with women from all walks of life is something close to paradise.

It's funny you should ask about any new additions to the Klub, as I was going to tell you straight away that Fritzie and Frenchie have returned. Can you believe it? I will let you take a few moments to allow this news to sink in.


Yes, it really is true!

The Emcee is especially glad to have them back, not only to fill the gaps in the stage company with you being away, but you know that he harbors some deep-seated affection for his wayward girls. They are none the worse for wear, I think, which is wonderful. Sometimes it feels as if they had never left.

And now comes the part where I tell you about things that, had you been here, you would have found out about even if I hadn't told you.

The moment Fritzie returned, she had sort of...set her sights on me. (You remember how she was, and she is still like that, so you don't have to worry there.) It rather started out as a game, really, playing around and flirting with me until I blushed to a crisp. I could flirt with her, too, but she always seemed to have the upper hand. Then there came the nightly dreams about her -- I don't have to explain what kind of dreams, do I? -- and I could not get her out of my mind. I will admit that I became infatuated with her, but not in the romantic sense of the word at all, as one might expect from me, I suppose. I simply wanted to know what it would be like to have sex with her. (Was that statement shocking enough for you?) And every time Fritzie and I found ourselves in the same space, the air between us was always electrically charged, as if one wrong (right?) move would send us colliding into each other in a ball of flames.

Well, it finally came to a head one day when I was trying to work at the piano. I was already distracted by thoughts of Fritzie when she appeared and joined me on the bench. And I can't exactly remember how it started, but... We ended up fucking on the piano. That was in fact the dream I had been having, you see, and I told it to her, but I didn't think she could be so...accomodating? She was sitting up on the keyboard and she had her legs around me, and each time we moved there came some random chord that seemed to echo our shouts. It was...quite poetic. Needless to say, our poor old piano received a workout that it most likely had been dreading since taking up residence in the Kit Kat Klub, but I can't say that I have any regrets. Fritzie was amazing.

And she's looking forward to your return.

And now, for some reason, the Emcee has set his sights on me. Oh dear.

With that in mind, I think I should end this letter here. Hopefully the both of you have had a lovely journey, and that Boston welcomes you with open arms. I will write again before Christmas!

Much love as always,
funny_herman: (piano)
2007-12-25 04:14 am

[timed to some weeks before christmas]

It was that time of the day when the Kit Kat Klub was at its emptiest and quietest, like a cold mausoleum containing the remnants of the revelries from the previous night. The only source of warmth and light that remained in it, though, was Herman, steadfastly working on musical arrangements to occupy his long hours of (mostly) solitude until evening.

As he worked away, wayward thoughts inevitably seeped in, his concentration becoming misty at the edges until a dense fog forced him to put his pencil down and stop what he was doing. He blamed himself for this relapse into semi-hermitism. If he would only relax and not keep to himself so much, this sort of thing would probably be easier to handle.

Those dreams about Fritzie had been waking him up again lately. They weren't unpleasant -- far, far from it -- but he could never seem to finish them without waking up. He wondered why they always ended so abruptly before the climax, and so he would have to finish the job himself. It was beginning to annoy him, in a petty, amusing way.

This is what he was contemplating at the piano instead of writing music, replaying dreams in his head and creating happy endings.

Quite engrossing.

[OOC: Plotlocked for Fritzie.]
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2007-09-09 12:46 am

(no subject)

She's sitting on the keyboard. She's not really supposed to be doing that. It's an old piano.

Notes... abrupt, jarring, discordant, all over the place.

All over me, all over her, all over each other.

- Be careful what you wish for, Herman dear.

Her skirt rides up to her hips, her hands grab at my hair. I'm pulled in and our mouths meet hard.

- Because I promise you, you'll get it.

My pianist's fingers reach between her dancer's legs and she sings out.

High heels dig into my back.

Buttons undone.

Notes... all over the place--

Oh dear God.

What...? Where...?


It's 4:00 a.m. and I'm wide awake now. It's cold...but I'm overwhelmingly hot.

Egads, that Fritzie.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2006-06-07 12:56 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Leona is back in Kost's life, and I could not be happier for them. But with Leona comes an interesting addendum -- a baby.

She was so tiny and so beautiful. She seemed to take to me right away when I held her. Maybe...maybe she sensed that I had missed out on holding an infant in my arms. Maybe she sensed that I had wanted to do that for what seems like a long time now.

I don't know why I so impulsively agreed to be a babysitter, but I suppose I just need that little empty part of my life filled in with something pure and innocent. ...I think she can actually help me.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-11-03 01:44 am

pools of sorrow, waves of joy

An odd night, to say the least. I have always believed in an afterlife, in ghosts and spirits, in ethereal beings and the supernatural in general. But even after working in a handful of old dance halls and theatres that allegedly had ghostly tenants, I had never in my life encountered one so...real...until tonight.

It was actually a pleasure to meet Frankie's brother, of whom she speaks so fondly... But I had to keep reminding myself that he is no longer on this Earth. No matter how real his apparition seemed, he was still gone. And he is gone, completely, now that he has found peace.


After closing down the club, I make a quiet exit to find some peace. I know that it still exists in Berlin in the wee hours of the night, when there is stillness and silence, where the shadows are not forbidding but embracing. And there is one place where my feet are leading me: church.

It is a modest, unassuming church run by a small sisterhood of nuns and one priest, and they leave the doors open for everyone at all times. When I arrive on their step at well after two o'clock, I find only two other people inside the dimly lit chapel -- a gray-haired woman kneeling in a pew near the pulpit, and a man doubled up in the back fast asleep.

The scent of incense, flowers, and candles pervades the air. I step softly on the well-worn marble floor as every little noise seems amplified by the close atmosphere. I walk down the centre aisle, my eyes raised toward the altar draped in a white shroud, and the old wooden crucifix looming above it on the wall. There are little orange votive candles surrounding a statue of the Virgin Mary. I light two of them, and then slide into the nearest pew to sit and think.

I have not been to a proper Sunday Mass since I was a child. I have not recited a proper prayer since... Well, that was not so long ago. Prayers never leave you. The words always come back.

I kneel on the cold floor, my hands folded over the back of the pew in front of me, and I bow my head. I move my lips, but only those in Heaven can hear me.

Vater unser im Himmel,
Geheiligt werde dein Name.
Dein Reich komme,
Dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern.
Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.*

I have never asked for much. I have never asked for what I feel I do not deserve, and even then, I have done without. I have many things to be thankful for already -- friends whom I love, friends who love me, a roof over my head and the means to live comfortably. But I ask You now...please, please let me know that the love of my life and our son are with You. I have faith that they are. I have faith that their souls are safe. But peace is what I seek. Peace is what I am asking for. I once was at peace, when she was with me. I once was at peace, when I heard her create music. I once was at peace, when I knew we were to bring life into this world. But no amount of love and comfort has been able to bring me peace after I lost her. I do not know what else to do but to ask You for the answer. Please hear my prayer.


I remain kneeling. My legs become numb and my shoulders sore, but I stay. An eternity is a long time, and it feels as if I have been in this position for just as long.

I finally raise my head and discover that my cheeks are damp. And then out of the corner of my bleary eye, I see two wisps of smoke slowly rising toward the Virgin Mary's bowed head. The two candles I had lit were extinguished although the rest are still burning. There is no draft in the chapel.

Coincidence. Mere coincidence.

I am strangely calm during my long walk home.

*Our father, who art in heaven... )
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-09-25 06:33 pm

July 18, 1933

It was a bright, sunny day with a gentle breeze in the air, unlike the day of the accident, and unlike the day the Maestra and their child were buried.

Herman walked up the gravel path just inside the cemetary gates, the sound of his shoes crunching on stones strangely dull and muffled in the open air. In his hand, he held two long-stemmed white roses tied together with a red ribbon. He set off in the direction of a single towering oak tree in the distance.

He hadn't told anybody where he was going today, except for Frankie. Not that it was a secret or anything -- he just didn't give people too many specifics. Just a reminder of what had happened a year ago.

And so with only Frankie keeping him company, he made his way down rows and rows of gravestones, most weather-worn, some gleaming and new. Some had flowers laid beside them, most had none. As Herman approached the tree, he could hear songbirds twittering in its branches. They hadn't been there a year ago.

The Maestra's grave was six plots east of the tree. But it was only one o'clock in the afternoon, and the tree's shadow had not yet reached the stone.

Herman knelt down and picked up the pair of dried roses he'd left on his last visit and replaced them with the fresh ones. He blinked a few times as tears came to his eyes, maybe because of the brightness of the white granite in the sunshine, maybe because of the sadness. After a few moments, he sat back on the grass and crossed his legs, holding the withered flowers in his lap. He looked up at Frankie and patted the ground beside him.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-07-03 06:26 pm


With Adam gone, the Klub remains its old, raucous self, while I dwell on the absence of one person. I tend to do that. It isn't as if his leaving will produce some catastrophic change in our daily and nightly routines. Still, he'd become a thread in this existence. A thread that unraveled and run itself out.

Ah, well.

Ophilia still has her Francine to take the sting off, I suppose. And Kost...? I don't know. Sometimes I cannot help but think that we have things in common, even if we don't speak to each other that much. Her temper when she's drunk leaves much to be desired, however. But she is often aloof, as am I. Love has brought her it has done so for me...

It was almost a year ago that I was the saddest I'd ever been. But I promise to not let my grief overshadow everything and everyone else.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-06-09 05:29 pm

(no subject)

It was a year ago that I was the happiest I'd ever been. We were going to have a baby, we were going to get married -- but neither event would ever come to pass. I like to believe that I have moved on since then, for the only alternative would be to sink into an endless, sorrowful depression.

I still mourn. I mourn every day. But I try to remember to not let it consume me. It has consumed me enough, and it was only with the help of my friends that I was able to build myself up again after crumbling so badly.

However, I still have weak spots. I don't think these cracks will ever heal. But I have no reason to complain about anything in my life today, because it is good.

Danny is back, and Frankie is glowingly in love (she probably thinks I can't see the difference in her demeanor onstage since Danny's return, but I can). Ophilia has been reunited with Francine, and their joy in each other's company is infectuous. I can only hope that Hans and Fantine are doing well while they're away...

The only person I really have not seen or spoken to in a while is Adam... And speak of the devil...
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-05-17 12:37 am

internal update

With Fantine away, Helga has taken up most of the cooking duties again, but that only puts a bit of a strain on the rest of the staff and the band -- which is almost threadbare, since Hans is with Fantine. And at this point, I am anxiously awaiting the day Danny gets well enough to come back and play.

In other affairs... I suppose some people might be surprised if they ever knew for sure what happened between Victor, Ophilia, and myself. They might think that it was unlike me. Not that I worry what other people think. Personally, I am thoroughly convinced that it was merely a matter of time.

Also, I cannot wait to see Ophilia's new home. I hope she invites us all for a housewarming party, or else we shall have to invite ourselves.

Well. Time to immerse myself in work.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-04-03 03:32 am

in action vs. inaction

And I also was a temporary condition remedied by the one thing that I admitted confused me. But now I also admit, and would be lying if I ever denied it, that I enjoy Victor's company.

That day after having a bit of wild sex for which I will have to repay him whether he likes it or not, and call me smug but he will like it spending quality time together, we went off to the café for a hearty breakfast, which we were both in dire need of. Then I took him along the streets I'd wandered before, darkened, shadowy lanes lined with nearly forgotten shops and boutiques. We even made a new discovery: a tiny music store, run by a jovial elderly fellow wearing a gray beard and a skullcap, that specialized in brass wind instruments and nothing else. A few shops over, we stopped into my new favorite bookstore, one that imports a variety of magazines from America, some featuring bathing beauties, others featuring (gorgeous) men who have nothing better to do than cavort about on sunny beaches. (As a little treat for Frankie, I bought a silly postcard.) And then we went here and there, chatted about this and that -- all in all, just a nice day out. I have not had one of those in a long time. It was good to get out instead of keeping holed up in my room or busying myself with work that could be put off.

Speaking of Frankie, she liked the cake, and so did Danny. However, she came downstairs later on with a bandaged cut on her finger, blaming it on picking up pieces of the accidentally dropped plate.

And speaking of band members currently taking time off from playing in the band, Hans is leaving for Switzerland with Fantine. It seems she has had a death in the family, the poor girl. I admire the boy for giving her comfort in a time like this, and even going the extra mile (several hundred miles, at that) to be by her side.

Well. As for me, I am feeling restless. There is a song in me that needs to come out onstage. But first, it must be perfected. ...And I have to find the pink feather boa Sally left behind.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-03-10 09:44 pm

Still in bed.

I can hear voices in Hans's room next door. One of them sounds like Adam's. Yes, that's his laugh.

I pull the covers up around my head and make no move to see how anyone is doing this morning -- and I feel selfish for it. After all, Danny came into the Klub last night bleeding from a knife wound, and Adam and Ophilia had escaped a fire that burned down their apartment.

Why do I suddenly feel as if I don't care? Or that I can't be bothered? I'm sure they're all fine. I did my part to help already, so there's no reason I shouldn't stay in today and continue to sleep.

This isn't like me. At all...

Victor confuses me. There. I admit it. If I could just be open with him about everything, why I keep holding back, then perhaps I can rest more comfortably. Easier said than done, as per usual.

I do care.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-02-05 04:33 pm

Her face is like an ancient cameo, Turned brown by the ages.

The book Danny gave me for Christmas has ushered me into the New Year with a new vision of what it means to live with one's soul bared. To be different in an unaccepting society, yet living fearlessly in its shadows, thus creating a light of one's own. A light for others to see and to follow, so that they may create their own pools of light, pockets of hope within themselves. It is your God-given struggle to exist as you were meant to be. To bare your soul. You bare it, and you bare it with defiance against everyone who says you should hide it.

For such a closed individual as myself, it is a lot to aspire to.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2005-01-11 01:09 am

A visit.

A tall man dressed in a tan overcoat stands at the foot of a grave. The winter wind whips his blonde hair about and freezes the trails of tears that streak his cheeks.

He'd been standing there motionless for the past twenty minutes.

When he arrived, he bent down on one knee to clear away the withered flowers, and to replace them with a bouquet of white roses tied with a red ribbon. He wiped dirt and debris from the name carved deep into the headstone. And he knelt there for a while, his hand splayed on a mound of dry soil, blades of brown grass between his fingers. Perhaps hoping to feel something. Anything. When he felt nothing but the earth beneath his palm, he stood up.

There he remains, standing at the foot of a grave. It answers no questions, although he listens for them. It brings no new life, although he offers it half-opened buds.

But the roses will wither again, the ribbon will blow away, dirt will encrust the stone that bears his love's name.

And he stands so still he can almost feel the planet revolve under his feet. He wishes it would stop, and turn backwards, so he could take that night back. A wish that goes ungranted.

Ten more minutes pass before he turns around, his hands in his pockets, and walks toward the gates, not bothering to wipe away his frozen tears.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2004-12-26 08:17 pm

Blue Christmas

Last Christmas, I received presents for two. Something for me, and something for the Maestra. When I brought them home, she was surprised but grateful that even though she had no time to visit the Klub, her old friends still cared about her.

It would have been a Christmas for three this year...but it's just me.

As I shop, I come across things that I would have bought for them. A journal with a blue leather cover, for when notes would strike her in the middle of the day. A handmade infant-sized pillow on which a sweet, elderly woman would have embroidered his name.

The woman asked me if there was anyone special in my life for whom she could customize one of her wooly, knitted items. I was about to say no, when I saw a black scarf with thin white stripes woven into it lengthwise. I picked it up and asked her if she could embroider the initials "FS" onto one end. She smilingly obliged and bade me to sit down to watch, if I wanted. I still had quite a bit of shopping to do, but I did sit down, and I observed as her knobby, leathery fingers begin to steadily knit the letter "F" with red yarn. She wanted to know if this "FS" was perhaps my sweetheart. I laughed and said no, that she was only a close friend.

Her conversation revealed to me that she was 76 years old, and had outlived three husbands, four children, and dozens of friends. She herself did not expect to see another Hanukkah, but she took comfort in the fact that she had lived through enough happy ones to last a lifetime. Though sadly, they are all but memories to her now.

When she was finished, I paid her a little extra, and she wished me a joyful Christmas.

The rest of the women on my list:
For Ophilia, a pair of red lace gloves. Maybe not very practical for winter weather, but I think they're sexy anyway.
For Fantine, a rather oversized hardcover book containing photos of works of art, both paintings and sculptures, from famous museums around the world.
I bought a nice rose earring and pin set for Dolores. The appearance of the delicate roses may seem less "severe" than she's used to, so I hope she'll like it.
For Fraulein Kost, a beaded anklet.
For little Helga, a silver bird pendant with a violet crystal.

And now, the men:
I found a jazz record for Danny, by a German group called Die Goldene Sieben [The Golden Seven].
Hans was a little difficult to shop for, but since I have not seen him with a warm hat, I decided to get him a tweed cap.
As for Adam, I thought he might like a stylish cigarette case.
I really had no idea what to buy for Victor, but I saw this print of a horn player and thought he might like to have it for his new room.

And with that, my Christmas shopping is done.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2004-12-26 06:37 pm

After hours.

With the last of the patrons gone, and after sending Danny and Frankie away to do their dirty work (they happily obliged), I remain downstairs in the Klub to close up.

I rather like the place after hours. One can still feel the energy that was once there just hovering in the air, gradually disspating like the cigarette smoke. It's quiet, except for the occasional squeaky floorboard beneath my feet, and the soft swish of the broom sweeping up the debris the evening's merrymaking.

Speaking of merrymaking, I think tomorrow morning I shall procure for ourselves a little Christmas tree. Perhaps some decorations as well.

And suddenly my head is filled with the swirling memories of past holidays, and everything that comes with this time of year. I can never really let go.

The sweeping done, I head backstage to shut off all the house lights, vaguely wondering where Victor had disappeared to, as he'd said he wanted to go over some sheet music.
funny_herman: (B-n-W)
2004-12-01 11:32 pm

The day after.

Danny's bed was not so uncomfortable after all... Now why on earth did I even doubt that?

I could not help but straighten things out a little, just a bit. Just some items on his table and on his dresser. That was all. And I made the bed even though I know full well that it will promptly be unmade once Danny returns.

On the way back to the Klub, I stop at a nearby café for a late breakfast of coffee and a danish. As I eat at a window table, I wonder if Fraulein Kost is all right. Should I pay her a visit? I highly doubt that she would be pleased to see me, of all people. I pass on the decision for the time being.

Hopefully Ophilia is feeling better today. Hopefully Frankie's neighbors were not kept awake all night. And hopefully Victor... Well, I'm not sure what I hope for Victor just yet. I try to keep from smiling as I think of his smooth American drawl. ...Quite honestly, it makes me want to melt.

Shaking myself free of all that, I finish my breakfast and leave the café. It is a brisk day and I walk quickly with my hands deep in my pockets. Upon arriving at the Klub, I push the door open, and the sound of piano notes hits my ears before they abruptly stop. I close the door and make my way through the room, shedding my jacket, and I see Victor alone on the stage.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2004-11-22 12:47 am

So much...

Well, this Halloween was certainly interesting. I think everyone's costumes were absolutely splendid. Perhaps the most ambitious was Dolores, who showed up as...Danny. And Frankie kept the Greek tradition alive by not wearing anything under her shift.

However, not everything was fun and games. Fraulein Kost was not in the best of spirits. Ophilia told me that something drastic had happened between them. I felt it was not my business to inquire any further, and I was sure that Kost was not about to tell me anything deeper regarding the situation. Instead she wanted to drink, which, of course, she was free to do. But in all honesty, I did not want her to get drunk. She had gotten ahold of the rum and nearly finished it before I knew it. And after that, things simply went downhill from there.

I should have known better not to tease her. Then again, I didn't even realize I was teasing her. I just wanted to find a way to get her to listen to me so I could take her home. I'm still sore from both her physical and verbal affronts. In fact, I think the verbal hurt more than the physical. And I don't think she believed me when I apologized. She was too drunk.

Fortunately, the evening was salvaged by the appearance of Victor.

Ahh, Victor. It was difficult not to flirt with him. And what a surprise it was for me when the flirting seemed to actually go somewhere. It could have led to something else had I not been dead tired, but I must remember that he himself is only just getting back on his feet.

How did a biologist from Montana end up in a nightclub in Berlin? I have no earthly idea. But hopefully he will stay for a while. I suppose that tomorrow we shall see how he can fit into our nightly stage production.

Ophilia has been rather ill all evening, so she is staying in my room tonight. I discreetly changed out of my costume in front of her. Sometimes I think I should not have to be so discreet with her.

I am spending the night at Danny's apartment, since he has attached himself to Frankie. And I do believe that something special was happening tonight, and that Dolores is involved, what with her having dressed up as our New York Yank, and Frankie's penchant for pinstripes, and Danny's penchant for anything female.

I must say...Danny really is a bit of a slob.

And his mattress has a slight dip down the center. No comment about that.

I don't mind the persistent scent of marinara sauce wafting up the stairs, though.
funny_herman: (B-n-W)
2004-10-31 05:24 pm

He steals from the rich, and gives to the poor.

A an array of clothing in varying shades of green and brown lies spread out on Herman's bed.

One by one, Herman puts them on, starting with a pair of forest green tights (that thankfully were available in his size); a lighter green short-sleeved button-down shirt made of a soft felt-like material; a dark brown kidskin tunic fastened by leather laces; and a wide, brown leather belt that fits snugly around his waist, including a sheath containing a fake, blunt-bladed dagger.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he pulls on a pair of calf-length boots, also made of dark brown kidskin, their scalloped tops folded down. He stands up and takes a few steps in them, satisfied with their fit. He then picks up a quiver of arrows made of burlap and leather stitching and slings it over his shoulder (the arrows are just wooden sticks with feathers on the ends of them -- they don't actually have points). Picking up a pointed hat, dark green in color and with a single bright red feather tucked in its band, he straightens it out and places it squarely on his head. He grabs a three-foot-long bow stringed with twine and slips that over his shoulder as well.

He observes his reflection in a mirror.

"Douglas Fairbanks, eat your heart out."

With a snicker and a shake of his head, he leaves his apartment and goes downstairs.
funny_herman: (Pic 2)
2004-10-28 09:25 pm

(no subject)

The best thing that has ever happened here in quite a while: Helga has returned. I have not felt this happy in so long... Just to see her face again was enough. She's changed a little bit, though, I think. But that could just be my imagination.

So, hopefully our little "family" will settle back into some sort of routine.

In the meantime, I have searched high and low for a Halloween costume. Last year's attempt at livening up the Klub was a success if I do say so myself. Maybe more patrons will come in dressed up as well.

I was a vampire...I'm looking for something not so gory this time...maybe something...heroic...? Hmm...

Ah...of course!

With my purchased bundle of clothing and accessories, I rush back to my apartment, grinning like an imp.
funny_herman: (Default)
2004-10-04 09:22 pm

(no subject)

Herman softly closes the door to Adam's room and heads down the hallway, looking for the nurse whose care he is under. He sees her pushing a cart laden with medical supplies into another room.

"Excuse me, nurse," he calls out.

She stops halfway into the room and turns to him. "Yes?"

"I'd like to speak with you about Adam Grant, if you have a moment."

Her agreeable face instantly turns sour. "What did he do this time?"

Herman shakes his head. "Nothing," he replies.

"Well, that's a surprise. He's hardly had a moment awake where he didn't need to be restrained."

He clears his throat. "Yes, well, he's under quite a bit of stress, as you can imagine. And when he's under stress, he tends to put others under stress. In addition, I don't think he's healing as rapidly as he should -- because of this stress. Now, wouldn't you agree that if he were treated more pleasantly, he'd recover faster? And that the faster he recovers, the quicker he'd be out of here? And then you wouldn't have to deal with him anymore. It's all quite logical, don't you think?" He ends this with a warm smile.

When she still expresses doubt, he presses on. "I'm not saying that you yourself or any of the nurses or doctors have to enjoy yourselves completely in his presence. I'm only suggesting that the less you aggravate him -- no matter how much he aggravates you -- the faster he heals. And that, my dear woman, is the main point of my whole argument. Because he wants out of this hospital just as much as you want him out."

She appears to mull this over. And she can't help but fall under the influence over his nearly hypnotic tone of voice and those glacier-blue eyes. After a few moments, she says in a low, thoughtful, yet wary tone, "I'll consider this." And she pushes her cart into the room.

Herman sighs, and proceeds down the hallway.