The Fishmonger Returns

Edward Longshanks fought fires, but was Edward Longshanks a firefighter? He was not. Edward Longshanks was a fixer. He was a cleanup man. He was a slate cleaner. He was an operative.

Published March 12, 2004 10:40PM (EST)

On a bright day in August, from Rock Island, came a cold wind, a stinging, ruthless wind full of purpose and pain, and riding that wind was Edward Longshanks, wearing a pair of pinstriped suit pants, a blue sport coat, and under it the same Poi Dog Pondering shirt he'd been sporting for eight consecutive days. He'd left his Chicago apartment a week ago, meaning to make a one-day trip to Aurora and back, but he found himself called to fight fire after fire, from Galena to Waukegan to Mattoon, and now here he was, too many days later, without a change of clothes, smelling as if he'd been rolling in dead deer and fruit.

The rest of this story is no longer online, but does appear in the book "The Unforbidden Is Compulsory, or Optimism."

By Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers is the author of "You Shall Know Our Velocity" and "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius."

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