Mr. Fast is a lonely, envious clerk who works in Lamb Square (London) for a dull lawyer. He was a very knowledgeable when it came to trade, a devious man who could lure unwary men into contracts or agreements that suited Mr. Fast very well. Mr Fast lived in Highbury New Park where he had rooms on the ground floor; he had a respectable and furnished place of living. Most nights when he got back from work he would sit in one of his tomb like armchairs and have a glass of port. Sometimes he would dream about the wealth he would love to possess, of ruling over all that were superior to him at the current time.
In the basement of the flats lived an old man called Dr Herz, on a certain date this Dr Herz had died and he was buried. After the burial an elderly man by the name of Mr Fishbane had moved in. Mr Fast was very curious about this new arrival and one night after work Mr Fast went to investigate, however after being caught he withdrew hastily. According to Mr Fast, Dr Herz residence had a bad smell to it but this was this was nothing compared to Mr Fishbane. Mr Fishbane it seemed was fond of beetroot, so much so that the smell of it nearly drove Mr Fast mad.
None the less Mr Fast somehow did not hate the old man, whenever they passed in the street Mr Fast didn’t completely ignore him, but always gave a courteous nod. The reason for this caution was property; Mr Fast had checked the listings at the law firm he worked for and the name ‘Fishbane’ had not appeared, so therefore according to the city no man by the name of Fishbane existed. At Dr Herz’s funeral, both Mr Fast and Fishbane were there and both agreed on the fact that his death was tragic and abrupt, when Mr Fishbane appeared Mr Fast was the opinion that Mr. Fishbane was a religious man.
After the funeral both men departed; Mr Fast was deep in thought about who Mr Fishbane really was and in the end he concluded that he was an eccentric millionaire. One day in October Mr Fast was coming back from Lamb Square carrying with him a glass decanter which he had recently acquired. He felt he had got good value for the money he had spent on the decanter, so at present he poured the port he always carried into the decanter. When he neared his place of residence he saw that Mr Fishbane’s light was not on. Mr Fast thought this very unusual as Mr Fishbane’s light was always on.
Mr Fast made up his mind in an instant, he crept forwards to the door of the basement were Mr Fishbane lived and pushed it open and there was Mr Fishbane holding an oil lamp… Chapter 2 Mr Fishbane invited Mr Fast, and Mr Fishbane said how good it was for him to have some company. However there was not a trace of mockery in the old man’s voice. Mr Fast nodded quickly not wanting to look awkward. Mr Fishbane looked at the decanter with port in it and gasped and thanked Mr Fast for bringing such a generous gift. Mr Fast nodded again this time looking annoyed.
He looked around him and found himself in an unfurnished basement flat, everything was old and there was not a home to speak of. There were a couple of pictures hanging on the wall, and Mr Fast walked over to one of these, interested to see how much they were worth. Mr Fishbane had gone out of the room to get some kind of food; at this point he came back into the room carrying two steaming mugs and commented that the picture were of most sentimental value. He passed one of the mugs to Mr Fast and crumbled a biscuit into his own. Mr Fast sipped it and found out that the soup was quite pleasant with nourishment to it.
Throughout the course of the meal Mr Fast found out that Mr Fishbane used to be in the Insurance industry but had retired, however he did of business whenever he wasn’t busy. After the soup they had some port and toasted to good business deals. After a glass of port the old man got quite affected he grew quite sentimental and affectionate and started calling Mr Fast, Dennis (which was Mr Fast’s first name) or Sonny, Mr Fast was at first wondering who Mr Fishbane was calling Dennis, then he realised it was him. Time went by and the Mr Fishbane became quite drunk. Mr Fast starting court jokes, and as Mr Fishbane didn’t get them, he sang a song.
Mr Fast was quite was quite pleased with himself as social hit with this old man, he thought if he could just persuade Mr Fishbane to drink more port he could use gentle persuasion for the old man to give him some money. Mr Fishbane controlled his thoughts and tried to turn the conversation to money. But at very moment Mr Fishbane said that he would like to give Mr Fast something and asked him what his hearts desires were. Mr Fast’s heart missed a beat because of joy and coincidence. Mr Fast trying to contain his joy politely refused, but the old man insisted and asked didn’t he want to get rid of his loneliness and envy?