‹ Prequel: Frank Iero: P.A.

Gerard Way: Artist


For the past two months I've been finding myself unusually shocked every day. All my previous P.A.'s have been beyond useless, and Frank isn't that fantastic either, but somehow what I want gets done. His background check proved positive, although he has only held one job before... for a day... but there were no criminal infractions the investigator could find, so all in all, not a bad trade off.

I don't praise Frank for his work because I don't want him to get complacent with this job or with me. Ellie was right, though, I do like him the more I spend time with him. We've developed a good back an forth over his time here and sometimes I actually enjoy coming into the office just so I can talk with him.

“You’re late, Frank,” I say bluntly as he runs past me into his office with a piece of toast hanging out of his mouth like an idiot. I'm still annoyed with his tendency to be tardy.

He looks at me apologetically. “Sorry.”

“Perhaps if you didn’t say up until 4 a.m. watching a Flintstones marathon you might get into the shower before seven forty-five, and you might be able to make it into the office by eight o’clock instead of,” I glance down at my gold Rolex, “eight-twelve.”

“It won’t happen again,” he lies.

I am very much aware that we'll have the same issue again on Monday following the Jetson’s marathon on Sunday night. The TV guide has eight episodes scheduled back to back. I find myself checking the guide a lot lately, so much so that I have been able to predict the days Frank will be late as if it were an exact science.

My attention is focussed on Frank as he organises himself for the day. All it is is him shuffling papers around until he can find a pen. I roll my eyes; at the very least, Marty kept his desk organised. The latest issue of Gough Paint, a high end art magazine, has been dropped on top of the low filing cabinet. I start flicking through the pages until I feel I might be able to get a straight answer out of Frank.

“What’s on the agenda for today?” I ask.

“Uh...” Frank shuffles some of the papers around until he uncovers my large, leather bound appointment book. “NY Arts Magazine is ringing at ten o’clock for an interview about your latest collection, those people are coming to steam-clean all the carpets at ten-thirty, there’s a truck coming at one o’clock to pick up those pieces for the MoMa, and you need to confirm that special exhibition for The Met by closing time tonight.”

I inwardly grown. For some odd reason, I had high hopes of a quiet day, although those are often few and far between.

“So a peaceful day then?” I ask mock-seriously. I realise instantly that kind of remark is far too casual, and give him a hard glare to cover myself. “Well? Get to work; you’re already fifteen minutes behind schedule.”

I head back into my own office through the French doors. I tried several times to have curtains installed for them so I had more privacy while Marty was around, but due to his many failings as a personal assistant, it was something the never eventuated. Now that's Frank has taken his place, I'm not entirely certain I want curtains after all. There is a stack of papers on my desk from yesterday I've been meaning to read, however considering the text message I received from Mikey earlier today, I'll leave them for a while longer; he's not doing too good.

As expected with anyone who suffers from cancer, he has his good days and his bad. Today, sadly, is one where he finds himself constantly clinging to a bucket and drifting in and out of slumber. Alicia, his wife, wants me to come by later to pep him up.

The first thing I want to deal with is The Met. They've been after an exclusive exhibition from me for close to a year, so I finally bit the bullet after eight months of daily – sometimes twice-daily – phone calls. It was not even half organised when I fired Marty, and as a result it has meant I've had to continue negotiations on my own. Ordinarily I would make people stew for as long as possible before I give them an answer on anything, but I just want this thing finished, so I dial the number for The Met.

“Hello, Evan,” I say when the curator I've been dealing with answers, “it's Gerard Way.”

“Hi, Mr Way, how have you been?” he asks. I can hear him typing away on his keyboard, so I know he really has no interest in how I've been at all.

“Evan, forget the small talk, let's just discuss the business at hand.” I don't give him the time to reply. “I've read the contract, my lawyer has read the contract, and it seems apt, however, I'm not allowing you to show my work for six weeks.”

“But Mr Way, all our exhibitions have a minimum display time of six weeks – that's how we are able to draw people in,” he counters.

“I'm sure it can't have escaped your attention that a sizeable portion of my income is made through private sales. My work being on display for such a lengthy period of time means people will simply pay the admission at your gallery rather than me to experience my work because they know you charge far less for it than I do. That affects my income, Evan.”

“But we're giving you exposure, Mr Way, which will encourage people to seek out your work for their homes, thereby making you more money in the long run,” he argues, his tone rising slightly.

I laugh. “The people who go to you instead of directly to me couldn't afford my work.”

He sighs audibly; I can feel him weakening. “What is the maximum time you'll give us?”

“Three weeks.”

“Gerard, that's absur–”

“–three weeks, no more, no less, Evan,” I tell him firmly.

“Can you give me some time to talk to my colleagues, see if they'll agree to your terms?”

I smile to myself, knowing victory is on its way. “I'm sure they'll see it my way if they're so desperate to showcase the latest headline in art culture. I'll expect to hear from you by 3 o'clock.”

I put down the receiver, not allowing him the opportunity to plead his case further. Evan has been rather good to work with, but I told him right from the beginning that I had no interest in being in The Met for more than a few weeks.

It's coming up for 9 o'clock, when my day officially begins, so I bring up my database on the computer to see where I'm up to with my sales. I barely get the file open before I hear Frank shuffle into my office. He places several pieces of paper on my keyboard.

“Leslie Feely Fine Art wants to buy some of your French Art to sell in their gallery, and a request for a new piece,” he announces.

I slide the papers back to him; neither of them interest me. “You know I don’t do requests.”

He slides them right back to me. I'm not impressed by his defiance and let him see it.

“It’s from a boy who’s in hospital; he has leukaemia,” he explains. “You’re his favourite artist and he’s dying – I thought you could make an exception.”

That sentence sparks something in me, knowing there is a small boy out there suffering from the same thing that is tearing my brother apart. I almost fold, but I remember how important my policy is to me; it keeps me on track.

I keeps my eyes firmly fixed on Frank for a few seconds, glance to the door, and then back to him so he knows I want him to leave. “I don’t do requests, Frank.”

He takes the hint and leaves, but the papers are left on my desk. The email from the boy catches my eye. There's a drawing that has been embedded in the email, showing him with IV leads coming out of his arm. It sickens me to the core, and I know I can't just throw this one away. That stupid email from Leslie Feely Fine Art, however, belongs no where else but in the trash. I scrunch it up and toss it away, smiling slightly when the paper ball rebounds off the wall and lands in my trash can.

My phone buzzes when the clock strikes nine, alerting me that it is time to work in the studio. I prefer to be anywhere but in my office, where my phone rings incessantly; I'm far more productive behind an easel than a desk. Frank's eyes are trained on me as I make my way through his office out into the hallway. He is angry that I seemingly rejected that little boy, but I could care less what he thinks.

Actually, that is a lie. For some odd reason, I do care what he thinks. I'm mildly impressed he had the courage to stand up to me on something like that; he knows my policy on not doing requests. If I get through all the work on my list today, I might find time to put something together for the kid.

As my work gets under way I find myself bored with the landscape I'm doing. When I was walking through one of the high-end areas of New York several weeks ago I found myself in front of this incredible house, shrouded with beautiful trees and shrubbery that looked highly out of place amongst the concrete jungle. I was inspired, and once I returned home I got straight to recreating it. Frank contacted the owner of the house on my behalf and informed them of what I was doing. Naturally, they wanted to buy it from me once it was complete. For the money they were offering, I was glad to oblige. It would cover Mikey's next chemotherapy session easily.

Today, however, I just can't gather the necessary interest to keep going with it. My sketchbook on my desk calls to me, and I find myself taking hold of it and flopping down on my leather chaise lounge. I flip it open to the next blank page and begin drawing.

After two hours there is a complete comic staring back at me. It's a simple six panel design about a child superhero who suffers from leukaemia. Not only can he fly, but he has super strength, which is powered by his chemotherapy sessions. In this comic, the evil Dr Cosmos has taken control of Earth and has sent the planet hurtling towards the sun. Cancer Kid uses his super strength to push Earth out of the path of danger, saving the human race from a cataclysmic demise. The people of Earth then celebrate Cancer Kid by hoisting him above his shoulders and cheering. The underlying message of it all is that suffering from cancer makes you stronger so you can handle anything.

I leave a message for the boy beneath the comment.

Thanks for believing in me. I believe in you.
xo G

I tear the page from my scrap book and place it in a manilla folder, jotting down the address on a separate piece of paper. I check my watch for the time; by my calculations, Frank should be in the office now continuing to brood over my apparent rudeness earlier. As he'll be doing nothing productive, I'm sure he'll be able to find the time to mail this to the hospital for me.

The house is quiet as I make my way along the landing to the marble staircase. I'm about to head down when Ellie comes out of Frank's room with a mop and bucket.

“I want to speak to you, Gerard,” she says, shaking said-mop at me vigorously.

I wipe several droplets of water from my hand. “Don't shake that dirty thing at me.”

She waves me off with her free hand. “Frank looked very annoyed when I saw him earlier. What did you do?”

“There are a thousand and one things that happen every day in this house, Ellie, what makes you think I'm responsible for whatever has put him in a bad mood?”

“Don't you be smart with me. Make him feel welcome here, Gerard, or you just might lose the one assistant you've ever liked,” she says firmly.

She takes herself back into Frank's room. It is starting to concern me just how protective of Frank Ellie can be, especially considering her reluctance for me to hire him in the first place. I love Ellie; she's been more of a parent to me than either of my biological ones. As a result, I trust and respect her opinions, but she forgets that my life is also a business and I need to keep it as professional as I can.

When I finally reach Frank's office, I drop the folder on his desk

“Mail that off to this address,” he tell him while I hand him the piece of paper with the address on it.

There is too much work left in the studio for me to stay longer, so I head back out into the hallway. If I work right through to five-thirty I should be able to get over to Mikey's place before he goes to bed for the night. I'm about halfway up the stairs when I get called back by the sound of Frank's voice.

“What made you change your mind?” he asks me.

So, it took him all of 30 seconds to open that folder. I'm mildly impressed he chose to get onto that task so quickly. I suppose for that he deserves the truth, or at least as much of the truth as I'm willing to divulge.

I continue to climb the stairs so I don't need to look at him. “I liked the way the idea was pitched to me.”


The second I got back to my studio I absorbed myself in work. I didn't take a break for lunch, and the Ellie's sympathetic gesture of freshly baked cookies and coffee was left forgotten by the door. I manged to complete two of the pieces on my long list of work to complete, and made strong progress with a third piece for a private buyer. I would have liked to start a fourth piece, but doing so would prevent me from visiting my brother.

I make my way down to the front hallway. My clothes may be a bit formal for this evening, but I Mikey and Alicia will understand. The door to Frank's office catches my eye as I near it. I keep walking, but part of me feels compelled to speak to him. I'm almost at the front door when I change my mind and back-track.

He's already looking at the door when I enter (he must have heard me coming). There's something about him that has him looking very sexy this evening. I imagine he's been raking his fingers through his hair a lot today to give it that scruffy, dishevelled look. I mentally wipe those thoughts away and apply all my attention to fixing this cuff of my shirt so it doesn't cover my Rolex.

“I’ve got plans for this evening,” I find myself revealing to him. It's more than he needs to know. “If there are any other calls tonight, you know what to do.”

“Tell them to fuck off?” he asks, raising his eyebrows in question.

In my mind of laughing, but my face doesn't give me away. “Exactly.”

I study him for a moment. He really does look incredible, and I want to tell him where I'm going and why.

I shake my head; I need to get out of there before I say too much. “Goodnight, Frank,” I say softly.

There's a chill in the air when I make my way outside. Usually I take public transport when I visit Mikey, but there are dark clouds rolling in overhead, suggesting a storm is on it's way. I sigh and walk around the back of the house to the garage where my Maserati is parked. It roars to life when I turn the key, the sound resembling an aeroplane taking off.

The drive to Mikey's apartment takes about 20 minutes as I hit the peak hour traffic. I tempted to invest in one of those eco cars that is the size of a large dog and runs purely off electricity, just so I could change lanes faster and save money on gas. The elevator ride up to the third floor of his building is quick for once, thankfully. Usually I end up riding with the elderly man who lives on the floor below them. I've been told he's starting to lose is memory, so he rides up and down in the elevator, stopping at each floor, to help him remember which level his apartment is on.

“Thanks for coming, Gerard,” Alicia greets me when I enter the apartment. I've had a key since the day they moved in and have never once knocked on the door to gain entry.

Mikey is sprawled out on the corner sofa. There's a sickening aroma on the air, which I'm gathering is coming from the bucket on the floor beside my brother.

“Hey, Gee,” Mikey croaks. His face is paler than usual.

“Bad day?” I ask.

“It could be better,” he concedes, “but it beats the alternative.”

I walk over to him and take a seat beside his head. “Which would be?”

“Not having chemo and lying in a padded coffin somewhere.”

Somehow, he keeps a small smile about him, but the statement stabs at my heart. It's hard to think about my little brother succumbing to this disease, but sadly it is always a possibility we have to consider.

“It won't ever come to that,” I reply, saying it as much for myself as for him.

“What ever happens, happens Gee, but I'm sure you're... right...” he says slowly. “You might w-want t-to step back...”

He lurches forward just as an off-white liquid spills from his mouth, thankfully landing in the bucket. The smell is awful, but I shift closer and rub his back as shutters with the force of his reflux. He gasps for air several times before vomiting once more.

“Just get it all out,” I say to him.

After a couple of minutes he has composed himself and reclined back against the back of the sofa. Alicia brings him a glass of water and places a kiss on his forehead as I carry the bucket to the bathroom. It takes a lot of control on my part to not vomit myself as I tip the contents of the bucket into the toilet. I spray some air freshener to lessen the smell.

Alicia has braced herself against the kitchen bench by time I make my way back to the living room. She looks exhausted.

“Hey sweetie,” I say gently.

Her eyes have tears in them when they meet mine. I hold out my arms and she falls into them, defeated. Her body shakes against mine as she cries silently. The tears in my eyes get blinked back, just so I can be strong for her.

“It's just been so hard today, watching him struggle to fight. There isn't even anything in his stomach to throw up, you know,” Alicia tells me. “I haven't been able to get him to eat at all since breakfast yesterday.”

I stroke her back and kiss the top of her head gently. “He'll be better in a few days, just like always.”

“But then he has his next chemo session and will go right back to being like this,” she retorts.

Alicia steps back and wipes at her eyes harshly. She manages to fix a bright smile to her face. It surprises me how easily she can do that.

“I need to be strong for him,” she says.

And I need to be strong for the both of them.

“I'll stay tonight,” I promise her.

Her eyes start to water again. “Thanks, Gee. Really... you being around here helps.”

We hug once more and both walk back into the living room. I rush to Mikey just as he clutches at his mouth, trying to hold back vomit. I reach him with the bucket just as the liquid starts to break free of his fingers. He coughs and splutters. This will be a long night.
♠ ♠ ♠
Hey there everyone!

Another Friday, another chapter :)

Nothing much to report this week, however I am going to see Gerard Way live tomorrow in Sydney, so that will be nice. Or sad. Or both. Most likely sad. But still a chance of being both.

I'll be back in a week with another chapter. Don't forget to comment.

Coming up in Gerard Way: Artist...

“Hi Toby,” I say, without an ounce of affection. “What do you want?”

He fakes a gasp. “Is that anyway to speak to your life companion?”

We've been together three months. Sure, it feels like a lifetime – an extremely long, torturous one – but I wouldn't call him my “life companion”.