Ron Ogórek tiptoed away from his daughter once her eyes were fixed to the TV screen. The calm that came over her when she stared into LED was so intense that he was sure in that state Jane could learn differential equations or ancient Chinese; yet mostly she watched Arthur reruns and YouTube videos about historical fires. (Currently, a documentary about the Chicago fire of 1871.) Sometimes he thought he was a bad father for letting a fire fixation fester in her, but nothing soothed her like holding a screen and staring into flames.
Since I commissioned myself to edit “The Reporter” and bring it up to the public standard, this project has been fraught with an irremediable knowledge of tragedy. Not simply for the obvious — for the purported author’s disappearance in the flower of youth — but also for the loss of the so-called Blackchapel manuscript and its replacement by what appears to be a corrupt and anonymous forgery uncovered in a Montreal bookshop. Devoid of literary and artistic merit and rife with postmodern ribaldry, low-life non-sequiturs, rascally red herrings, and Trotskyist leers, the story you hold in your hands, now in edited form, is the remnant of the semi-autobiographical tale of the reputed illegitimate grand-nephew of naturalized American polymath and superhuman John von Neumann.