Viggo

I was sitting in the scriptorium the other day with a pair of tweezers balanced on a fucking hair stuck between two papyrus fibers when I heard someone running up and down the hall outside the door like a herd of fucking elephants. It’s a monastery; people are supposed to be quiet, aren’t they? For contemplating God or some such bullshit? Yeah, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, Brother Viggo happens. Viggo is an autistic guy who has been living at the monastery for about a decade. When his parents were alive they used to bring him here to talk to the monks about their books and manuscripts because even then he had a passion… Well, I don’t know that you could even call it a passion. He had an obsession with medieval texts. Not how they look, because he doesn’t give a fuck about the pictures. He knows the language, the grammar, the structure and vernacular of various regions in medieval Europe, and an understanding of the literature that was floating around.

To say that his knowledge of these subjects is encyclopedic is an understatement. He makes Q seem like a snot-nosed kid with a plastic microscope. He is what they call “moderately high-functioning,” which means basically that he can feed and dress himself, wipe his own ass and pretty much¬†take care of himself, but not well enough to get by in polite company or Denny’s. So when his parents’ plane fell out of the sky (way to go, God, you asshole) and the state wanted to send him to some institutional home for droolers, Father Mo made a bid to be his guardian. After a big outpouring of community love bullshit, the state agreed.

Viggo thrives on routine and rules. He’s not particularly spiritual, but he follows the letter of the law here at the monastery. Although he’s a sweet guy, he finds it¬†disturbing when anyone steps out of line. Even worse is the fact that he can’t keep a secret, and he can’t lie. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, seriously. Once, he came out of the bathroom before dinner and after a few minutes started sweating and rocking back and forth, and pounding his hand on the table. A minute later he jumped up from the table and ran off while screaming, “I DIDN’T WASH MY HANDS! I HAVE SHIT ON MY HANDS!” Turns out he was experimenting with keeping a secret because he knows full well it’s bizarre to us, but poor Vig just couldn’t do it. Dinner was a bit of a let-down that night.

Anyway, he is the last person on earth we can let in on what we’re doing with the fake manuscript business, but he’s actually a lynchpin in this operation. The subterfuge we resort to in order to get his help is nothing short of desperate at times, but so far he doesn’t seem to suspect anything. Vig is a good guy, and I feel bad that we’re using him like this. I mean, it would be so much more fun if he was in on it like a good joke, but something tells me that if he knew, not only would the authorities descend on us like an ass-kicking angel from on high, but it would fuck up Vig’s entire world. And that would really suck.

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