(ONE-SHOT) Gerard notices that Frank has been acting strange for a while. In his quest to find out just what the man is up to, he discovers that Frank has a big, shameful secret he has been hiding...
For the past few months Frank had been leaving band practice early. He hardly ever attended any kind of band activity unless necessary, and more often than not, he refused to hang out with his friends. For Frank, this kind of behavior was very unusual. Usually he was the first person to set up a small party, and he was always very eager to take part in interviews and photoshoots.
Not only that, but Frank’s bathroom breaks became extremely long, as did his cigarette breaks. On tour he demanded a small private chamber at the back of the bus, which no one else was to enter, not even to clean (as if anyone would have cleaned it anyway). And even when he was present, it was only on the physical level, with his mind flying high somewhere unknown.
When Gerard first began to notice this change, he dismissed it as a phase. Frank simply had something else on his mind, and it would be fine, he would talk about it to the rest of the band when he’s ready. But he never mentioned anything, only became more and more secluded from the rest of the group.
One day, Gerard couldn’t contain his curiosity anymore. After practice, when Frank delivered his usual excuses as to why he could not possibly accompany them to the bar for drinks, Gerard decided he would find out what this big secret was. He just had to know what the man was hiding.
Eyes covered by large sunglasses and a large tan trench coat, borrowed from his wife of course, Gerard set out to follow Frank. He followed the short man through the 4 o’clock crowd on the streets of Newark, where they had their band practice, to a narrow, dark alleyway between two very shady and broken down looking buildings in the poorer side of the city.
Gerard crouched down behind a trashcan that smelled like rotten fish and old, used hygiene products a woman might use monthly. Trying to ignore the stench, Gerard peered at his friend, who was standing nonchalantly next to a fire escape ladder. A stray cat brushed past Frank, meowing demandingly, rubbing her sides against Frank’s legs. He pulled out a piece of fish from his bag and offered it to the cat, which let Gerard know that this was not the first time he was hanging out in this alley.
A variety of thoughts crossed Gerard’s mind. Frank could be a prostitute, he could be involved with the mafia, or he could even be a drug dealer or something like that. The mystery only deepened when a big hooded man whose face Gerard could not see approached Frank. Without even saying two words to the man, Frank dug out a tuft of money from the pocket of his jacket, and the man handed him a paper bag.
Drugs, Gerard realized with a gasp. Frank was buying drugs from this man, and he wasn’t sharing any of them with Gerard! How rude! Gerard thought of simply stepping out from behind the canister of decomposing food and god knows what else and confronting his friend, but thought against it when Frank tugged the collar of his jacket up to shield his face and continued his journey. No, he would have to follow this through. That bag may contain drugs, but by the way Frank was acting, Gerard was certain there was something else going on as well.
So his curiosity left him no other options than to follow the guitarist as he made his way through Newark. Gerard was about to throw in the towel just when they finally arrived at what seemed to be Frank’s destination.
Frank stood by the door, once again looking very nonchalant, but the nervous glances around him made it very clear that he was not supposed to be there. Gerard didn’t understand why. Frank took one last scan of the street, and when no one seemed to pay any attention to him, Frank quickly slipped into the building through the small back door instead of the large front doors. Gerard swiftly followed him, and stuck a foot between the door and the wall so it wouldn’t shut on him, and to his luck, Frank hadn’t stayed to make sure the door shut behind him.
The corridor was dark, so Gerard had to remove the sunglasses. It smelled like urine and eggs in there, and Gerard was certain that after being contaminated with the wonderful scents of this corridor and the trashcan, his wife was seriously going to make him sleep on the couch tonight. A short, dark flight of stairs took Gerard to a well-lit corridor, where he just managed to see Frank slip behind one of the doors that were scattered around the corridor.
For a moment Gerard stood to collect his breath. Was Frank a compulsive gambler and the bag contained fake money? Was this some kind of a sex orgy and the bag was filled with vibrators? Perhaps Frank kept a flock of slaves in that room, and pumped them full of drugs and then had his way with them? None of those seemed very likely a scenario, but still Gerard felt nervous. Now he was doubting this whole decision to figure out Frank’s secret. Wasn’t he entitled to his own life as much as anyone else? Of course he was, Gerard decided. But if this secret really was a drug addiction or something of the sort, and Frank simply felt trapped and didn’t know how to tell anyone about his problems, then this intrusion could be a good thing.
At least, that’s what Gerard convinced himself when he gathered the courage to open the door and braced himself for the worst.
What he saw was more horrible than anything he could have ever imagined. Frank was sitting by a table, surrounded by a group of women. No, these women were not prostitutes. And Gerard doubted it was a sex orgy either way, unless Frank really was attracted to 60 year old women wearing knitted sweaters with pictures of kittens frolicking in meadows of flowers on them.
“Gerard!” Frank shouted in surprise, standing up when he noticed his friend. A tint of red now covered the man’s face, and clearly he was ashamed to have been caught in this very embarrassing situation.
Gerard could not comprehend the rolls of yarn spilling out of the paper bag, nor the half-finished scarf hanging from the gray sticks in Frank’s hand. “Frank... What is going on?!”
Filled with shame, Frank looked at the floor around his feet and tried to come up with a lie that would explain everything. Eventually he broke down. “Oh, Gerard! I tried so hard to keep you out of this! I am so ashamed you had to find out like this!” He paused dramatically and then held the unfinished red and blue scarf in front of him as evidence. “I knit,” he admitted, as if the confession burned his very soul.
“But I don’t understand... All the secrecy... I followed you! What about that man in the alleyway and the bag and the money?” Gerard stammered. He had completely forgotten about the elderly women who were listening their exchange of words intently.
“He was my dealer,” Frank explained, sighing. “I could not go to a store to buy string on my own, lest I get caught, so I hired him to be the middleman. He doesn’t know my identity, and no one knows my secret. Except for you, Gerard,” he said, now looking up at Gerard with pleading eyes. “These women took me in when I was feeling insecure. I... I have enjoyed knitting since I was young. I’ve always known I was a crafty, but it took me years to get the courage to actually grab the knitting sticks. Gerard, you must not tell anyone! This must stay a secret! ”
Gerard sighed. Knitting? What had he been worried about? Come on, it was Frank! As if he could have drugged up sex slaves! “Don’t worry, Frank. Your secret is safe with me.”
Frank looked relieved, and continued: “I know I have been acting strange and I’m absent a lot, but I have been trying to finish this scarf... It was supposed to be a Christmas present for you. All will change after Christmas. I think I will be ready to come out of the yarn basket by then.”
“Frank, like I said, don’t worry,” Gerard assured him, pulling the man into a hug while the elderly ladies sighed with content and began whispering amongst each other. “We all accept you the way you are.”
And that is how Frank’s shameful secret past of knitting came to light. His skill level may be questionable, but I assure you, the rest of the My Chemical Romance never lacked warm socks, mittens and scarves again.