Jason Lawrence Bell
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04-26-19               AUDIO AVAILABLE SOON

     Over the course of time Simon has matured into a self-sufficient Special Needs person who can keep a full-time job and manage an apartment with his friend Gerald. Gerald is also Special Needs though he is less verbal than Simon he has been measured as a possible savant. Gerald is extremely talented in computer sciences and feels more comfortable in his technological world than in the surrounding city. 

     Gerald and Simon have a special relationship. They have deep respect and love for each and have become inseparable partners. And they influence each other. Simon is more communicative and talkative and has a strong moral compass through which he judges the world. Gerald is less sensitive but is a doer. He likes to find challenges and solve problems and right wrongs, though he depends on Simon to define what is right and wrong. Together they are a pretty impressive team. 

     Simon works at a super market bagging groceries and is a great listener. He hears people talking about everything and reads the papers and magazines. Then he comes home and tells Gerald everything he’s heard. 

     Sometimes they decide to act when a story moves them. Like the time at the Market when Simon heard an elderly woman talk about her landlord raising her rent. She can barely afford what she now pays for her run-down apartment. And she worries she will become homeless. Simon saw her weeping by her car. Simon had once helped the woman carry groceries to her apartment so he knew where she lived. When he told Gerald the story, Gerald immediately went to work. When Gerald had a project, he became completely focused. After a long night at the computer Gerald woke Simon with good news. He had found a way to stop the woman’s rent being raised. When Simon asked how, Gerald simply said, ‘You bring a gun to a knife fight’. 

     Gerald knew Simon was morally driven and certain solutions would not be acceptable to Simon. Gerald had no problem with those solutions, so he spun his ideas to satisfy Simon and still get the job done. Gerald had found that the landlord was a slum load with many buildings and bullied his tenants. After deep research he collected a dozen pieces of negative information that landlord needed to keep secret. He skillfully gave the information to housing inspectors and news media. Within a week the landlord announced to the media his plans to renovate the apartments and keep all rents at current levels. This was great news at the Market because all the tenants shopped there and happily told the employees. Even a news crew reported the sweet story. 

     But Simon was already working on two more projects. The Market was a union market with union employees and the new owners wanted to bust the union and start hiring non-union employees with less benefits and cheaper salaries. All the employees were worried for the livelihood. So Simon told Gerald. He gave Gerald all the names of the Union Bosses, the market owners, and the board member names. Gerald went to work. 

     Simon also saw the homeless problem in the neighborhood. In the last year the homeless population has doubled and tents on public sidewalks have become a serious problem. Simon took what he saw home to Gerald. Gerald was busy with union issues and asked Simon to research homeless solutions from other countries. Gerald had been secretly brokering a deal between the union and the market owners. He saw the complaints between both sides and saw solutions that both sides have stubbornly ignored. Both sides became aware that a third party, Gerald, was altering and influencing the deal. Gerald had to surface to keep the deal on track, but thru technology magic they never knew his true identity. 

     Gerald announced himself as ‘Reason’. And spoke separately to both sides, showing them an acceptable framework to work together and reminding them of the dirty secrets that he holds if they resist. Gerald called it his ‘carrot and stick approach.’ There were headlines in the newspapers that the Market and Union have created a new contract that benefits both sides. The agreement was so impressive that Unions all over the nation studying it as a model. 

     However, Gerald and Simon were busy on the homeless issues. Thru the ‘Reasons’ front they were able to placed three State initiatives on the ballots. They were each successful plans from Norway, Denmark and Sweden. But together they made a superior plan that used local resources with efficient tax dollars. It was headed for the November state vote. This also made news. 

     An investigative reporter whose territory included the Market, noticed that the homeless initiative started in that local neighborhood. So, there was the news crew and the reporter questioning market employees and shoppers about how the market neighborhood could be the center of such fundamental change in the state. The reporter questioned everyone they passed and all employees. When the reporter walked up to Simon and started asking him questions, she noticed that he was special needs. After a long look the reporter simply said ‘have a nice day’. Simon looked back and gave her a knowing smile. Peace