From the Center | Invulnerable pt 1 ch 2

Fearless people can do a lot quickly


Part I - Safe

Chapter 2 -From the Center

Introducing the Psychiatrist, tall, middle-aged, wavy, dirty-sand colored hair starting to recede, horn-rimmed glasses.
It's crazy!

I'm sorry.

Unprofessional to say that, but… IT MAKES NO SENSE!

Flashback to the three standing on the street. Amy points down the block.

Amy: Hey, I know a guy we should see!

Suddenly, we're following Crazy Amy.

She can talk.

She's… not crazy.

Or, we all are.

As we walk, I ask the young man's name.

For just a moment, the young man's smile fades and his eyes sparkle a bit less.
Like he's not sure, he says, hesitantly,


When I saw the change in Lucy, I thought it was some kind of trick.
The three are waiting to cross the street.

Bum: Paul… What is this?

The light changes. They begin to cross the street, Amy still taking the lead.

Paul: You're safe. You're okay.

They've crossed the street.

Paul: You can't be hurt!

Bum: But, how…?

Amy: Here it is!

Four days a week, I listen to the problems of the well-off. For money.
So, two days a week (usually) I try to help people.
Like Lucy.
Pro bono.
At the clinic.
In flashback we see the bag lady, sitting in a chair, the psychiatrist sitting facing her.
In three years of playing "twenty questions" with her,
I found out she may have some family "back East."
One day, she said her name was Lucy.
That's all.
Three years!

Hard to imagine now, but
When she first burst in,
I was… scared.
Then, I was… amazed.

Amy bursts through the door of an office, the bum and Paul seen behind her. The psychiatrist jumps from his chair, knocking it over, and dropping his pen and notepad. The bum he had been talking to is sitting in a chair, looking on wonderingly. Amy's arms are raised and she shouts.

Amy: DOC!

She grasps him by the shoulders.

Amy: We are OK!

And she was!

Psych: But… Lucy This is wonderful! How..? What..?

Bum: ("Lucy"?)

The other bum, who had been sitting in the chair, quietly rises, a smile growing on his face.

Amy/Lucy: I don't know! Ask him!

She points to the bum. The bum points a thumb over his shoulder.

Bum: Don't ask me, ask…

He looks behind him, but Paul is not there.
Lucy suddenly looks introspective, startled.
Lucy: I've got to call my sister!
The psychiatrist stands in stunned silence.

Other bum: Doc? Am I cured?

The underlying cause of most psychological problems is one thing… Fear.

Fear of the known.

Fear of the unknown.

Outside the building, we see the storefront window painted with the single word
The bum is looking out the door, and sees Paul, hands on the shoulders of yet another degenerate skid row denizen, whose face is lit up like it's his best Christmas morning. As the bum and Amy look on, Paul points past the man to another woman walking up to them. The man turns to the woman, raises his arms in a peaceful gesture and says, "Protected!"
So, I understood why everyone had such miraculous changes when we lost our fear.

I still don't know how!

As our first bum, and Amy/Lucy, and the psychiatrist and the psych's other patient look on, the latest woman starts grinning and chuckling. Another fellow walks up, looking on curiously.
But my job… was moot.

Flash forward, we see the same storefront, only now the window is painted with the words,
"Safe Sanctuary Hall."
So much happened.
Again, reduced to basic features, we see Paul's gleaming face.
Nobody wanted to go home (those who had homes.)
We see Paul, our first bum, and Lucy.
And we kept on growing.
We see many people, gathered behind the original group.
Being unafraid doesn't make the lame walk.
We see Paul saying, "Safe!" to an amazed man in a wheelchair.
Or the blind see. (Except Ben, the old faker.)
We see the bum Ben, his blind-man eyeglasses slightly pulled down, looking at us.
And it doesn't feed us.
A wide shot of many faces.
But fearless people can do a lot quickly.

We just sorta moved in and took over the Doc's clinic.

And the almost-empty building it was in.

Editor's note: The foregoing was derived from notes and illustrations by Andy Walsh, the "bum" Paul first meets. We have left the words and format just as Andy requested, so please don't write us about using non-PC words like "bum." Andy told us, "When I was younger, I always loved comics, and before I ended up on the streets, I worked for an advertising agency doing storyboarding, which is like comics. So, I wanted to tell Paul's whole story this way. Doc said maybe I have ADD, but whatever reason, it seems I never could finish anything I started." What follows is derived from some additional notes Andy left, supplemented by conversations with others.

The building where Doc had his clinic became the public hall for the group. A co-op kitchen was started, and a laundry. A small classroom became a regular all-ages school. Folks pitched in happily to clean up and repair and "home-ify" the old building.

Some moved off to other areas of the city and began similar communities, all staying in contact with one another.

Several people wanted to give up their worldly possessions, commuize their funds. Among the converts, though, were financial experts. They advised folks to keep their personal property personal, and directed investments toward income production.
Several other businesses were started to serve the new community, funded by community members with these financial counselors, and they all became tolerably profitable successes.

While some organized the community, most were involved in evangelizing.
Coordinated programs sent folks out in radiating circle, slowly rippling out from our little center. That was what Paul spent his time doing, affecting new people.