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The Genius and I


John McNally


Jimmy Finger lived in the apartment directly above. It was 1973, and I was seven. Jimmy was two years older and attended what his mother called the “special school,” suggesting that Jimmy went there because he was a genius. And he looked like a genius to me: plastic-framed glasses, uncombed hair, filthy clothes. In the only photo that I have of him, he looks like he’s trapped inside of an invisible jail cell. He’s screaming, his arms are raised over his head as though he’s pounding at bars no one can see, and his glasses are crooked. He looks like an insane genius. Or maybe he just looks insane.

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The Genius and I was originally published at Booth.