I'm putting up this second chapter, and it's beginning to get into the episode-type writing. I really haven't gotten many reviews yet, but thank you to who reviewed! And please continue reviewing!

It's easy to notice from the very start that Mr. Monk is lonely and depressed, living all by himself in that uncomfortably spick-and-span home of his, if you can even call it a home. If my house was that tidy, with everything in rows and not a smudge of dirt or dust bunny anywhere, I'd go crazy. It doesn't even appear that anyone even lives in his house, like it's frozen in time, preserved from the touch of stray hairs to flakes of skin to crumbs of food. I still can't figure out how I convince him to help me, because he seems quite uptight, and needless to say, stubborn. You could even say it's a childlike stubbornness, because an adult would realize that with a fire, for example, rapid measures need to be taken, although not in the case of measuring out eight feet from the source, and demanding the precise distance be obeyed. Well, maybe I'm being too harsh, but I've never met anyone like him before and that's my own childishness coming through in all its glory. All the men I've ever known never dusted, instead letting huge deposits of it build up on their TV screens, countertops, and toilet tanks. I never observed my own father dusting or vacuuming or even cleaning the dishes by himself. Granted, if mom were washing them, he'd dry them, but who's to say the dish wouldn't dry on its own if left out long enough?

Strangely, I feel a sense of accomplishment at getting Mr. Monk to help me with my case. What's funny is, he hadn't even been looking to start back up in the consulting work, considering his nurse, as he calls her, left him three months ago. Well, originally he says he has lost a dear friend, and so I immediately assume he/she had died, but this isn't the case. He had actually been interviewing new nurses when I first meet him. God knows why he's waited this long to look for another nurse, but I guess I can sympathize. When my husband died, it took me more than a year to even want to date again, and even then, I took it as slow as possible. I had had this strange sentimentality to remain monogamous to him, even though he was gone, and it's still hard to swallow the fact that I'm single, as in, no longer married. Maybe his nurse held such importance to him that he needed time to think things through and adjust to life without her.

It feels really odd bringing the strange man over to my house after I just meet him, but Mr. Monk seems harmless enough. I'm sorry to mention once again, but a man who can't handle a fire extinguisher is extremely naïve, and thus, is utterly blameless. Only when he begins his work do I realize just how talented he truly is. He examines my living room- the crime scene- from every angle, noting the placement of random items, and even seems to magically discover that I keep my money in a coffee can by the subtle indication that I don't own a coffee maker. I definitely don't see that coming, and most certainly wouldn't want someone like him breaking in my house. He'd know exactly how to leave it so that there wouldn't be a trace as to who entered or why, and he'd know just where to look for what he wanted. In his odd search for evidence, he even notices that Julie has grown some by marking it down on the doorway, and is correct on her change in height down to a fraction of an inch.

He waves his hands about in very precise yet mysterious ways, and I notice that he is wearing a wedding band on his left ring finger. Why does he need a nurse if he's married? He seems in fine physical shape, active and lean, with no oxygen machines or IVs stashed away in some corner, so what's his deal? He continues gliding about my house in an almost graceful manner, taking note of what he considers to be important and what may actually be important to the case.

The man is definitely tactless, however talented he may be. Just as I have accepted the fact that he is a genius sleuth, he embarrasses me to no end in front of my daughter by his 'discovery' of my birth control pills in my jacket pocket. What man in his right mind would do something so completely disrespectful? My face, I'm sure, reddens like a tomato as he stumbles on his words, trying to account for their presence in my jacket, and Julie just stands there, taking it all in and making my humiliation that much worse.

Then on top of it all he attempts to lie, to explain that they are just tic tacs or breath mints or whatever excuse he uses. And then he winks at me as if he had convinced Julie or something. He's truly childlike in his approach to things, and a horrible liar. Which is okay usually, I'll agree, although it isn't okay at that very second in time.

The man certainly needs assistance in everyday life. I honestly have no idea how he has survived these past three months without an assistant, but he sure does know about housekeeping, and solving murders and supposedly random criminal events. Within minutes he finds a blue dip net jammed beside a cushion on my couch, and after finding out that it's new and not my daughter's, he concludes that the fish tank has something to do with the intruders. It doesn't make much sense to me that the police force, in my house all day, didn't notice this object in the very place that I fought the man. He also points out the fact that the aquarium light was turned on, which I had distinctly remembered turning off the night before, and so these two 'clues' convince him that there is definitely something that the intruders want in the fish tank.

We are walking to my vehicle, a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee that I had somehow scrounged up enough money to afford monthly payments for, when he stops suddenly.

"Is that…your vehicle?" he proceeds to ask, with the most disturbed and dumbfounded look he could conjure.

"The Cherokee?" I have just reached it and press the automatic unlock button with my thumb. "Yes, why?"

"Why did you leave your rear window rolled down?" He puts a hand to his perfectly stubble-free chin, pondering this minor detail, as he supports it with his other arm by cupping his elbow with his other hand.

I look over at the window in question, which I can see is closed, and then turn towards him, trying to decipher what he is getting at.

"What are you talking about? It's closed."

He shakes his head slowly, as if chiding a lazy student. He then points at the window from chin-level, and as I face it again, he strolls over and pulls his jacket sleeve over his right hand, then runs the tip of his covered pinkie finger along the tiny opening at the top of the glass. Satisfied with his little victory, he attempts to smile, but I roll my eyes at him.

"Okay, you're right, Mr. Monk. Maybe Julie forgot to close it all the way. It's really hard to tell it's open, as you can see."

He allows his hand to appear again from under the tweed sleeve and examines my face from the short distance he is away from me.

"But why would she sit in the back seat? There's just the two of you, right?" Leaning his head to the side, he seems deeply perplexed and bothered by such an everyday occurrence. Big deal about the window; the opening is so small that he can't even fit his pinkie finger all the way into it. I sigh aloud and lower the baggie that contains my daughter's goldfish to my side, not seeing the relevance of this detail to anything I am concerned about right now.

"Yes, but I have power windows and it's been hot lately, so maybe I rolled them all down and forgot to raise them all back up completely."

"You don't use air conditioning? This is a fairly new vehicle; I'm sure it has it." He is still not convinced, by the doubt lingering on his face, and I fear I'll begin to show my growing agitation in the tone of my voice.

"No I don't, because gas is too damn expensive right now to suck it all out on something as unimportant as AC. And the vehicle is not fairly new, it's a 2004."

"I see," he mutters, looking satisfied for the first time since the ridiculous conversation began. As I open the driver's side door for myself, he walks around the front of the vehicle and uses his sleeve to open the handle. I haven't hit the unlock button twice though, so he keeps pulling at the handle of the locked door.

"Hold on, I still have to unlock it," I fume, gently placing the baggie in the console so as not to frighten the goldfish too badly. To make sure he sees me unlock the doors, I hold the keyless entry pad up in the car, in perfect view of the passenger's side window, and click the button again. This time he hesitates, not quite sure if I am bluffing or trying to trick him(?), so I climb into the driver's seat and close the door, hoping he'll get the point. It is then that he attempts to open the door again, and it works.

He climbs into the seat slowly, as if it is made of Styrofoam or something and he will break off a piece if he gets in too quickly. By his awkward entry into my SUV, I can tell he hasn't had much experience with them.

"Mr. Monk?" I just have to know the significance of his previous comments about the window. He turns his head towards me as he struggles to buckle his seat belt, missing the latch completely with his wandering right hand, and looks down to find it. "Why were you so concerned about the window? I mean, does it have anything to do with the case?" As I finish the sentence, I tap the button to close the rear window completely.

He is still fidgeting in the seat, now glaring down at the assortment of coins I have amassed in the console cup holder as he continually misses the seat belt latch. He doesn't even seem to acknowledge my question, instead being preoccupied with his new interest.

"Mr. Monk," I repeat more forcefully. It is strange referring to him in that way, as if I am addressing an unnamed religious figure or something. He doesn't look up, instead allowing the seat belt to jerk back to its seat-side hanger as he leans forward towards the coins. I know that he has discovered some other aspect of my less-than-perfectionist order to things. "What's wrong?" The level of annoyance I am feeling is growing by the second. I grab his shoulder and shake him, and he looks up, as startled as if I had just appeared to him out of a dark alley.

"Your cup holder –" he manages to mutter, as the seat belt latch clicks in.

"What about my cup holder?"

"There are… coins in it." The pile of coins in the console is really bothering him, for he is now clasping his hands together, twiddling his ever-curious fingers to keep them from reaching for the pile. He continues to glare at the coins, and then looks up at me. "You shouldn't put… coins in the cup holder…. They need t–.. they belong in the slots…" He looks down at his jacket and reaches inside a pocket, pulling out a wet wipe. "I—I need to fix this…"

"Mr. Monk, you do not need to fix anything. I just want to find out what is so special about this fish!" I lift the goldfish bag over his lap, and he flinches, pressing his back against the seatback as if the bag was leaking diseased water all over him. God, I am in over my head….

We head to the pet store to ask about Mr. Henry, the fish I have him watch the entire duration of the car trip, and hit a dead end: there is nothing extraordinary about it. Nevertheless, it means the world to Julie. Her father had gotten it for her just before he died, and I have replaced it year after year to retain the last bit of living memory she has left of her father. She believes that Mr. Henry has been alive for six years, although the lifespan of the crimson marblefish is less than two years. I can't bear to tell her the truth about my replacing it; she would be heartbroken. It's as if her father lives within the fish, and he hasn't truly left us forever.

As we walk around the pet store, Mr. Monk begins to relate his own life to a parrot's lonely existence in a birdcage, and suddenly, the quiet, seemingly dysfunctional man before me is unveiled as a caring, devoted husband, heartbroken and grieving daily over the death of his wife. He tells me later that Trudy had been murdered nine years ago, and the murderer is still at large. I can't even fathom the guilt he must feel every day to have been a police detective and not have been able to solve his own wife's murder, and I feel complete pity and a new understanding for this man who has experienced what I have, the death of a spouse.

Using the tiniest of trace evidence, including the dip net, the aquarium light being on, and a new piece of evidence about the Sea of Tranquility, which I remember as a new exhibit at the museum Julie had just been to, Mr. Monk soon solves the case as to what the men were looking for in my house. They had been searching for a priceless moon rock that they had stuck in my daughter's aquarium kit I bought her at the museum, a mere hunk of aquarium gravel I had supposed, and it was apparently worth millions.

As a burning exhibit at the school science fair sets off widespread havoc, the museum tour guide suspect attempts to escape with the dip net containing the moon rock as well as Mr. Henry, which he had confiscated from my daughter's fish tank during the mayhem. Mr. Monk knows from earlier happenings at the science museum that that man was the intruder in my house and immediately takes chase, with me a distance behind, to the guide's eventual position at the bottom of the stairs. The museum worker had fallen, dropping Mr. Henry and the priceless moon rock in the process. I gasp as I come upon the scene of Monk trying to decide which object to take from the floor, the fish or the rock, watching him pace back and forth as if it's the hardest decision of his life. I am too far down the hallway to aid in his decision, for the criminal is sprawled out on the floor and the cops are hot on his trail as well. To my utter astonishment, Mr. Monk grabs the fish and races as quickly as he can back to the fish tank to save it from certain death, not even looking back to see what becomes of the rock.

I quit my job as a bartender today, deciding to try my luck at working for this complex man who has truly made my day a whole lot better. Not only did he solve the case, but he saved my daughter's fish in the process, prioritizing this sentimental representation of Julie's father over an invaluable piece of national history. I think I've made the right decision, just as he so obviously did.