It took Matt by complete surprise when it happened, which was never an easy thing to do. Most of the time, Matt feigned surprise and pretended that he had no idea something was happening despite knowing it was coming well before everyone else in the room. But this. This felt like a sucker punch to the gut.
"Franklin," the nurse called out.
And that's when Matt's best friend, his roommate of two years, responded. "Yep, that's me," and got up and followed the nurse. "You coming?" Foggy turned and asked him, and it took Matt a moment to realize what had happened and get up to follow, his mouth gaping like a fish out of water.
Once they were in the small examination room, Foggy got himself situated on the vinyl bed, still clutching what Matt knew to be a broken wrist in his other hand. The nurse explained that a doctor would be in shortly and left.
"What?" asked Foggy, finally after a moment of awkward silence.
"Huh?" asked Matt, still thrown.
"You're staring at me, Murdock," Foggy said with a smile in his voice despite the pain he was in. "Well, not really, I think you've thoroughly intimidated the plant next to the bed, but I know it's aimed at me. What's up, dude?"
Matt stuttered for a moment, unable to find the words to ask what he wanted to, and finally said "Franklin?"
"Well, yeah," said Foggy.
"I don't..." Matt stuttered again. "Franklin?"
"That's my name. Don't wear it out, buddy," Foggy said. "What is going on with you right now? Should I get that nurse back in here and tell her you need to get a head trauma looked at? Somehow my fall affected your brain?"
"That's your name," Matt said, disbelieving it as he said it.
"Yes. Franklin Philip Nelson. At least that's what my parents tell me. Wait..." Foggy asked, "Did you not know that?"
"No," said Matt, "I really didn't. I don't... but you're Foggy!"
"Yeah, I am," said Foggy. "Are you honestly that confused by this? How are you just figuring this out, man?"
"I don't know. I guess... you never said," Matt told him.
"I didn't think I had to," Foggy said. "It's what I'm registered with at the school, and what my ID says. Hell, my mom made me write it on my underwear when I left for college."
"Okay," said Matt, slowly realizing what may have happened, "But you never said."
"Right," said Foggy, also understanding, "I never said. Sorry, Matt. Just never thought I had to, I guess. Is it really that weird?"
"Yes," said Matt, trying to reconfigure his concept of Foggy in his mind to accommodate the new information.
"Really? You know it should have been obvious to you that Foggy was my nickname," Foggy said. "Did you really think that my parents named me that at birth?"
Matt laughed to himself and shook his head. "I guess I did, yeah." Foggy laughed back at him.
"So why Foggy then?" Matt finally asked.
"Oh, uh..." Foggy faltered. "I kinda don't want to tell you."
"What?" Matt asked, "Why?"
"Because it's embarrassing," Foggy said, "and you'll get all disapprovey on me."
"Disapprovey?" Matt asked. "I do not get disapprovey."
"You do," Foggy said. "There's a face that goes along with it. It's not fun for me."
"Tell me," Matt said. "Come on. I won't make a face or anything. I promise."
"Okay," Foggy finally said. "I got the nickname Foggy in high school. The kids all started calling me that because I used to be the only one on the A/V club, and whenever I used to come out of the equipment closet, a fog of smoke would follow me. It sort of became an affectionate insult."
"Wait, I don't understand," Matt asked, smiling. "Why was there smoke?"
Foggy sighed. "From all the pot I was smoking, my innocent little Matthew. I was that guy in my high school. The one who sounded like I just stepped out of a Cheech and Chong movie, okay? Are you happy now?"
"Wait, Foggy..." Matt said, "Do you really think I didn't know that about you? You're not that bad anymore but you're still high a lot."
"Holy shit, you know!" Foggy said, surprised. "I figured you were on the straight and narrow and so I've spent the last two years trying to hide it."
"That was you trying to hide it?" Matt asked. "Foggy, our room reeks of it all the time, even if you wait until I'm gone to smoke it. Our cupboards are full of Cheetos and Funions, and I've heard you laugh way too hard at old Adam Sandler movies when you catch them on TV. I know that you know I was raised by nuns, and maybe I did think Foggy was your given name, but I'm not an idiot. I know that the ceramic thing sitting on your dresser isn't a weird family heirloom. That's not even a good lie."
"Oh man," Foggy said, shaking with laughter as he thought about all the times he'd desperately fanned the smoke out the window thinking that Matt would be back. "That's awesome."
Matt laughed along with him. "Yeah, it is. But wait..." he said, realizing something, "Your mom calls you Foggy."
"She does," said Foggy, "She overheard some of my friends call me it and thought it was cute. I never had the heart to tell her where it came from." Suddenly, he couldn't breathe he was laughing so hard.
"Foggy," Matt asked, doubling over with him as he thought about poor Mrs. Nelson, "Are you high right now?"
"Yeah," Foggy replied. "God I hope they don't drug test me."
They didn't. Eventually the doctor arrived and Foggy's wrist was put in a cast, the two of them giggling the entire time. Foggy had to put up with an entire week of Matt pointedly calling him Franklin at every opportunity, but he didn't mind. He could relax more when he smoked up now and knew that Matt wouldn't judge, so he considered it a fair trade-off.