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The Fence

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You can go now, all except Simple!
~ The Fence

The Fence, (real name: Peregrine Palis) is the antagonist in the Diamond Brothers book Public Enemy Number Two.


The Fence was a brilliant criminal, evading capture and detection for a long, long time. He hid behind the guise of a schoolteacher in Camden, named Peregrine Palis. As the Fence, he was ruthless, sadistic, merciless and greedy. He wanted to hoard all the stolen goods in Europe, right underneath the Thames in London, and he had many agents to help, such as Johnny Powers.

Once Powers was arrested for selling designer clothes, the police wanted the man who would buy them, because the police knew one man was in charge of all crime in England, much like a shopkeeper. Inspector Snape said the Fence could be anyone, he could be a banker or shopkeeper. He said the Fence didn't dirty his hands, but he had contacts in every gang on the West side of the Atlantic. Snape also said if the Fence was captured, it would be a disaster for the criminal underworld, and think of what the Fence could tell police. Also, Snape said it was annoying him that he didn't know the Fence's true identity - he was just "the Fence" but he wanted him.

Powers, Public Enemy Number One, was jailed in Strangeways Hall, and Snape wanted Nick Diamond to join Powers, under false arrest, to find the name of the Fence. Diamond refused, but Snape went ahead and blackmailed Nick into being Powers' cell mate and eventual friend. The pair broke out of jail, and Nick believed he was on the lead of the Fence when Powers and his mother spoke of someone named Penelope. Nick believed that the Fence was actually a woman named Penelope, and the only thing was, Nick saw Snape and deputy Boyle crash, so he believed they were dead and no one would believe him. But once Nick was saved from being cut in half by an Intercity train, he recognized his savior, due to his blond hair, but couldn't work out who it might be.

Nick followed Johnny Powers to the meeting with the Fence, which was, literally, underground, but he couldn't get in because Powers used a secret slide door in the Underground. Nick, despondent, went to World's End, in South London, to meet Peregrine Palis, his French teacher. The teacher was rude, arrogant, downright unpleasant, and a real bully at school (he wrote his name up on the blackboard when he came into class) but Nick couldn't think of anyone else who would have seen the police when they came to school. Palis seemed to be more pleasant than usual; he gave Nick coffee and a bed, and then sheltered him from police. Palis was actually about to confess he was the Fence - "Well, I had a good reason for hiding you from police -" but Nick foolishly said he was working with the police, and thus, he doomed himself because Palis hated police.

Palis phoned Powers overnight to arrange a bomb using Tim Diamond as hostage. So when Nick returned, he had to dismantle the dangerous, nearly fused bomb. He then tracked down the Fence and Powers, but him and Tim were caught by Powers and imprisoned.

The brothers escaped, police led by Snape arrived, and the whole situation backfired on Powers, and Snape was revealed to be the man who saved Nick from the train. Nick wondered where the Fence was, but Snape assured him he might be "miles away" and Nick was angry that they hadn't even caught their man and they were just going to relax and act like he wasn't a major wanted criminal.

The next week at school, everything went back to normal faster than Nick wanted to accept. In a French lesson - ironically the same way the whole adventure had begun - Nick and the class were discussing "their father watched them over the Fence" ie "le pere voutre dans le palissade". Suddenly, Nick noticed Palis giving him a cruel smirk, and Nick realized, to his horror, that Palis was the Fence, because his name, Palis, meant "Fence".

The Fence, Palis, announced he was taking a long holiday - really an excuse to run away from the police with his treasures. The class barely missed him because of his bullying. The Fence then excused all the class, all except Simple.

Nick went up to the Fence and asked if it was about his French homework, but the Fence wondered if he was more stupid than he thought. So, Nick edged to the door, noting the Fence had a gun in his jacket, and then ran for it. The Fence chased Nick all through the science laboratories, knocking out the history teacher Mr Roberts with his bullet. The Fence then pursued Nick into the chemical lab, where Nick smashed a gas phial, and acid went into the Fence's face burning his eye out. The Fence cornered Nick on the roof and he tried to shoot Nick. The Fence said he was doomed anyway but he would take Nick down with him, and tried to shoot, but he had run out of bullets.

The furious Fence ran, screaming at Nick, but as he was on the top of the school tower Nick stepped aside and the Fence fell screaming hundreds of feet down, impaling himself on a fence.

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