Saturday, April 18, 2015

24: Alan Meets his Downstairs Neighbor

This is the landscape south of Hazel, just down the road from Adrian's gallery and Alan's place.
Putney Bay is in the distance, with the sandy peninsula called The Hook, at right, on the horizon.
Adrian, the gallery's owner, did this drawing some years ago.
Alan looked around inside the gallery. A cat that had been sleeping on a chair looked up at him. There was not a sound. Alan impulsively shouted "Ahoy?" toward the back room, and someone soon called back with another "Ahoy." Finally, a fiftyish guy in shorts, sweatshirt, and sandals, and with grey hair that had a scruffy bedhead look, came out from the rear.  He stopped a moment to focus on Alan and his baggage.

"Hi, I'm Alan. I believe I'll be staying in the rooms upstairs...?" (Eye contact, get right to the point!)

"Ahh yes, well I'm Adrian Graham. Glad to meet you. So you must be the chap they told me about, the depictor fellow who will be working for the guv'ment, right? "

"Umm, yes, they asked me to come here and make pictures for a tourism guidebook..."

They shook hands, Alan immediately felt something strange and electric - a not unpleasant sensation, but very curious. He looked at Adrian, then away, and they let their hands fall. Both stood there while the cat sniffed at Alan's loafers.

"So, aah, are you thirsty? Hungry? Would you like to see your lodgings?"
"Well, actually, I wouldn't mind having a glass of water."
"Oh, let's have tea...it is four o'clock you know...allow me to make us a pot." Here, have a seat, and I hope you don't mind cat hair...Osborne is shedding."

As soon as Alan  sat down, Osborne, a sleek, all-black tabby, jumped onto his lap and continued to sniff at Alan, then curled and flopped down. Alan was pleased the cat accepted him. He stroked its flank, and looked around some more while he heard Adrian filling a kettle and rattling cups.

The gallery was quite full of paintings and drawings, framed or loose on tables; mostly landscapes of what Alan figured were local places. At least they didn't look like anywhere else he knew of.  The work looked pretty good, which caused to Alan to ask himself, "Why didn't they hire this guy for my job?

And this place, this island, is so big - much larger than I imagined it. Where will I even begin?"