Tuesday, January 5, 2016

60. The Next Morning

Alan did this watercolor from the boat - a warm-up sketch of
Spirit Island with North Cape in the distance.
Alan was only beginning to grasp the actual size of New Island.

Alan felt a little better the next morning, though something unsettling was running through the back of his consciousness. But once he had his coffee and started thinking about the day ahead, his murky feelings of whatever unsettled him subsided. 

He decided he should mail his first portfolio of pictures to the Tourism Office. He had heard Adrian moving around downstairs so he went down with the pictures and his mug of coffee in hand to say hello. Adrian was just pouring his own coffee when he looked up, smiled at Alan, and motioned to the two chairs in the gallery.

They both sat a minute, then Adrian said, "Soooo, what are your plans for now? ...I'm just curious."

Alan's mind had drifted off. "Oh! Well, yesterday I saw the library in Hazel, so I'm going there today to get something to read. I suppose I'll need to get a card. I also want to mail my drawings to Margaret at the Tourism Office. Then I'm going to hang out here for a couple of days before I head north toward Putney, where more places are waiting for pictures."

"Wow, leaving again so soon..."

"Oh, and here are my first batch of sketches..."  Alan spread them out on the floor between them.

Adrian looked them over carefully, picking each one up. "Whoa, not bad! I can recognize these places easily. I think they'll like these."

Alan let out a deep breath, or a sigh. "Thanks. It seemed to take forever to get these first nine done! That tenth one I painted on my way over on the boat. Anyway, I feel like I'm going to be wandering around for a loooong time to get to all the 105 places that they want pictured! At first, I thought the island would be easy to walk across in a couple of days, but now I see it's much bigger than that!"

"105 pictures?"

"Yes, here is the list - the one I showed you before I started out."

Adrian studied it much more closely than the last time he saw it, looked at the pictures on the floor again, and then he said, "You know, I've been thinking we could collaborate here. I've noticed our styles of landscape painting are similar - and I have already made paintings of several of the places on your list. I was just thinking that maybe we should slip in some of my work to help free up your load. I'll be able to get rid of some old art, and you'll get the credit! Also, I could also use the income. Do you think they'd mind?"

"Hmm, dunno. I could ask about it in a letter and slip it in with the pictures. That would help me get these done a little sooner. By the way, they are only paying me five rogers each for these. Will that be enough?" 

"Five rogers? They're getting a good deal, in my opinion! It'll have to do, I guess."

They sat in silence for another minute, then Alan gathered up the sketches. "Um, I should probably buy my own bike, but can I borrow your's again to go to Hazel? 

"Oh, sure. I bought mine from Rothschild's bike shop in Hazel, which has a lot of used bikes and a few new ones. It's around the corner from the grocery shops. And that's a fine library in Hazel. They have a surprisingly large selection of books and movies put out by our locals."

So Alan mailed the sketches and a long note to Government Hill, and then rode over to the Hazel Library. Getting the card might be a problem - he realized he didn't have an official street-number address. The Librarian, a lovely young woman, allowed him to write "The Apartment above the Gallery on the Road west of Town." on his card application. "Now I'm almost a resident," he grinned as she stamped his card. As she handed it to him, she replied, "Probably more than you think, Mr. Faramond." 

Her statement startled Alan, but beyond, Hmmm...I wonder what she meant by that? he mentally set it aside.

In the stacks he found a well-worn novel, The Magician's  Assistant, by Ann Patchett, an American author he liked, and then spotted a hefty non-fiction volume titled 50,000 Years Ago, with a subtitle reading - Everyday life on New Island during the dawn of the Old People. It was by Harriet MacAuley, a resident of Putney. 

This should do it, he thought.

Next stop, the bike shop.