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Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes

VIII: Present

Mr. Livesey and Brendon lunched at a quiet outdoor table at La Vie Simple, a café that specialized in nothing, yet did it all quite well. That was how Brendon had described the restaurant and it had been between the café or the pizza diner since the pub wasn’t open yet. They both ordered a beer—a stout for Mr. Livesey and a pale ale for Brendon who then took his time peeling at the condensation-wet label as small talk frittered away into comfortable silence for a gentle while.

“How long have you been working?” asked Mr. Livesey. He sat back in his chair, one hand resting on the wrought iron table.

“In the studio? About six years.”

“And before that? Do any freelance work then?”

Brendon smiled briefly. “That’s the way of it, isn’t it? Yes. Used to sell sketches for a quarter back in middle school. Mostly anime girls, sometimes boys. Then it switched to pets after a friend’s dog died and I gave her a canvas with a little painting of it.” He paused. “Did a lot of cars too.”

“And after school?” prompted Mr. Livesey.

Brendon sat back with a sigh. “A few vendor fairs, here and there. Had a stall up in a quiet downtown street a few towns over three days a week. Had a second evening job that kept me going.”

“But not anymore.” Again, with those not-a-question statements Brendon wasn’t sure how to answer.

They remained quiet for a time, the gentle purring of slow-moving cars on this mellow day mostly drowning out the clinking of plates inside the café. Brendon cleared his throat and left off picking at the label, now a pile of discarded paper threatening to blow away in the light breeze.

“My painting—”

“Yes, your painting. There’s no need for refunds. My client isn’t looking for monetary compensation and she wasn’t close enough to this victim to warrant a need for revenge,” said Mr. Livesey fluidly, becoming even more businesslike and forthcoming. “Rather, Ms. Arpsol is concerned that she has no way of dismantling this threat appropriately.”

Brendon mouthed the words “victim” and “threat,” testing them out, knowing his shock must have been etched into his face as if he’d painted it there. “It’s a painting.”

Mr. Livesey cocked his head. “So it is.”


Next Chapter!