• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 07

A Lone Shark Takes Chair Island

"Whoohoo. Anyone home?"

Nostrils flaring, Marlene was now yodelling through the letterbox, trying to sound upbeat. She'd been waiting too long. Her visit was way over due. Physically she'd moved on, but emotionally and financially she remained dependent. Dependent on love, friendship and the unpaid rent which was now an invisible elephant between friends. She'd left voice-mail but wasn't accustomed to being ignored in real time.

Grunting she buzzed the doorbell again. This time pressing long and loud with her shoulder, whilst fumbling simultaneously for her phone. On her haunches she peered through the bristles then through the spy-hole snorting at her own ludicrous predicament. It was her house.

"Lola this isn't funny now. I'm not angry. Is Jesper with you? Come on Sweetheart! Open up for pity's sake, it's raining dogs out here!"

Marlene wondered whether to break in. The calmness she'd promised herself was dissipating. Eyeing the porch window she scanned past the gnomes on the front lawn looking for a brick.

Inside, Lola's barefeet were clean. Her soles treading their choreography on non-slip linoleum. Every other inch of her body was dripping art. Jesper, light headed (after the fumes from the cans and smokes), wasn't out of the picture, just in recovery after the mind blowing session.

Filling Marlene's empty canvasses with doodles and graffitied​ expletives, they'd used brushes, gloves, rollers. It had been his idea to strip the wallpaper. The three had discussed redecorating as part of their new arrangement. A way to cover the outstanding rent payment, in lieu. Though neither Lola nor Jesper had intended for things to go this far.


A Lone Shark Takes Chair Island

The original suggestion was to begin and end in the sitting room. But in Marlene's absence one thing had led to another. Mixing art and friendship, illicitly close.

Then buddies arrived, wine uncorked and iTunes provided rhythm. They painted, drank, posed and modelled in synchrony. A climax of oils, dance, aerosol, and other medium. Ingredients of party and craft for creative minds, bodies and souls.

Lola's camisole was stashed under the chair. She slipped it over the paint drying on her breasts. She remembered how she'd sat with Jesper nuzzling her neck. The same chair where her friend, ex-housemate and landlord, Marlene, jokingly finger waggled her ultimatum. Rent in one month, or she may begin legal prosecution.

The doorbell rang again, this time more persistently. There was no floor space for a rapid exit. The velvet throne was now a lone blue island, a refuge from sharks.

At the sound of breaking glass Lola pirouetted toward where Jesper lay. Maybe she was the shark.

"Stop right there Lola! And sit your skinny arse down." Both women blanched. Gnome in hand, Marlene strode through the paint. Despite arguing back, Lola's soles were still clean when she slumped to the floor.

Reclaiming her throne and her spare house keys, Marlene closed all the windows and replaced the gnome outside. She breathed the summer air. Aerosol was toxic.