At Ian's Place - Part XVI, in which...I dunno. Cosmo maybe spills some beans.

I was expecting someone. "Yeah, he doesn't just walk in like you do." I went for the door to let in Cosmo, who handed over my leather portfolio. There's a digital portfolio on my website that most people see first, but tangibility - tactile input -  is still important to me. And the smell...paper and leather. Some clients also want the old-school experience.

"Hey, Libby..." Cosmo was already looking at Phil; surely they'd met. I held out the portfolio until Phil acquiesced and put down the mandolin.

"You've met Phil, yeah?" Both men nodded. "He paints. Did you know he paints?"

Phil winced as he flipped open the brass snap. "It's been known to happen. This is interesting stuff here. Different. Hey, Cosmo."

"Hey, Phil! I think you went to Cal Poly for architecture?" Cosmo hovered near the door.

Phil leaned still against the loveseat, not looking up, flipping pages. "Got a BArch. I guess you would know each other. Writing?" 

"Through my marriage..." Cosmo side-eyed me long enough to see me twitch. I gave him a mental kick in the shin to shut it down; he looked apologetic.

"Tell me about this inkwork," Phil said, looking up briefly. Of course he'd noticed the chord change. "Looks older, not that that's a bad thing. You got any tattoos?"

"No, but the Zig Zag man has my face on his arm. Just this one." I held out my arm so Phil could inspect my peacock-blue ampersand tat.

"Like Pop-Eye," he quipped. "Kidding, that's nice. You designed it." Not a question. Phil went back to perusing my portfolio.

"Yeah, I keep meaning to get another one."

"Nice place downtown over a jazz & blues club. Bet Cosmo knows where it is. Gal's a friend of mine - never did let her poke me, though. I can connect you if you want." Phil handed the leather-bound art back to me. "Nice work, Lib. You should be an artist." He chuckled at his own joke and picked up the mandolin. Plink plunk.

"I'm interrupting something," Cosmo said, rubbing his hands on his jeans. "I'll pick you up tomorrow for lunch?" 

Phil and I responded at the same time.

"You're welcome to hang around."

"Yeah, sure." All three of us looked at each other like characters with guns drawn: marshall, thug, bumbling hero.

"To be honest," I enunciated through a slow exhale, "I would like to take a shower. You guys can hang if you like..." I hoped I sounded like I didn't mean that last part. The boys seemed to take the hint. Cosmo opened the door again and backed through it.

"Yeah, tomorrow. Good to see you, Phil."

Phil clicked the mando case shut. "Right behind you. Next time let's all bring our portfolios." He was grinning again, like he had no intention of doing so. Cosmo was saying something from up the sidewalk. Phil laughed.

"You have no intention. Please. Go away." I turned the deadbolt behind them.

 to be continued...
At Ian's Place begins here: Part One, in which you may find a creature...


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