At Ian's Place - Part One, in which you may find a creature....

At Ian's Place - Part One

I got this house-sitting arrangement with Ian through a mutual. I live at his place when I'm in LA selling art and while he's on tour, which is usually. Like a hippie crash-pad with only two hippies, one at a time. I picked up his keys at one of Cosmo's parties; even then Ian was en route to the airport.

"So you need my schedule? Should I email it?" I yelled a little over the music. I was super-thrilled about this arrangement, but the casualness and unknown variables perplexed me, especially in the middle of a party. Did my momma warn me about this?

"Yeah, no, there's a guest room. Should be all made up, might be dusty." Ian seemed distracted, maybe feeling awkward, too. "That guy in the pink t-shirt is Jack. He's my manager. Get my address from him. Hey, take care, man, my ride's here. I gotta go. I like your boots."

He handed me two keys, no keychain - one for a deadbolt, I assumed. I stuffed them into my jeans pocket and went to have a more sensible conversation with Jack. Jack didn't want my schedule, either, but wrote the address on Ian's business card.

And that's how we got to here.

Both keys work for the doorknob and the deadbolt, which is never latched when I arrive. I only lock that when I'm sleeping. Ian's friend Phil shows up sometimes, having no idea when or where Ian is touring. If I don't lock the door, he knocks first and just walks in. Phil drinks any coffee I've left in the French press, sometimes makes more, sometimes goes out to his car and brings in a mandolin or accordion. Ian has a Seagull acoustic guitar in the dining room which Phil never plays. I didn't ask; Phil didn't say.

The outside of Ian's house couldn't be more unremarkable. I suspect the neighborhood hasn't changed demographics since he bought it. The yards on each side are full of bicycles, plastic slides, lawnmowers and cars in varying states of repair. Being Southern California, everyone has furniture out on the patio or in the grass – stuff that would be considered indoor-only where I live. Ian's patio has a table with a candle, a pint-glass, and a ladder-back chair. I picture him out there writing in the dark. The bottom of the glass is stained deep rusty brown - beer or tea that's long since evaporated.

Inside, though, the place feels like a Baja beach house - mismatched and worn oriental rugs, equally mismatched furniture:  leather loveseat under a striped blanket, a wicker peacock chair piled with folded laundry, a heavy wooden Mexican coffee table. The back wall of the living room is all windows; if you leave the blinds cracked for light and the sheers closed, you can imagine surf and salty breeze. The décor is really inspirational to me, I think; I've been making good art here. 

Like the octopus I painted on the wooden floor in the living room, under the biggest oriental rug.

One of the days I was dancing around to something, the vision just struck me and wouldn’t leave. I pushed that coffee table up against the love seat, rolled back the oriental carpet and went to work. I painted extended tentacles first to ensure every bit of it could be covered up when I was done, like a floor tattoo you don’t want your mom to see. Its skin is stippled in muted oranges and blues, looking overall grey from a distance, one eye staring judgmentally at the unlucky soul who moved the carpet. J’accuse.  I spent a lot of time getting that look right.

LA has the best thrift stores. Because it’s not my home I don’t buy furniture, but I’ve been picking up high-end kitchen equipment when I see it. I have no idea if Ian likes to cook or if he even knows what a mandoline is, but now he has one. I should probably make him sign a waiver that I’m not to blame if he cuts off a finger. Probably I should get rid of it. I also bought myself a plate, bowl, and silverware; I just like to use my own. I sit out on the porch for breakfast – I bring in my dishes but not that pint-glass that’s been sitting since before I came.


  1. You are so good at becoming a part of where you are. Part of it is because you respect what is already there. Part of it is because when you don't, you add to what is already there. I picture the cosmos being like that and each of us adds just a tad. A small bit to mark our passage through. You understand that the ADDING is what matters, because that is our journey and it doesn't affect anyone BUT ourselves in the end. We are each fibers in the fabric.

  2. I love the line: I love music that's sung in a language I don't understand, so the voice becomes another instrument.

    There's a sense of being anchored in the scene, only to be whisked off into imagination. Every object in the room has the ability to tap the imagination and inspire art creation. Nice Deb. Very nice.

  3. Dude. I love this story. So much. Nothing constructive to say other than I love this. The final painting is absolutely stunning.

  4. ...and now I'm hooked! Get back to writing, stat! hehe...
    ~Deb (OregonGirl from Twitter)

  5. Replies
    1. Really quite fictional, though I did actually do some of the things in this story. None of the characters are real, and none of the places are where I said they were in the story.

  6. Keep on working, great job!

  7. You have shared a nice article here about the Oriental Rug cleaning services. Your article is very informative and I will share it with my other friends as the information is really very useful. Keep sharing your excellent work. If anyone looking for the Oriental Rug Services in Jacksonville.

  8. Ahhhh, a floor tattoo you don’t want your mom to see... Nailed it. And so much else. <3


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