At Ian's Place, Part X - in Which Tricks Are Played

Back out East again, I was still looking for new venues to show my art. Funny how Cali is the land of Disney, but over here everyone’s into sweetness and light. Bad Warhol impressions. And flowers. Every time I leave a gallery with another business card in my case, I mentally map out some sort of bloom with some sort of tentacles hidden within it. Maybe I could paint pastoral landscapes with decomposing animal carcasses strategically placed so almost nobody notices.
I got a text from Ian, who should have been in Canada:
“Hey, I cut myself on this thing in the kitchen with all the blades. Jack wants to know if you have a lawyer?”
Shit. I’d forgotten to get rid of the mandoline. The guy makes money on operational digits. You don’t leave sharp objects lying around musicians. Shit. I didn’t have a lawyer. Ian’s phone went to voicemail. I hung up without leaving a message.

He called back at 5 AM my time.

“Hey, sorry, I guess that was a crappy joke. You okay?” It’s true – you can hear a person smiling over the phone and he was grinning, dirty little ear to dirty little ear. It took all my strength to not hang up, but that meant I couldn’t muster words. He left the line empty for a bit longer before asking, “You okay? I’m not at home, man. Sorry.”

“What the hell. Yeah, I’m okay, jeebus. You okay? Where are you?”

“Yeah, I’m in Alberta. Get home for about a week tomorrow. The mandoline’s cool – I was gonna get one.” Hm, this was a schedule check. Or an invitation. How was I expected to respond? How much?

My usual defense, I’d stick with pragmatism - no, I had jokes, too.

“So you know how the thing with blades works. That’s nice. Do you know how to work the duck press, too?” There is not a duck press in his kitchen, but I’ve been looking out for one during my thrift store tours. In LA, a used duck press has got to turn up eventually. Ian laughed.

“Cool,” he said. “No, I was reading your blog. You didn’t mention the duck press. I do know how to use it, though.”

Well played, Ian, I thought. He is showing interest, leaving the door open, not extending an invitation. I struggled to find the next, best, noncommittal, move - I didn’t know if I wanted to shut the door, but I wasn’t ready to go through it. Okay, business casual.

“You like it? The blog, I mean. Is it weird? I mean, I said it’s fiction.” I steeled myself for the response.

“Yeah, it’s good. Why don’t you think about putting my name instead of whatever? It makes good marketing. For both of us.” Yes, business casual. We were back on neutral yet mutually beneficial territory. I segued into a polite refusal.

“I should go - I need to put together a proposal for a gallery over here. And then I have client meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.” That was true, and reschedulable.

“Aw, I woke you up. Sorry, I wasn’t thinking about the time. I just got back to the hotel. Sorry, man.” I vowed to never tell him how much I loved to be called man, even if he didn’t mean it like...however he meant it.

“No, it’s good. I was up. I will respond, though - in writing - that I’m not liable for any damage you cause yourself with kitchen tools. I will expect your response in agreeance. In writing. Jeebus, you have a shit sense of humour.” I was smiling, though - could that be heard? 

“’Kay, babe. Take care. Hey, I don’t like mayonnaise."

I'd lied; I went back to bed. I needed to identify a potential gallery before proposing anything. I could sleep for a couple more hours.

But wait – he said he liked the blog. He wants his name in it. Or he was joking. Shit. I lay in my bed writing allegory across the ceiling, in cursive and in comic sans, with no hope of falling asleep.

to be continued...


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