Friday 3 August 2012


 Roger Noons
a large glass of a Provencal Rosé 

Looking back, I still cannot believe it, although initially, it felt like a regular Wednesday. The alarm sounded at seven thirty, my wife got up and complained that she had to do everything, then she went downstairs and turned on the radio in the kitchen. I showered, shaved and dressed smartly, as the night before, I had checked, and saw that I had an appointment at eleven am.
    At two minutes to eleven, I arrived outside the large Edwardian house on the edge of town, in an avenue near to the cemetery. Number twenty appeared much like the others in the street, having been constructed prior to the days of speculative building using uniform designs, and having been well maintained. I gathered my equipment and presented myself at the front door.
    After ringing the bell four times, the door opened, and I found myself staring up into the eyes of a well-built lady of my height, in fact she could have been over six feet. ‘Yes?’
    ‘Good morning, Madam, I’m from Moving Studios, I’ve been commissioned to photograph, Victor?’
    She looked me up and down and sniffed, her head on one side. ‘I’m afraid he’s not quite ready, but you can come in and wait.’ She turned, but over her shoulder, added, ‘please wipe your feet, and be careful with all that equipment; you may scrape the furnishings.’
    I followed her along an ill-lit hallway, until she stopped and opening a door, said, ‘you can wait in here. I have converted the drawing room into the studio in which I would like Victor’s portrait to be created.’ Although she said no more, she stared at me as if awaiting a reply.
    I took the opportunity to appraise the lady. She was clad in a kaftan, which brushed the floor and rose to her throat. It was a hectic pattern of reds, orange and bright yellow. Her face was entirely white and her hair, also orange, looked like she had knitted it herself, despite having lost the pattern. As I took in these final details, she began to scratch her backside.
    Assuming I was required to reply, I said ‘Thank you, if you would like to tell me when Victor is ready.’
    She nodded once, as if that concluded our discussion, and left the room, carefully closing the door, lest I assume, that I should attempt to follow. I looked around what I assumed was an office cum library, as three walls were covered by book shelves which had few gaps. I wondered if Victor was some sort of academic, possibly a writer, often working from home.
    When she had not returned within ten minutes, I began to unpack my gear. Taking a camera body from my bag, I fitted an appropriate medium telephoto lens, checked the battery and settings, and was screwing it onto my tripod when the door opened and I was amazed to see a carbon copy of the woman who had let me into the house, except her hair was jet black, and her garment was dominated by blues and purples.
    She smiled. ‘We’re ready for you now, if you’d like to follow me.’ She looked at the bag of lights and stands, which I had carried into the room. ‘Those won’t be necessary,’ she pointed, ‘Hannah has decided that Victor should be recorded using only natural light.’
    ‘OK,’ I said and holding the tripod out in front of me added, ‘kindly lead on.’
    The room which we entered, was entirely black, the floor and ceiling had a matt finish and the walls, door and window frames, had been brushed with gloss paint. There was only one item of furniture, which was placed near the large, bay window, which began a mere six inches above the floor. Between me and the chaise longue, I was pleased to see a free-standing screen of white satin, which would serve as a reflector.
    When I rounded the screen, Hannah announced, ‘this is Victor.’
    Sitting on the purple, brocade-covered bench was an overweight, white cat, I assumed a Persian. He obviously shared the women’s hairdresser, as well as their publicist. He was the ugliest feline I had ever seen, and sneered at me as I placed my tripod opposite his mean face.
    ‘Isn’t he handsome,’ Hannah declared, ‘I hope you will be able to do him justice.’
    I think I must have done, as the account was settled within forty eight hours of the framed photograph being delivered, to 20 Victoria Avenue.

BIO - Roger Noons began writing in 2006, when he completed a screenplay, for a friend who is an amateur film maker. After the film was made, he wrote further scripts, then began short stories and poems. He occasionally produces non fiction, particularly memoirs from his long career in Environmental Health.  

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