a generous measure of Asbach Uralt
‘Margery, that old tramp’s here again, in the reading room.’
‘What’s he doing?’
‘Looking at books.’
‘Well, that’s what people come to a library for, to look at books.’ She ticked off two more reservations from the list. ‘What sort of books is he looking at?’
‘Art books, I think, big ones with pictures in.’
‘He’s not doing any harm is he?’
‘I suppose not, but he smells funny. I think he’s spilt thinners or paint stripper on his coat.’
‘Has anyone complained?’
‘He’s had some funny looks, but no-one’s said anything yet.’
‘Let me know if anyone objects and I’ll speak to him.’
‘Margery, I took some magazines back and I sneaked a look. He’s drawing as well, copying from the books, on to envelopes; naked women.’
‘He’s not defacing our books, is he?’
‘No, just drawing with a pencil. But he does smell and he’s very scruffy. I don’t think the others like him.’
‘I’ll go and have a word.’
‘Has he gone?’
‘Yes, I suggested that he had perhaps had his money’s worth and he should call it a day.’
‘What did he say?’
‘He shrugged and said OK. He thanked me for giving him the opportunity to pursue his studies and wished me good afternoon.’
‘Do you think he is a tramp?’
‘I don’t know, he had a cultured voice.’
The old man left the library and walked the two hundred and fifty yards to a building behind the Co-op Funeral Directors. He slowly climbed the stairs and let himself in through a blue door.
‘Jacob, Mr Davies is here. He’s given me the five thousand.’
‘Thank you my dear.’ He went through to the studio. ‘Harold, how are you?’
‘Good to see you Jacob.’ The two men shook hands. ‘It’s a fine painting, the one on the easel.’
‘Thank you my friend. I just need to sign it, and you can take it with you.’
As Harold Davies watched, his old friend strolled to the easel, selected a fine brush and after dipping it into a spot of red paint, on a small palette, signed L. Freud, in the bottom right hand corner.
Having spent the best part of thirty five years writing reports on such subjects as ‘Provision of Caravan Sites for Travellers’ and ’Aspects of Pest Control in the Urban Environment’, Roger Noons began even more creative 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 and having become addicted, began to pen short stories and poems. He occasionally produces memoirs and other non fiction. He has begun to perform his poems, and has just published ’An A to Z by RLN’, an anthology of 26 short stories. He intends by the end of the year to have followed that up with a novella.
He is a member of two Writers Groups and tries his hardest to write something every day. As well as CafeLit, he has had credits in West Midlands newspapers, The Daily Telegraph, Paragraph Planet, Raw Edge and a number of Anthologies.
Roger is a regular contributor to the CafeLit site and a couple of his stories have been selected for the Best of CafeLit 2012.