The Mystery Posts #2

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Marcus was the one true love of Andy’s life. It often felt like he was still living in that little apartment with us, even though he’d been gone for two years. He’d been a brilliant pianist, and his notebooks and cassettes were still piled in the closet. His photos still hung on the wall. And Andy kept his ashes in a painted box on the dresser. Back in the eighties, Austin was much more of a hobo, hippie town, and that’s exactly the kind of couple they had been. They’d go on hikes, bike rides and swim in the river. They’d visit with friends and whenever they could afford it, they’d travel. There was one summer when Andy got hired to do some decorative painting on a guesthouse in Puerto Vallarta, and he brought Marcus with him. They spent a magical summer there. It was owned by a woman named Sylvia, and she gave them a free room overlooking the ocean.

Andy told me that their ultimate dream was to see the pyramids in Egypt. They saved up for months. They literally made a penny jar. And they were finally able to do it. Andy and Marcus remained as a couple for a few more years. But Andy was a lot older. He was ready to settle down, and Marcus just wasn’t there yet. He wanted his freedom. They decided to just be friends. It was during this period that they both tested positive for HIV. Andy was one of the lucky ones. Somehow it stayed dormant in his body for the longest time.

However, Marcus got very sick, very quickly. He was one of the ones who disappeared. He moved back in with Andy until it was time to go to the hospice. He slept on the makeshift bed in the living room. And when he grew too weak to get out of bed, Andy painted the beach from Puerto Vallarta on the wall. Marcus held on for a few months. Andy rarely spoke about what happened during that time, but he never recovered from the trauma. During the months we lived together, people would ask me: “What’s going on between the two of you, really?” Everyone assumed there must be something sexual. But there was never any of that. Not a single moment. Andy had set up a giant folding screen between our beds. On it he had painted the pyramids of Egypt.

Andy once had dreams of being a great artist. He’d moved to New York during his early thirties. He’d rented a hippie studio in The Village, and he found a bit of success. At one point he designed the set for a play which was featured on the cover of Life Magazine. Andy was always so proud of that, but his paintings never attracted much interest. He said the art scene was more about who you knew, and not so much about what you made. Eventually he got worn out by the scene and moved back to Austin.

He painted occasionally over the next twenty years, but he was never very serious about it. And when Marcus passed away, he lost any remaining ambition that he had left. He’d sleep late every morning. During the day he’d drink coffee, and smoke cigarettes, and visit with friends. He eked out a living by doing faux-marble finishes. He really had a talent for it. People would knock on his finishes to see if they were marble. But I always thought he was wasting his gift. He would spend his days getting bossed around by interior designers: “Do this,” “Do that.” Sometimes he wouldn’t even get paid.

He never seemed to care though. If he had enough to pay the rent, then he was happy. I was the one who cared for him. I was always ambitious on his behalf. From the moment I first saw his portfolio in that Italian restaurant, I knew that he belonged in a museum or a gallery. And I wanted that for him. Not only because his art was beautiful, but because he saved my fucking life. I wanted to give something back.

So, I offered to represent him. I didn’t want a commission. I convinced a local coffee shop to let us put on a show, and I gathered all the paintings I could find in his apartment. There wasn’t much, because Andy had given away most of his work. But we did find a few. There was one piece with some guys playing water polo. And we included the folding screen with the pyramids. We only sold a single painting, for $300, which was enough to pay the rent. I can’t remember who bought it, but I remember the painting.

It was a solitary palm tree.

To be continued

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Posted By

The Mystery Poster

I wonder if anyone can work out just who I am? You would need a good memory or know where to look for clues. My signature says my name is James but is that a red herring? Someone out there will know, I am sure. Just don't be bombarding Davidd for clues... maybe he doesn't know. After all, not all owls are wise.


61 Comments on “The Mystery Posts #2”

  1. I always regret I never lived in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. I know I was too young but it seems that everyone cool on this planet lived there at that time.

  2. Cara Delevingne admits she sometimes likes to creep around her estate late at night putting people’s wheelie bins back in so they don’t get collected in the morning!

  3. Janet was waiting for my human’s husband when he went to feed her yesterday. She took him up the path towards the shed, he had to be careful not to tread on her when she stopped. She is such a sweet girl, her favourite humans can even tickle her belly without getting scratched.

  4. 8: I don’t get why some vegans like cats.

    Me: I know right? You’d think their fur would get stuck in their teeth.

    Related: 8 does not think I’m funny!

  5. “Could a Bear be a Knight?” asked Pooh. “Of course he could!” said Christopher Robin. And he took a stick and touched Pooh on the shoulder, and said, “Rise, Sir Pooh de Bear, most faithful of all my Knights.”
    Pooh said “Thank you,” and went into a dream.

  6. Rolf report 3 Jan

    My humans continue to walk me to campus, trying to reprogram me to use the “southern passage”, the safer route home. I’ve turned the whole situation to my advantage: I hitch a shoulder ride most of the way there & I walk home side by side with my humans.

    Rolf x

  7. Boris Johnson: “Scientific advisors have said all sorts of things at different times.”

    He’s gone from following the science, to blaming the scientists!

  8. Has anyone got access to the footage from the parallel universe where covid didn’t happen so we can see how 2020 should have played out?

    Also the one where Corbyn won in 2017. Just wanna see something.

  9. Why do some scousers think they’re the gatekeepers of Liverpool as if everyone wishes they were from there? Stop pocket wankin over ye L postcode an purple bin no ones assed!

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