Frank Stimmer awoke angry! He lay in bed and considered the day before him. He knew the kind of day it would be; it had for him the feel of sameness of the last two months... in which his mind had been unable to find a trace of enthusiasm to do what he does; paint.
'Two pounds of shite in a one pound bag!' Another fucking day of it..... What the fuck is it with you Frank? Look at him -- used to have all those clear fucking sign posts guiding him, hey... where are they now? Fucking vanished!. under this... this fucking mound of shite-coloured-doubt and fucking indecision.... double blank!... blank fucking Frank! Talk about shifting sands... I'm wandering headless in a shitting desert. Look at him, he's a real fucking nowhere man!'
The thought of going into his studio beyond that door, which he now gave a look of salt, would be like entering Room 101, where you bring all your dread. Going through that door, which he hadn't entered for months, would be like imitating himself. He wouldn’t even have the spiritual strength to squeeze the colours from their tubes, to arrange his palette, let alone paint...
Usually, Frank fought these negative feelings off by meeting like-minded friends to talk about art. But today, the mere idea of getting up and presenting himself to the world made him recoil. Why today; had it all just gone over the plimsol line? He knew that today the universe would not unfold itself through him, would not show its staggering potential, its strange uniqueness, nor would it's heavenly nymph dance with or for him, and maybe never would again. And for him, to lift himself from his bed, and engage with that flow of life, going on just outside his window, would just be too annoyingly inept.
'I've reached the end of this shite! The more I look at that fucking horizon the fainter it appears.... I mean.... down the Scene everyone is always talking about the beautiful, fucking craziness of being.... And you're the worst, Frankie, among that strange fucking assemblage of bad habits. Going down there every day becomes more and more like falling down the fucking rabbit hole.... But that's what it is; along with the booze and blow... all fucking talk! Which isn't even the fucking foreplay to shite all. Two fucking months without picking up a fucking brush...
'I might have... It might have... could have been, different... if... when.... before the fucking space-time fucking continuum started sagging...
'Hey Frankie, you're a fucking artist failing to be a fucking artist... Oh, will you please give him that fucking iron mask,..
'But back then.... back then – the young dog – keen as a fucking truffle pig, and breathing burning paint on every fucking thing.... before 'art'.... fucking art... became something lost in a void somewhere between media and fucking marketing! With it's fucking silly concepts.... about as fucking relevant as a deckchair on the Titanic! Everything these days has to be watered down – to make it acceptable to the masses. They can't take solid forms – they have to take out all the solid meat of emotion – make it spreadable and absorb-able.
'But why the fuck don't you just paint Frankie...? Why doesn't he?
'Is this fucking life friend or foe...? Well, today, it's the fucking latter, and if this is the end of the fucking road, so be it.... I'll just stay put.... as inactive as a fucking fossil... and there's nothing more to fucking say...
His rough rope of a soliloquy had run out! So Frank stopped thinking and began counting his breaths.
Frank's eyes popped open. He had had a sudden thought. An idea! It came, gelled, a bit, then sent a bolt of energy to his legs! He was about to spring from his bed when to the left of his bed the telephone rang!
'Opal! Wow! Hi! How you doing, girl?'
'You're back!..... mm mm....Great!'
'Sure, no problem, as long as you like....
'Yeah.... when will you get here?'
'No Honey, no, of course not... you know that....'
'It's really great to hear from you. I've really missed you, honey...'
'You'll have to tell me all about it when you get here.'
'OK, girl.... sure.... '
'Can't wait.... See you tonight around eleven then.
'I'll be waiting.... till then. Bye, honey!'
He put down the receiver.
'Wow! Fucking wow! Opal Hush is back!'
His mind curled sensually around itself, like a cat around a chair leg. The thought of her crawled over his mind triggering random images of their last sexual encounter, each one more erotic than the last.
'Jesus fucking Christ!'
He then suddenly remembered that jolt, but he couldn't remember the idea that had come to him like a falling star, which, had brought him back to life. He tried to fight away the images of Opal doing her stuff, which continued to pop up one after the other into his head like a slide show! Disparately he began to suppress them, and trying to remember that lost thought. He closed his eyes.
'Shit! What was it... for fucks sake!' He shouted.
Then bingo! It came into the void – a stream of thought -- a ribbon of sperm, coming and coming till it arrived in a flurry – a swift swirl of confidant cream. The whole concept as intrinsic as an egg, from that great hatchery of ideas. It ran around his brain awhile.
'Yes!.......yes... sure, a great taking off point, and yes, it will fly! I'm going to do it! -- today!.... ha ha... I'm going to fucking do it! It's all in my head, which, somehow, Frankie boy is now, finally, fucking ready and willing to play with that allusive fucking phenomena! I think, therefore I paint!'
No, he would not go down the Scene – he would enter that door to his studio and work! First a bit of playing on paper, but then, at least, he would make a start, a first of, what he felt sure, if he worked hard every day, would soon become a new body of work. And by the end of today he might even have something; a start; something he would be able to show Opal when she arrived – 'work in progress, hey!'
He now leapt from his bed like a trout, and headed for the bathroom: where he spent rather longer than usual sprucing himself up and posing in the mirror.
He changed the sheets on the bed. 'Be prepared!' he mottoed.
Then he stood ready to go over that threshold; feeling like a man about to set out on a journey of Tipperary distances.
He opened the door into a large sunlit airy room. One corner was carpeted, with a thick black carpet. And furnished, with a rich-red chaise longue, a couple of armchairs, arranged around a large square coffee-table. Against the walls were shelves full of his books, and LPs, and a black tower of audio equipment. In the opposite corner stood some large canvases leaning against the wall, and Large abstract drawings and paintings hung on three of the walls, while the fourth was his work space; paint splattered, with worked-over masking-tape here and there. A long work bench stood to the right, holding all the paraphernalia of painting.
But what first drew the eye on entering was the two metre square, white and empty canvas standing almost up right on an easel in the centre of the room. Frank now stood before it and starred like an Easter Island head into its white infinite space...
'Yes, I remember you... my silent one! The one quiet room within this noisy world. O the many hours I silently contemplated your silence; not a whisper from my brush, not a single gesture of sound did I make within your walls of quietude.'
He turned away, and went over to the bench, and pulled from under it, a pair of multicoloured splattered overalls, and put them on. He began rummaging through a box full of hundreds of old tubes of paint – squeezing and disregarding one after the other into a nearby bin. He slowly came to the realization that he had very few materials left... He looked around again and found the tubes he had last used, and to his dismay left open, and were now as hard as rock! He had charcoal and pastels but very little acrylics, which he would need to work quickly.
He went over to the window a moment to think. He looked down on the zebra crossing, and up the street, which was 'as deserted as Abbey Road!'
He didn't have enough money to buy the colours he needed. Should he just work with what he had? -- not a lot – limiting!
Then he thought of Cass; he always had materials, or maybe he could get some money from him. He would be down the Scene by now; he could ring him and ask him to come over here, because to go there to pick him up would be lethal – he would never get out of there. But would he come, and if he did how long would it take? No, what he deeded was a story; a draw; a bait. Then it came to him!
He knew Cass had it really hot for Opal, but he also knew her feelings were not mutual. He went back into the bedroom to use the phone.
'Hi Cass! Look I can't get down the Scene today..... I just got a call from guess who....?'
'About a year.'
'Well, she's back...'
'Yes, it seems so.'
'She asked about you!'
'Yeah. 'If you were still around, and how you were doing. And if you were still together with Teen...'
'I told her.'
'Yeah, sure, we could do something when she gets here.'
'I said she could kip at my place.'
'Well, she said she has something to do, and doesn't know how long it will take. You know what she's like...'
'So, I'm going to stay home and wait for her, as she could come any time, and I don't want her waiting outside for me, or hauling her bags about, and that.... And anyway that's why I rang. I have an idea I want to work on, and I've just realised I haven't any acrylics, and don't have any money, and I must wait in for her... and I wondered...'
'Yeah, wow! That's great.... could you bring them round?'
'OK, Cass, thanks a lot, mate. Bye.'
'Frank Stimmer, has anyone told you recently, you are a sneaky sod? No!, because of your rat-like cunning, you never get caught! I reckon he'll be here in half an hour.'
Within half an hour, we find our hero standing before his white space with a glass of wine in one hand and a large cone of a spliff billowing clouds of blue-brown smoke in the other. In the sitting area sat Cass, a tall gaunt man in his late thirties with deep set eyes, hawk like features. Sitting opposite, was a broad, forty-something-faced, General Custer look-alike, with long, straggly, blond hair pulled back behind his ears, and a small moustache and goatee beard. The symmetry of his face was interestingly broken by a black eye-patch over his right eye. He was dressed in black ex-military garb, and was making another large spliff on the coffee table.
'Nice place you've got here frank; how do you pay for it?' He asked.
'Lucky gits' got a grant!' Cass charmed in.
'Only for this year, then I'll have to go back to teaching,' said Frank over his shoulder. Frank turned and went over to them and gave the joint to Cass
'We haven't seen you for months, Fox, where have you been hiding?' asked Frank looking into the one eye.
'Hiding is true! in Portugal and Morocco, from my wife and the tax man, who seem both to get pleasure from taking me apart: as the maggot that weakens the flesh from the bone, so to speak. So now, to mix my metaphors it's back to the fucking chocolate factory to make some bread.' he laughed like a cavalier.
'And the book?' asked Frank.
'The book? Oh please.... rewrite! rewrite! rewrite!' His one eye raised to the heavens. And you, Frank, Cass was telling me, you've got a creative woody on!'
'I think the the woody is for Opal,' Cass laughed.
They all laughed.
'Do you know Opal, Fox? Were you here when she came?' asked Frank.
'Do I know her? Yes sure! She made quite a splash down the Scene, didn't she; turned a few heads, hey Frank. A free spirit if ever there were one! And a few hearts were broken I hear, when she left?
'The only woman I could talk Nietzsche with!' added Cass.
'Yes, she's a beautiful woman, and then the rest. It'll be good to have her back again.' put in Frank.
'Do you have a copy of her hot little book?' asked Fox. 'I lost my copy in Portugal.'
'Yeah, it's on the shelf in the hall,' said Frank
'So, are you really the painter in 'Indigo Blue' Frank? Everyone says you are, teased Fox.
'No, she told me she had that idea a long time before she met me....'
'Frank's too much of a gentleman to mention it, Fox, but too much of an artist to behave himself,' said Cass. They all laughed.
Frank moved to the bench and pulled out a roll of white paper from a large earthen vase standing on it, and began unrolling it. Cass got up and went over to the LP rack and began flicking through the collection.
The doorbell rang.
'It might be her!' said Cass
Frank went out the room, and down the long hall, and opened the door to find Mice and Sandra out of breath from climbing the four flights oft stairs carry the plastic carrier bags in both hands.
'Hi Frank, is she here yet?' panted Mice.
'No,' said Frank, looking surprised to see them.
'Shall we put the beers and the food in the Fridge?' said Sandra going past him.
'Food and beers?' asked Frank
'Well, you can never have enough at these get-togethers can you, and it saves running out for more if we need it,' called back Sandra.
'Get together...? I don't know when she'll get here... and I'm going to work....'
'Oh, you're working again, Frankie! That's good news; well we won't stop the artist! said Mice following Sandra into the kitchen. 'Nice music Frank!'
Cass had selected the Animals; 'Don't let me be misunderstood,' sang Eric Burden.
Frank still determined went to work at his bench, cutting the paper and marking out nine equal squares, while the others gathered around the coffee table.
'So what's the big idea, Frank?' asked Fox.
'Oh, it's not such a big idea.... at the moment. It's just a vague area I want to explore. Said Frank coyly.'
'So out with it, we're all ears!' demanded Cass.
'Well,' said Frank turning to his audience, 'you know I've always been interested in the method of painting... many people; the Surrealists and abstract expressionists tried to find ways to get the unconscious involved somehow, through dreams, trance-like states, and such like. They also tried ways to produce incidental marks by chance or serendipity... by dripping or splashing, so they could arrive at a more organic image, rather than something obviously contrived... but..
The doorbell rang!
'I'll get it,' said Sandra, already taking up the matriarchal role, she always seemed to revel in.
'That might be the guys.' said Mice.
'Which guys?' asked Frank, looking dismayed.
'I've invited a couple of the bunch.'
'Mice...! I didn't want to make it a big thing; I need to work.'
'Yeah, Frankie, you can still work, and we'll keep you company a bit, and knock the spliffs together, cooed Mice.
'Yeah, it'll be like old times Frankie.' said Cass, 'the way we used to work. I was telling Mice earlier about those days we shared a studio; it was always full of people coming and going.'
'So who did you invite Mice? Please not Jellyfish Pete?' said Frank hopefully.
'No! No, course not! I haven't seen Pete for ages. Someone said he's inside again.'
'Well that's good news! Who then?'
'Roast, Lady Joe and Dame Dancer.'
'No..! Please... Lady Joe and Dame Dancer! For fuck sake..why?'
'Well, they never get out Frankie...!'
'Ha fucking ha, Mice! Are you taking the fucking piss? Dead right they never get out; they just sit around all day shooting fucking smack, and reading Silvia fucking Plath. What is it with you, Mice; you got masochist tendencies or what?'
'Well, I telephoned Roast, and he was round at theirs, and he asked if they could come and...
'And why fucking Roast...? He's about as interesting as nappy changing!'
'Well, he's got the blow, Frankie....'
Frank's eyes rolled over, but he said nothing.
A moment later, Roast, a small squat man, almost bald, and Lady Joe, and Dame Dancer, two thin androgynous looking creatures slinked into the room.
'Carry on with the idea Frank,' said Fox.
Frank blew out his cheeks, then began to gather his thoughts.
'Where was I?'
'You were talking about letting chance happen.' Said Cass.
'Ho yeah! Well... without the planning, you could arrive at a more abstract image. This would make the artist more the director and observer of procedures, rather than creator...
`Yeah right! said Cass. 'And who was it said, something like: if you can disorientate the viewer he will see the raw, before his brain has time to make sense of it?
Yeah that is the aim, but of course, the problem is the artist, at every step, is still making and directing the course of the picture's development, right...?
'So your idea?' asked Fox.
'Well, my idea was to push it further...' Frank paused (for effect), and looked around his audience,
'Well, I got the idea to introduce more randomness... For example... by dividing a picture into nine equal squares. Then writing those numbers also on bits of paper, which, when shuffled and selected in the order they appear, could determine the direction of a line, or where any other elements, such as colours, might appear in the picture frame.'
'But you'll still be making choices...' Said Fox
'Sure, but I'll make a few simple rules: and we can never truly remove the human mind! Quantum physics says the the observer always effects the outcome of the experiment!: it's where mind and matter are joined, I suppose...' Frank smiled his Frank smile.
'But won't your work lose all that free expression if you just follow that randomness?' asked Cass, looking doubtful.
'Well, I think I can keep a lot of the abstract elements, but what I lose in expression, won't that be made up for in the concept?'
'You know you artists make me laugh,' said Sandra, 'you're so up in the fucking clouds! Why would you want to take yourself out of the picture? You all imagine you're above what's happening in the every day, don't you? While you lot search for what's new! Well, I tell you nothing is new... and making no decision is a fucking decision!
'We have to live with our responses, Frankie... Read the news; it's not news, is it....? It's the same old fucking thing: war! death! destruction!
'The world is in the hands of a few bastards who carry the mark of Cain in their actions, if not on their poxy fucking publicity photos. And as good old Henry Miller says: you have to be a bit of a fucking murdering bastard to be a politician! isn't that it? And this all goes on while you guys are a-busy-trying to get out of the picture, but you know, that's the thing, our fucking dilemma... we're all fucking slaves of our own shitty choices, isn't that true, Frankie?'
'I'm not taking the bate today, Sandra!' said Frank, matter of factly. 'I'm not going to get into one of your endless discussions on communism! As I keep saying! An artist is a man of action, Sandra! So, I'm going to fucking paint!' Frank got up and went back to his workbench.
The doorbell began ring regularly
Frank tried to concentrate on the job at hand.
Each new arrivals greeted then mingled with the others. People were milling around. Joints were criss crossing the room, finger food had appeared in bowls which Frank hadn't used in years.
Sandra closed in on him again! She passed him a joint.
'Does our life really belong to us, Frank?' she in a soft voice Frank knew all too well, 'When it can be so easily effected, distorted, and changed...? Don't we have to reclaim it every day from those who try to pry it away from us bit by bit, with their words, their threats, and the shuffling of bureaucratic paper?'
'Yeah Sandra,' Frank said dryly, 'hell is other people, hey!' He sucked deeply and long on the spliff, then moved off into the kitchen to escape her.
He pressed the flesh of a couple of people he hadn't greeted earlier, who were sat around the kitchen-table, then went back into his studio.
Sandra had gone back to the main group. Fox and Mice were hovering over lines of coke on the coffee table.
'Hey Frank, you want a line of this?' asked Fox.
The doorbell rang. Frank realized, that, as it got later, more and more people would go down to the Scene, and then be directed here.
'No, I'm fine.' He said.
A lot of the crew from the Scene were here now; all the bar-flies and butterflies, plus a few he didn't know so well. 'God,' he thought, 'That girl has some pulling-power! What had he done; where was his quiet day painting?'
He tried to concentrate on his work, laying out the nine squared sheets of paper on the floor, and writing the numbers one to nine to represent them on hand notes paper. Now and again, someone would pass him a joint, and he'd make a break to smoke it, or eat some of the finger food, drink some orange juice, or explain what he was doing to some newcomer.
His mind sometimes drifted, and was occupied by those images of Opal; those crazy erotic scenes, and hot sessions; they had been right here in this studio, on the chaise-lounge, on the floor! He thought of her mouth, her touch, her long silky entwining legs....
'You can't always get what you want,' sang the Stones.
Then, suddenly, absurdity seemed to zoom down on him! He stood frozen to the spot, feeling squeezed by the atmosphere. He felt waves of something washing over him, electric nerves sang through his body! He closed his eyes and there was a visual explosion of light! He opened them again and went over to the open window and began sucking in air; 'spiked!' he thought!
After he had regained a little equilibrium, he slowly made his way to his bedroom; a sanctum sanctorum.
And there he lay on his bed listening to the sounds of the party oscillating in his mind. He could feel, whatever he had been given, rising ever higher. Patterns like shattered mirrors sprang from the walls of the room into his eyes. 'Acid or mushrooms!' he thought. 'Yes, the juice!'
He connected his mind to the music; Bach; very loud – and went with it. He closed his eyes and let the sunlight coming in from the window enter under his eyelids. Immediately his thoughts coloured, and blew around his mind. The music swirled and swooped and took him up and away! Whenever he opened his eyes there was an explosion of colour too hot to look at with the naked eye. The sounds of so many voices and the music coming from outside chased around the room. So he closed his eyes and took the magic ride....
After the zooming of the ride, that seemed to take days, finally became slower, the images in his mind now danced here and there, then settled like a butterfly on a flower.
Frank was in a garden; a very rich one, full of flowers and trees, and there was the buzz of insects and a flock of optical birds fluttered from his brain, and began an elegant, incomprehensible conversation! Everything had the look of a Stanley Spencer painting!
Beyond the garden he could see the sweeping dunes of a desert, that seemed to go on forever. He heard a voice that put notes in the air, and coming towards him was a smiling Opal, in an almost transparent, multicoloured, flowing dress.
'You came Frank!' she said.
'Have you been waiting for me? He replied.
'Oh, yes Frank, I've been waiting so long in this beautiful garden, but I knew you would come.'
'I missed you Opal... will you stay here in this garden? And could I stay, too?'
'Yes, Frank, this place is forever! Because it is written, and can't be unwritten.'
Frank took her in his arms.
But suddenly, he heard a strange beating noise like the flapping of a giant bird swooping down on them! He opened his eyes and the garden and Opal were gone!
Frank was back on his bed! And the noise was coming through the wall from his spare room. It was the sounds of two people grunting, panting, and banging against the wall, in the last throws of making time in the next room. Frank listened angrily until they had finished, too paranoid even to bang on the wall and bawl them out.
He got up and realised his trip had levelled out a bit. Though, everything was still strobing, he was able to get himself together enough to think about the situation. He didn't know how long he'd been lying there.
He got up and looked out the window. It was now dark, and the clock in the square said it was 10 o'clock. The sound of the party had intensified. There were leaps of laughter, and the doorbell was ringing every couple of minutes, and each time, he heard someone expectingly mention Opal's name.
But he knew it was too early to be her. When she had rung in the morning, she was in Amsterdam, and had said she wouldn't arrive before 11 O' clock.
He stepped out of his room into the now crowded hall. There stood Cass and Mice looking as out of it as him, with eyes as black as woodpecker holes!
When they saw him they both smiled with a full knife draw, and Mice put his arm around his shoulder, squeezing him. 'Nice party Frank!'
'Yeah, Frank, good idea,' added Cass, passing him a giant spliff.. 'Did you indulge in the jolly juice?'
'Sure, Was that your stuff? asked Frank.
'No, the shrooms were a gift from Fox.'
He suddenly smelt bread baking! He wandered down the hall to the kitchen, where he found a lot of funny looking faces, one of which was Sandra's. She was serving up slices of freshly baked buttered bread, and sausages. 'Playing Mother Courage as usual,' thought Frank. She sat him down in front of a giant, cartoon looking plateful, which he ate heartily with crab like hands. Everyone was talking; mostly inaudible, with their mouths stuffed!
Finished, and feeling a little more himself, Frank wandered into his studio, which was full of more people looking zonked! Some were dancing, some talking and laughing in groups, some sitting on the floor or standing against the walls, as if supporting them.
His canvas on the easel had been pushed into a corner, and he saw that his sheets of papers now had footprints on them.
Sometimes after people had greeted him, he heard himself reply, but then he wasn't sure if he had actually said anything! 'I am the Walrus,' sang Lennon.
Fox had found Opal's book and was going from room to room reading the story 'Indigo Blue' in a loud sonorous voice, and a satyriasis leer on his face.
'She stared at her raised shaved mound in the mirror, her fingers played across its smoothness. She had spent the last week, with him, and had found a new appreciation of her own body; its curvaceousness, its power of attraction! She thought of the poses she had held, and the things he had done with his brushes! She looked around the studio at the many images of herself. Her large intelligent grey eyes staring back at her. Her honey he had mixed with with her lipstick to depict the exposed rosebud between her open legs. She ….'
Fox wandered nonchalantly out again.
Frank stood before his canvas, drawn by its silence. His mind simply sank into it, as there was nothing on the surface to hold him back. One little dot – a squeak of a mouse in a quiet room -- could have held him back. All this commotion around him, yet, he was unable to bring it to a single gesture. His mind went back to the morning when he had been so lost; before his big idea from nowhere had struck him. Now his idea seemed so shallow, and without reason. This whiteness now seemed to reflect his exhausted brain. 'Another fucking day of shite!' he whispered.
'Well anyway...,' he thought 'Opal will be here soon!' The thought of her engulfed him again! Her whole being, her tenderness, her free spirit, her lovely body. She would sooth him, she would be his, no matter how long it took to get rid of these people. She would be the best consolation to his disappointing day.
Frank went over to his bench, and pulled himself up to sit on it. He was still wearing his splattered multicoloured, overalls; 'appropriately psychedelic,' he thought.
Grooder, the cello player from down the Scene passed by the open doorway to the hall carrying his cello, and a few moments later Frank could hear his mad improvised strains coming from one of the rooms. The light in the hall seemed to be flashing. A ball bounced by, a troupe of dollified girls, he had never seen before, stepped by in their high heels which forced them on to their toes and pushed out their breasts and bottoms out, and caused them too strut like horses.
Fox strode into the room again still reading aloud from Opal's book:
'She stood before the full-length mirror admiring the sudden protrusion of her buttocks and her high pointed breasts, and her flat belly. She had never felt so confident of her body. She admired again a close up portrait of her face he had painted – the livid reds of the face painted with her menstrual blood mixed with his own sperm, as a symbol of conception! She thought of the days and nights of their love making, the reading of Anais Nin and Henry Miller and how all this had given her a new intimacy to her new roll as muse. She felt she had gone beyond mere sex object and would...'
The doorbell rang.
'She's here!' he heard someone shout. And the commotion of the party suddenly came to a climax, as the echo of her name rang out in all directions through the apartment. The next minute, she was there, tricked out in a blue and very mini-skirt! She cat-walked in through the door, looking tanned, and even more beautiful than he had remembered her!
He felt a sudden swell of feeling in his chest. Her grey eyes, that shone like stolen jewels, buzzed the room like flies, then fixed on him. She smiled and rushed to him, flinging her arms around him, she planted her lush red lips on his open, surprised mouth!
Her mouth felt wonderfully wet and warm. Then she buried his head into her thick smooth hair, and held him there. Frank clung tightly to her warm shapely body.
People had gathered around them.
'Welcome back Opal!' Frank finally said.
Everyone joined in welcoming her loudly.
'Oh, Frank!' She said, 'I can't believe you did all this for me. I really didn't expect it....I don't know what to say...'
'Say nothing, honey, you don't know how much everyone has missed you!'
..Again a chorus of voices began agreeing with him.
..'Well, I'm sorry it's not for long, everyone... I'm flying to Ireland tomorrow evening!'
The crowd gave a big disappointed 'Ohhhhhh!'
'Frank I want to introduce you to someone.' She turned around to look for someone. A tall dark haired man stepped forward from the crowd.
'This is Tony, Frank; an old friend.' Frank shook hands with him.
'We bumped into each other again this morning in the airport. We haven't seen each other for more than what, three years, Tony? And he's invited me to his place, near Sligo, where we can borrow a horse and caravan from a friend of his for two weeks! And I wondered, Frank, if you would let both of us stay tonight?'
Frank's heart had fallen to his feet, and was pumping like a fish out of water!
'Sure!' Frank heard himself saying.
Thanks!' said Tony, smiling. 'Opal has told me so much about you, Frank. She told me your life is like a piece of art!'
Frank forced himself to smile, and he cast a weary eye over to his silent canvas.
The crowd at the instigation of Fox, who took the lead, broke into the Scene's favourite party-song: 'The Hole in the Elephants Bottom:'
I wanted to be on the stage,
And now my ambitions I've gottem!
In my grey pantaloons I'm the rage
I'm the hole in the elephant's bottom!
Now the fellow who plays the front part
As an actor he is simply rotten
Through bad beer he does nothing but fart
While I play the elephant's bottom.
Now the eyes they are made of brown glass
Ventilation's completely forgotten
But you'd be surprised at the wind that can pass
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom
The manager said 'That's all wrong!'
As they sit in the stage you could spot 'em
So I use a telescope now
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom.
Last night I had some bad luck,
The manager said I was rotten!
Cos I happened to get my head stuck
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom!
My friends all think I'm a wit,
In their seats in the stalls I can spot 'em!
And I wink at the girls in the pit
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom!
My landlady packs up my meals
One day I went out and forgot 'em
So now every day she feeds me with buns
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom
A lady she chased after me
She said “You're a star, I can spot 'em”
I said “No Lady, thanks, I'm not Douglas Fairbanks
I'm the hole in the elephant's bottom”
Now I don't have to learn any words
There's no script to get quickly forgotten
I just sit in the back shoving property turds
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom
Now one night we performed in a farce
And I stuffed up the bottom with cotton
But it split and I showed my bare arse
Through the hole in the elephant's bottom
Some may think that this story is good
And some may believe that it's rotten,
But those that don't like it can stuff it right up
The hole in the elephant's bottom.