“It’s perfect,” she says as she takes a step back and looks at the painting. “I love it,” she says turning to him, he smiles and blushes, stuffing his hands in his pockets and shuffling his feet.
“I’m glad you like it, I tried to incorporate all of the elements you asked for, right down to the expressions on the children’s faces in the background and the detail in the foreground, I wanted it to be crisp, photo like, so it seems as realistic as possible.”
“You did more than I ever thought possible, it will be the central piece in the exhibition, everything else will be built around it, you should stay for the night and witness the reactions, people won’t believe it is a painting,” she says as she grabs his dirty, tobacco stained hand and squeezes it. “Say you will, please?”
“I’m not exactly dressed for the occasion,” he says looking down at his paint stain, torn trousers and his faded, dirty hoodie.
“Don’t be silly, there’s a shower out back and I have a collection of clothing still in the storage room from the old costume shop that used to be here, I’m sure you will find something dazzling to wear, say you will?”
He blushes once more as she squeezes his hand again, “Okay, I’ll stay,” he says with a smile.
“Marvellous, Tiffany, show Mister Sanderson..”
“Please, it’s Tim,” he says.
“Of course, please show Tim to the back area and help him find something simply divine to wear for tonight and then help him get cleaned up.”
“Of course Tina, please follow me,” Tiffany says as she leads him out the back. “I love your work by the way,” she says.
“Thank you, I try to put as much of myself into my art as I can.”
“It’s a rare quality you have, not many people are born with such as gift.”
“I wouldn’t say I was born with it, more like I acquired it one day.”
“Really?” She says as she opens up a door that leads into a dusty old room with four clothing racks, overflowing with costumes. “How would you acquire something like that? It’s not like you could win it in a game of cards or anything?”
He laughs, “No not in a card game, it was nothing like that, it just happened one day, I picked up a brush and started painting, not just shit, but really beautiful, realistic images, I don’t know how, I was never a good drawer or anything like that, fuck I couldn’t even draw a house, and then one day I was a master with no practice.”
“Life has a way of doing that, here we go, try this on for size, I think you would look quite dazzling in this,” she says as she hands him a black tuxedo.
“Don’t you think it’s overdoing it a bit?”
“Somebody with your skill needs to realise that image is important, without the image, the work is useless, unless you die of course, and then, then your work is worth much, much more,” she says with an evil smile, he swallows a mouthful of air and feels his body break out in a cold sweat and he lets out an awkward laugh. “So tell me, how many more pieces have you done since you were bestowed with this amazing gift?”
“A few, but this is the first time someone has purchased one of them, all the rest are in my loft collecting dust.”
“You’ll have to show them to me some time,” she says as she drops her dress revealing her naked body. “Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to come here and join me?” She says as she leads him out of the room, towards the shower. “Tina did say to help you get cleaned up,” she says with a smile. He smiles again and nervously follows her out of the room and into the small bathroom. “Close the door and get your clothes off,” she says as she turns on the shower and climbs in, he quickly rips his clothes off and leaps in after her.
“Is this really happening?”
“No,” she’s says as she drives a blade deep into his neck, severing several major arteries, he has little time to react, as his heart pumps his blood from the open wound quickly, it spurts up onto the tiled walls and across her naked body, as the water from the shower washes it away, Tiffany stands there amused at the look on his face as he falls to his knees, the door opens and he turns to see Tina standing there with her hands on her hips and a smile on her face.
“Don’t be scared Timmy, we’re going to make you famous.”