How Vile – Half Midnight scene 2

The metal door of the downtown loft rattled open and Heidi Fade walked in, straight past Augusto Manteufel who was sitting cross legged in his underpants in the middle of a rainbow coloured rug, contemplating his next masterpiece.

Painting by Gerhi Janse van Vuuren of two figures flanked by trees
Gerhi Janse van Vuuren, “remember that we could do anything”, 2017, oil on canvas, 76,5 x 76,5 cm

Heidi grabbed the kettle in the kitchenette and filled it, wildly splashing water all over the counter top, before she slammed it down and switched it on.

With a groan Augusto got up from the ground and slowly walked over to the kitchenette while rubbing his stiff legs. “What are you doing here?”

“Where’s the sugar?” said Heidi.

“It’s in the pot.”

“No, the pot is empty.”

“Look in the bag in the cupboard.”

Heidi snatched open the cupboard door and stared inside. “This is a mess. How can you live like this?”

Augusto dragged a stool closer to the small island and sat down heavily, leaning with his weight on the top. “Are you upset about anything dear?”

Heidi turned round and leant against the cupboard, folding her arms tightly. “Trevor is dead.”

“That’s not good, is it?”

Heidi bit her lower lip and gave Augusto a look that made it clear that it was not a good thing.

“No, of course not,” said Augusto, “You’ll have to start over with a new mark?”

Heidi grabbed the dish towel and blew her nose loudly. Then she wiped her eyes.

“Are you crying?” said Augusto with a grin on his face. “Did you love him?”

Heidi sniffed loudly and dabbed the corners of her eyes. “Maybe just a little.”

“Oh you vile temptress.”

The kettle started boiling with a shrill whistle and Heidi switched it of. Then she started making tea.

Augusto sat staring vacantly into space while scratching his sparse beard. “At least you do not have to change jobs and names. Maybe you can catch even a bigger fish on the rebound.”

“Maybe,” said Heidi, “but that could take months and money is already tight now — you will have to do something to help out.”

“Please tell me you do not want me to sell my work. It is not ready yet.”

“Then you will have to give up the loft and move in with me,” said Heidi as she leaned across the island and grabbed hold of Augusto’s hand.

“No, I can’t. Not that dingy place. Where will I work? And anyway, it will ruin your cover. I have to stay here.”

“Then you will have to bring in some money.”

“I can’t sell my work,” said Augusto, “just the idea of it, it is vile.”

2017 © Gerhi Janse van Vuuren

I publish the web serial Half Midnight at least once a week. Please contact me if you have questions or feedback and if you have enjoyed reading it please forward it to a friend.

The painting “remember that we could do anything” was my last painting of 2017. View other paintings from the same period here.