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3:49am January 3rd
Robert Grey hung his latest work on the soft drinks fridge of the gas station. He was 19 years old and fresh out of not only high school, but also his goth phase, and he’d been looking around for a new identity to build the rest of his life around. He quite liked the idea of ‘struggling artist’, mainly because it sounded a lot more romantic that ‘successful gas station clerk.’ Van Gogh had been a struggling artist, although, he remembered, so had Adolf Hitler. Come to think of it, both had ended up committing suicide, one after cutting his own ear off and the other after invading Poland, so maybe it wasn’t all it had cracked up to be. Perhaps it was the all that struggling that drove them mad. He decided that maybe he should remain a ‘dabbler’, better for his mental health that way, if not his chances of scoring with chicks.
Still, his was quite happy with his latest dabble. About a week ago this amazing looking chick had pulled up in a pink Ferrari. After pumping her gas, she’d come into the store, grabbed a can Pepsi off the shelf, opened it and started to down it before she’d even closed the fridge door. The Pepsi Cola Corporation had lost millions sales by not having a film crew there to capture the moment and turn it in a major advertising campaign. Robert had been there and she had instantly become his ‘muse’. He’d been able to rewind the CCTV footage of the moment to serve as the basis for a primary sketch, and then he’d turned the scene into a 1940’s style retro advert. He’d drawn her like they used to draw the pin-girls on the sides of the bombers. He’d even added the words ‘Drink Pepsi Cola’ and a whole bunch of copyright blurb at the bottom. It looked great, very authentic, if he said so himself. It was practically his magnum opus, although given that he’d accidently overhead his art teacher call his coursework ‘juvenile wank fantasies’, that possibly wasn’t saying much.
It was another sign he was growing up. He’d cut his hair short, even though the black dye hadn’t fully worked its way out yet and gotten himself a pair of smart trousers and a neutral coloured shirt, and started to dress and behave more like an adult. Had he not still been still awake and playing the Sister of Mercy loudly though mini-speakers connected to his phone, he’s inner goth would have been totally exorcised. His style of art was evolving too, and this was the first full work of art he’d produced that didn’t contain a mountain of skulls and rivers of blood. Still, the practice he’d put in on all the succubae had paid off in terms of the boobs and ass in this latest work, even if the horns and bat wings hadn’t. He was even starting to get the faces right. He was thinking about starting a course on visual design when he could get the money together. It was probably the more practical career choice than just plain old art. There didn’t seem to be as much struggling involved.
No sooner had he finishing hanging the picture to his satisfaction than he heard a car pull up at the pumps. Looking out the window, his heart skipped a beat — it was the pink Ferrari again. She was there and already pumping gas.
Robert took the opportunity to look her up and down with the cool clinical eye of the professional, measuring her lines and ratios with a mathematical precision, dispassionately noting the natural and wonderful beauty inherent in the human form. My God, she’s got great tits, Struggling, like many artists before him, not to get an erection, he tried to focus on her properly. Was being an artist really this hard, he thought. Did Titian spend all his time red faced and sweaty while painting his classical Greek nudes?
Any attempt to describe her by a man would inevitably start with them combining the body parts of their three favourite movie stars and finish with the words, “only, you know, hotter.” (Any attempt by a woman would inevitably finish with the words, “just who the hell does she think she is.”). Robert decided to start small, with an exercise his art teacher had suggested: start by describing her as if you’re a police officer writing a formal report. Very well, she was six foot nothing, Caucasian, blonde, and guilty as sin. She was wearing a pair of tight fitting denim shorts, a bare midriff and tight pink top with short sleeves. She carried a small pink handbag. She was wearing sensible shoes, but only, Robert surmised, because she was driving.
She finished pumping the gas and came into the store. As she reached to open the drinks fridge, she stopped and did a double-take on the new poster hanging there. She spent a good few seconds looking at it and at her reflection in the glass. She’d been wearing a white skirt and jacket the first day she came in, and Robert had changed it to a sailor’s uniform. He’d also added a few extra curls to the hair to match the period and a touch of Marilyn around the lips, so the picture wasn’t quite one-to-one. Still she’d obviously noted the striking resemblance.
She ankara eryaman escort half shrugged to herself and opened the fridge. The door opened away from Robert rather than towards him, which mean as she bent down to get a drink, he got another striking pose seared into both his artistic and animal brains. She took seemingly a unnecessarily long time to choose a drink, given that when she did finally pull out a can, it was just a Pepsi again. When she closed the door, Robert notice that the picture was missing. He’d never felt so validated in all his life.
She came to the counter, and almost wordlessly paid for the gas and a packet of cigarettes. By the time she left, Robert’s budding young artist heart was struggling not to fall in love.
4:12am February 12th
It was a few weeks later. Now Robert measured out his life by the appearances of his muse. She came about once a week, but unpredictably. The gap could be three days or it could be eight days Having come once, he would know not to expect her for a few more days, but then his hopes would rise and rise, and be unrequited as often as not, until that exquisite moment when it happened and he found release.
When she did come it was always in the same way. First the convertible sports car pulled into the gas station so fast that you could hear the tires squeal when it stopped perfectly aligned with the pump. She’d pull herself over the doors of the convertible with agility. She’d bend over as she pumped the gas, she’d sashay her way into the petrol station, then she’d lean forward on the counter as she paid (Robert had never been sure if he was ass, leg or breast man and this combo nudged him in all three directions at once). If she was chewing gum she would buy a pack of smokes, but if she was smoking she’d buy a pack of gum. She’d thank him and leave. It was a transcendental experience.
The nice things about her visits, Robert thought to himself, was that there was no pressure. His nocturnal lifestyle hadn’t allowed him much opportunity to mix with the opposite sex recently, but, in high school say, if a pretty girl came into you class or sat next to you, there was an impetus to act. You should talk to, impress her, ask her out on a date. If you didn’t you were a loser. There was none of this with this woman. Every man who saw her would, and no man would ever think he could. He could only be three or four years her junior sure, but the idea of making an approach was so ridiculous that he could just feel good about being in her presence.
He didn’t know her name, of course. His interaction with her had always been limited to the great corporate script that defined all customer/employee interactions. Still, he’d been practicing and was on the verge of being ask her if she had loyalty card without stammering too much. His inner monologue called her Barbie Ferrari after the car she drove and the fact that she should be banned for encouraging an unrealistic body image in young girls.
It was now past four in the morning which meant he’d almost given up on any kind of chance at nirvana for this shift. He’d returned to reading the book about post-modern art that he’d checked out of the library. He’d read either the first quarter of the book or the first half a page, depending on whether you counted the number of words that had reached his eyes or the number that had reached his brain. His phone was now playing Nick Cave, which suited his mood: dark and sophisticated. He was avoiding the Murder Ballads though. They made him too uncomfortable these days.
Then the amazing happened. She came. It was past four and she still came anyway. Except tonight things were not quite right.
For one, she overshot the pumps and had to reverse back, spinning the tyres bad-temperedly as she did so. Secondly, she didn’t jump out of the car, she got out and slammed the door. She played with her nails in a distracted fashion while the car filled up. She marched to the door, then instead of coming directly to pay for the gas (picking up the gum/cigarettes at the counter), she went straight to the back of the store, rummaging round for something. Robert wasn’t an expert on women, but he began to suspect that she might be annoyed. Or was it upset?
Eventually, after a few minutes, she came up to the counter to pay. She had put on a pair of the station’s cheaply made sun-glasses and was holding another in her hand, rather incongruously for the time of night. A fellow vampire, Robert thought. At the very least hardly her usual speed.
He scanned the first pair of glasses, then according to the great corporate script had to say, “Sorry, miss, I’ll need the other pair.”
She hesitated for a second, “Just ring the other one up twice.”
He nearly did, but then he found himself saying, as per the rules, “I’m afraid that they’re different items. That one had blue on the arms, while the other has red. We have to put them through separately.”
“Fine,” escort sınırsız çankaya she said tetchily. She took off the glasses and handed them to him. She had a big, fresh, black eye. She might also have been crying.
Robert wished with all his heart that he’d just rung up the first pair twice.
“How would you like to pay?” he said. The script has betrayed him but now he clung to it for dear life.
“Card,” she said, digging into her handbag, then digging some more and then finally dumping the entire contents onto the ice-cream cooler.
“Goddamn. I must have left.. I don’t suppose I could have any kind of tab…”, she said without much hope.
“I’m afraid we don’t do that officially, miss” the script said.
“And unofficially?” she asked and gave him a smile.
It was at this point that Robert decided that the script could go to hell. His libido was screaming at him that here was a damsel in distress: don your white armour, sally forth, slay the dragon and bring the princess back to thy castle. After all, as dragons go, this is a doddle. Robert’s hindbrain was immediately going for his wallet, but he stopped. He had no chance with this woman. Paying for her petrol would getting him another smile, at absolute most a peck on the check, then she’d ride off into the night. Princesses these days were not what they once were. Was there a smarter way of playing this?
He looked out the window at her car, “Nice, a 1982, 308 GTS Quattrovalvole Ferrari.” Robert had never really been a car person, but had developed some rather localized fascinations recently and had flipped through a car book for five minutes while picking up his art books from the library. “I tell you what, you give me a five-minute drive in that baby and a photograph, and I’ll cover your petrol.”
“That’s so sweet. You’re into cars?” she smiled again.
Robert wished he had spent ten minutes doing the research, as he’d now exhausted his fact-file. He decided to go the frank route, “Not really, but a picture of me and you in that thing is going to do wonders for my street cred around here. Who knows, I might even tell my grandkids, that you were the one that got away.”
“Well, get-aways have always been my speciality” she said and threw him the keys. Despite not being ready, he actually managed to catch them. He still looked surprised.
“Well, you’re not going to get any cred if you let me drive,” she laughed.
3:27am February 17th
The next time came she into the shop, she was more her usual confident self. The jump, the bend, and the sashay were all back. She was chewing gum so needed a packet of cigarettes. The injury around her eye was well covered by make-up and invisible unless you were looking for it.
After she paid for everything, she reached into her handback and pulled out a wad of notes. “For you for last time,” she said.
Robert got her meaning at once. “You don’t have to. Besides, I was the one driving,” he said.
“Yes, but it’s my car and you were only driving because…well, look, its not really about who was driving. I can afford this easily and you…well, not so easily maybe. I’m sorry I put you in that position,” she said.
Robert laughed and pointed to a framed containing the fine and the photograph behind him, “Are you joking, How’s that for my street cred. I’ve got official proof of me driving a Ferrari at 160 miles per hour with…” He paused for a fraction of a second. What words did you use to describe the type of woman sitting in the passenger seat in the photograph? His friends and co-workers had made a lot of suggestions, even if some of them had just been sounds. None of could be said directly to her face though. “…you,” he finished rather lamely. “Now when the grandkids say gramps is slow and boring, I have evidence to the contrary.”
He meant every word but the fine had been a big sting financially. In honesty, he’d been lucky to get away with just a fine. If the lady hadn’t been there with him, he’d probably have got prison time for reckless driving the way he’d been out of control. As it was, the officers were highly trained to weigh up many factors when deciding on the penalty and after a good weight up, both were in agreement that his passenger really did have a great ass and mitigated accordingly. Unfortunately, the minimum was still calculated by how many miles per hour you were over the speed limit and so still ending up feeling pretty maximal. Perhaps there was a way he could get the money, keep his moral principles and bring himself closer to his muse at the same time, if he played it cool enough.
“Although,” he said, “I won’t deny the money would help. I had to tap my mum to cover my rent this month.”
Not cool enough. Robert started again.
“I mean I don’t feel comfortably just taking your money, but, look, I’m applying to study Visual Design at college next year,” he said. “I need to put together a portfolio and, if çankaya eve gelen escort bayan I can show I’ve got commissioned work, that makes my application even stronger. Rather than just give me that money, if you buy some of my art from me, that would help me out a lot.” He indicated the fridge, which had a replacement version of his 40’s poster now hanging on it. “You’ve already started a collection after all.”
A downside of this approach was that it potentially outed him as a creepy stalkerish type, but on the other hand, it also outed her as a thief. He was risking that it would all cancel out although he wasn’t a hundred percent sure how this kind of algebra worked. She turned to look back at the poster.
“Damn, I knew…okay, fine, then give me anything you’ve got lying around.”
Well, that was money and morals accounted for, but not the muse yet. He needed to push a little bit harder for the full house. Besides he didn’t have anything lying around; nothing that wouldn’t be out of place on the album cover of a bad Iron Maiden LP anyway.
“No, no, I think you misunderstood. It’d be your own custom artwork, made to your own brief. We could do more like the poster from before or something totally different. Maybe something totally different, you know, show them I’ve got range. How about it? Model for me and I’ll make you the modern day Mona Lisa.”
She rolled her eyes but laughed, “Okay, kiddo, whatever. I haven’t got time to be hanging around though. You’ll have to take some pictures and work from those. Here, you can take the money as a down payment now. I was giving it to you now anyway.”
Robert cursed not having his mother’s expensive camera with him. He only had his beat-up phone which had fewer pixels than it should. He was just unlocking it and getting the camera app ready when she pulled her shirt off over her head and revealed her magnificent round breasts.
“Oh, no, that’s not…” he started to say quickly.
“I thought it was my brief,” she said. “And I’ve always been more of a Venus than a Mona.” It was hard to disagree with that.
She popped off her bra. “Okay, Jack, paint me like one of your French ladies.”
Robert knew enough not so say that his name wasn’t Jack or that he didn’t know anyone French, but after that he was completely bewildered.
She was bewildered by his bewilderment. “You know…Titanic…oh, right, before you were born. Darn that stings.”
Jack had in fact watched Titanic when he was 6-year-old, but hadn’t seen much point in watching anything before it struck the ice-burg. He was becoming increasingly aware that not having had any sisters had left certain vital gaps in his education.
She stood by the glass of the store. He took pictures in a variety of poses: leaning with an elbow on the glass, cupping and lifting her breasts up, pressing both hands to her face with in an expression of shock, beckoning with a come-hither hand signal and so on. Suddenly another car pulled into the gas station, it’s headlights illuminating her for just a second. By the time the customer came in to pay for the gas, she was fully dressed and ready to leave. Robert wasn’t sure if he’d seen anything or not; sure the guy took a good long look at her as he came in, but men tended to do that regardless.
As she turned to go, Robert said, “Thank you, miss…”, he paused, “I’m sorry I don’t know your name.”
“No,” she laughed. “I don’t suppose you do. Take care, kid.”
After she left, Robert realized that, naturally, a security camera had been pointed at the door and had captured each and every one of her poses.
3:52am April 24th
A couple of months had gone by before the next time Robert’s patroness reappeared. He hadn’t minded too much. He now had her pictures to keep him company and he was getting familiar with every line and curve of her body. It had taken him a few nights to settle down and actually work with them, rather than just stare, but eventually he’d become at least semi-productive. He had made some half-decent sketches and thrown a few different ideas together on the software. He’d was regularly brining in his drawing pad and stylus so he could draw through the night. It wasn’t quite working though so he tried another approach tonight. He was so engrossed that he didn’t even see the Ferrari pull up at the pumps.
She was smoking, so obviously she was buying gum. You weren’t supposed to smoke in a store these day and at a gas station even less, of course, but there was no way Robert would ever bring himself to ask her to stop. He’d be happy to die in her glorious fireball.
“How are you getting on,” she asked. There was something different about her, but Robert couldn’t put his finger on it. Rather embarrassingly he tilted the screen towards her. He’d was working on a half-finished outline of a woman who obviously wasn’t her.
“More commissions?” she asked.
“Not really. I’ve never done this style before, so I’m learning while I’m doing, and it’s probably better to make all my mistakes on a model who isn’t you. That was, when I’m really ready, I’m doing it fresh.”
She couldn’t really argue with the logic but she still seemed disappointed. As she was paying she asked, “Do you have a back-office with a sink or something?”
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