The Artist

by Jeremiah Johnson on January 4, 2015

in FICTION, ME AND...

the artist

There was an old man who lived in the hills, he took pictures of women to get him his thrills. How did he do it, this dirty old man? We may never know. He called it “art”. Art I have seen, this was pictures of titties. Know what I mean?

Pervert Bob was a full time delivery driver, part time pornographer. Well according to himself and all the women who posed for him he was an “Artist”, with a capital “A”. In our little town he took pictures of any girl who was even remotely attractive. I gotta give the guy props for running the long-con so well. I only hope I’m able to get nineteen year olds to get naked for me when I’m sixty five (in the name of art of course).

As I said Bob and the girl’s all claimed he was an artist. I have got nothing against artists (or nude photos for that matter). What bugged me was the misrepresentation of what he did; soft-core pornographic photos. All very artistic you see. It didn’t ease my mind that my girlfriend was one of his top models either. She was a tenant of his and could pay her rent by posing for him.

I didn’t even care that she posed for him. Like I said, almost every girl in town had at one time or another. What pissed me off was that once a girl got naked for the old letch you could never even get them to consider the possibility that he was anything but an “Artist” (with a capital “A”). He was an Artist, period.

It was a great scam for him. I have no idea how he pulled it off. But he did. Every girl I knew had their picture taken by Bob. To a woman they would swear he was an Artist. I don’t know much about the study of photography myself but I would think if you were an “Artist” you would have all sorts of pictures in your portfolio – some fruit, a landscape (we did live at 10,000’ in the Rockies after all), anything. He wasn’t THAT kind of artist. No, with Pervert Bob it was all titties all the time. A titty artist, more power to him.

So that was Bob. I didn’t like him much. How much would you like your girlfriend’s landlord if he got to see her naked all the time and accepted her nudity as rent? Bob’s only redeeming quality was the annual house party he’d throw. All his subjects would show up from all over the mountains. Some would even come in from the coasts once they’d moved away. In a sleepy mountain town where women are scarce, a party that collects all the finest of them, and even flies in those who’d left, in one booze soaked evening is a treat. To say the least.

At the time, I was living next door to Bob so a few friends stopped by my place to pre-game, ah better living through chemistry, before heading over to the soiree. On the menu for that particular evening was fungi. So Jason, Neal and I snacked on quite a few, washing them down with Bushmille’s and beer. Michelle, my girlfriend, was getting ready next door at her apartment. Neal, being the only single one between the three of us, was excited; a party in the mountains with a 2:1 ratio favoring men was as rare as a unicorn and he planned on taking full advantage, though I questioned the wisdom of the prodigious amounts of psilocybin prelude to whoring.

A touch more of the water of life to wash away the fungal flavor and we were ready to rock and/or roll. Being right next door allowed us to gauge exactly when to make our entrance. Waiting until enough fillies flocked by for maximum effect. It was all for Neal’s benefit, plus it was fun. The three of us constituted the best among the menfolk of the mountains; the best chef in Boulder county, Jason, Head Snowmaker/semi-pro snowboarder, Neal, and manager of the best restaurant in the mountains, me. Jason and I envied Neal that night. Lucky single prick.

We ducked around back and up onto the deck, thus avoiding the crush at the front door where the coatroom bottlenecked everyone down to single file. Here Pervert Bob posted up greeting his guests and thankfully tossing a few guys who’d just shown up without an invitation. Hell, the only reason I was allowed in was Michelle and keeping the hordes of horny neo-hippies at bay was key to making these get-togethers as epic as they were.

You’d think his reluctance to allow men into his parties would clue in the women that this “Artist” was an old lecher. Alas, no. And these weren’t all stupid little poo-pots either, some I counted among the smartest people I knew. I guess if you want to believe something you can despite all evidence to the contrary.

At this point the quarter ounce of mushrooms that were swimming in Bushmille’s started to squirm. I was fairly certain a little alien head was getting ready to pop out of my gut. If I gave it beer to drink it might stay put though, so I headed towards the fridge. As I popped the cap I noticed my wingmen had vanished so I headed for the back porch to get some air. It had started to snow, falling in fluffy clumps that floated in the suddenly bitter cold air. I was underdressed in a Hawaiian shirt but my pre-game snack kept me warm.

The reason I remember what I was wearing that night is because just then Mandy, a local girl who was a serious rock climber and had the rock hard, lean body associated with the sport, stepped onto the deck with her new digital camera and started snapping photos. One of these has me in my Hawaiian shirt with snow in my hair and still hangs in my parents kitchen. As a rule I look horrible in photos, with the exception of when I am high on hallucinogenics of one kind or another. A photo my brother and I had taken professionally as a gift for our parents one Christmas is another example of this phenomena. I look great while tripping balls. But back to the party…

Mandy wandered off, taking pictures of everything as she went. I went in search of Michelle. I was sidetracked briefly by a fat joint and an utterly forgettable conversation with Pervert Bob and a few girls in Bob’s room. The smoke was just what I needed. The talk I tried to block out, quasi-intellectual’s pontificating on subjects they no doubt think deep make my testicles shrivel like jumping into a frozen lake. I’ve sat through too many dinner parties thrown by Naropa students; I know from posers posing. So as it shrunk to a roach I made my excuses and continued my search.

I passed Mandy in the hall and through the snap, snap, snap of her camera I asked if she’d seen Michelle.

“Who?”

“My girlfriend, Michelle.”

“You don’t have a girlfriend,” she almost purred.

“Yeah thanks, hon.”

I wandered away to the sound of her new toy snapping away, still on the search. I tried to sip on my now empty beer and changed course to hit up the kitchen for a new one. There, in the kitchen, I found Jason sitting on the countertop, high as a kite, a huge smile splitting his skull as he told wild stories to a small group of ladies who watched him with a combination of awe and lust. He was always irresistible when he forgot himself and didn’t try. He was hopeless when he tried to pick up a woman, but aren’t we all? I gave him a knowing wink and passed him a fresh beer as I walked out. He took it without pausing in his telling of a tale of wonder in the streets of San Francisco to his rapt audience.

I was walking, smiling in the somewhat twisted but crystal clear world where even mundane objects had a sparkling charm, when I ran into “Small Rob” on the stairs. Rob was the local silver-smith, called “Small” because surprise, surprise he was the smallest non-midget anyone ever saw. He was making me a ring for Michelle’s birthday.

“Lee I’m almost done with Michelle’s ring and…”

“Rob, Rob stop. If we start talking about it you know she’ll pop up outta nowhere.”

“Gotcha.”

“Cool. So have you seen Michelle around?”

“Yeah I saw her a couple of hours ago. I came by early to help Bob set up…”

“Doesn’t really help me, but thanks. And Rob, don’t talk about that ring tonight please.”

“You got it partner.” and he continued down the stairs and I up, towards the now familiar snap, snap, snap of Mandy’s camera..

I thought I could sneak past her as she took pictures of Pervert Bob’s pictures on the wall in the hall. As I said before, some of the smartest women were models for Bob. The house was old and the stairs were creaky. Just as the snapping stopped a creak cracked and Mandy had her favorite model for the evening; good old Lee, that’s me. I was deep into my journey now and, through the whirling colors filling the shadows with fey lights, I was assaulted by a flash so bright it actually staggered me for a moment.

When I could see again Mandy was standing very close, her camera the only thing keeping her from being pressed completely against me. “I want to take pictures of you,” she was pushing me into a guest room.

“Ahh…”

“Just lay back and I’ll do all the work.”

Her leg wrapped around mine like some petite muscly kung-fu bitch. She lowered me by my sweet Hawaiian shirt, the buttons popping off (the sweet wooden ones, or bamboo? Whatever they were the ones that come with the Original Hawaiian shirts) in the process.

“Ahh…” I added smoothly.

“Just lay back,” she said firmly while ripping the remaining buttons off as she roughly bared my chest. Now straddling me, the camera hung around her neck until she took it in hand and started snapping away. “That’s great baby,” she said in what I guess she imagined was a sexy voice.

Through the flashes going off like a strobe light I saw her. Really saw her for the first time. She was reptilian looking. “Ah!” I squirmed under her and she squeezed her rock climber/reptile thighs.

“Lay still I’ll take care of you,” snap/flash, snap/flash, Human/Lizard, Human/Lizard. She moved in to kiss me allowing me to clearly see the scales on her reptilian face. Her tongue was forked.

“AHH!” I pushed her off me and made for the door in a panic. She was on the floor hissing at me. I made it out of the room and headed straight for the fridge, thoughts of lizard-men running through my head. I knew the truth; she wasn’t a lizard-woman, but somewhere in the past a lizard-man had slithered through her family tree.

I made it to the fridge and the beer, thank God. Beer would calm me. As I took a long pull on that sweet nectar Michelle came into the kitchen.

“I’ve been looking for you all night, hon. You won’t believe the…”

“You’re right I won’t believe anything you say, you fucking asshole!”

“Wait. What are you…”

“I know how hard you’ve been looking for me.”

“You do?”

“Get out of my house!”

“What?”

“I can’t believe you’d fuck that skank in my house.”

“WHAT?”

“Did you think I wouldn’t wake up?”

“WHAT?”

“I was in the guest room when you fucked that whore!”

“WHAT!?”

“I heard you.”

“Heard me what?”

“Fuck you! You can’t talk your way out of this one. I WAS THERE LEE! I heard the whole thing!”

“You what? Why didn’t you help?”

“Fuck you! You think I’d join you and that whore? Who was it? Huh? I couldn’t look but I heard plenty. You fucking arrogant asshole! You come in my house and fuck some girl in the same room I’m in and then you ask why I didn’t JOIN you. Fuck you, get the FUCK OUT NOW!” A crowd was watching us now.

I opened the fridge and went for another beer. “Oh no! You can’t have any of MY beer. Now get out!” Her pale ginger skin was so red her freckles were gone.

“I didn’t…”

“Out! Now!” There was a snap of a camera as she screamed those words at me. I was going home for some whiskey. I heard another snap as I walked out the door.

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