(In retrospect, I suspect he really didn’t hear me, but now will insist he did.)
What he said was: "I really like this one," and pointed to a particular sculpture.
"But it wasn’t for sale, I see."
"Because he," I said, gesturing to the sculpture, who was a ‘he’, "said he can’t be sold.."
"Hmm…" "Well, that’s a very good reason."
He asked, "What does this mean?" pointing at the title. I explained some things and he truly listened.. I liked this fellow right off---he was good people, an old soul.
Then he told me about some of his stories and the why of them. The stories sounded important. (They are.)
It was getting late, so I told him I was sorry I couldn’t sell him the sculpture.
He looked at his watch.
"Come with me---we won’t be long", he said. He took off across the hall with me nearly running to keep up, through a door to a corridor that went down and down, past the kitchen through the door to outside.
We were in the alley between two buildings, cut off at one end by a tall wooden fence. Quiet, no traffic noise, but then this was the business district on Sunday evening.
Neil squinted at the fence. It was twilight--- when the light gets real funny. The streetlights hummed, but weren’t on yet.
A white cat appeared from nowhere, and paced along the top of the fence to the end, where it met the building, and vanished.
I gasped. Neil did not.
An identical cat appeared where the first had, paced to the end and again, vanished. Then another, and another.
I gaped at the empty spot. Neil cleared his throat. The streetlights flickered on.
A harlequin cat, he was white on one side, nose to tail. His other side was near black, invisible in the dark.
He looked at us with green eyes in that half-white, half-black face.
I could only stare and think this was odd enough to be a dream, or a flashback.
Then the cat spoke. Okay then, a nightmare. His voice was sort of like a viola inside my head.
Alright then, time to head to the studio and make art. Remember to brush your teeth and always check under your bed.
This episode brought to you by RATBAG