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15/05/2018 / hbrowne4

Boat Story by Axel James Johnston Kelly

Studio Boat

As John worked, Andrea looked around the interior. “I have to say, dad…I know you’re a real Monet fan and all, but I didn’t think you’d go this far to emulate him. I mean…a painting studio on a boat?”
“Hey, it’s got that romantic, bohemian charm to it… don’t you think?”
Andrea said nothing. She just looked out the window, staring at where the rain blattered the windows, sending huge ripples across the surface of the canal.
“Well, so okay…not right now,” John admitted, “but it’s a fine place to live.”
“Mostly.” Andrea looked pointedly at the large bucket that had been propped in the corner.
“Yeah, when the rain stops, I’ll need to take a glue gun up on the roof.”
Andrea folded her arms, the motion making the many badges on her bomber jacket rattle. “Dad, face it. A studio boat is the kind of thing you live in on the French Riviera, where there’s sunshine and wine and cheese, and pretty women who don’t think you’re being creepy when you ask if you can paint them. Dublin in February… not so much.”
“Yet,” John said firmly. “I could start a trend. Anyway, young lady, you can stop with the negativity. You said the same thing about my smock…”
“You look like John Cleese from the Village Idiot sketch.”
“… and my beret…”
“Not even French artists wear those things anymore!”
“… and my beard…”
“It’s not a beard, dad. That’s a soul patch at best. Look at yourself! You just look pretentious – you’re a good artist, a really good one; you don’t need to look the part.”
John groaned. “You sound just like your mother.”
“Well, there’s a reason you live on a boat these days.”
“That’s possibly true,” John continued painting, “though you seem to be even more of a nihilist these days. What’s wrong?”
Andrea paused a second, before she replied, “Well, Mum’s surprised me and Bomber with a couple of tickets for Trinity Ball.”
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“It is when the stupid thing’s formal, and you own only one dress, which is faded to hell and back. And definitely not even last year’s fashion – possibly circa 1930s.”
“Wait. Wait wait wait. Back up. You own a dress?”
Andrea looked sheepish. “I never got rid of the one I wore to my debs. I got it in the Old Fruit Market – you know the place that used to be there? Where you could buy the second-hand Tyrolean jackets and thirties creamy lace dresses and stuff. But the dress really is no good now – it’s got moth-holes for starters. And the thing’s completely formal, so just wearing decently smart day stuff isn’t acceptable. I need an evening dress, or a tuxedo!”
She shook her head crossly. “On the one hand, I don’t want to spend that kind of money, especially for something so stupid – the thing’s basically a rave, so why do they want formal clothes anyway? But, on the other hand…it was a lovely, kind thing for Mum to do. The tickets cost a bomb, and it must have taken her hours standing in the queue to get them… So, I need to go but, at the same time, I can’t ask her for the money to get something to wear.”
John rose, stretching as he said, “I’ll pay.”
Andrea jolted. “Wha- no, Dad! You’re living on a boat, you can’t…”
“Ah feck it. I’m the irresponsible member of the family, that’s why I’m living on a boat.”


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