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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Mystery · #2272814
Writer's Cramp
I am a painter, in both senses of the word. I sell the occasional artwork but not enough to make a living. So I paint houses, offices, anywhere that needs a quick coat of emulsion to brighten the place up. It is boring work most of the time, but it keeps a roof over my head.

My current contract is to paint the office of Mannfred Glynkle Autoumsatz, a car dealership specialising in German models. "Careful, if we scratch one of these we'll end up out of pocket." I watched as Billy swung the ladder around the showroom, closing my eyes each time it came within inches of a shiny new vehicle.

"Right, we need to move everything to the middle of the room and cover it." I laid down the computer monitor, just to be safe. "Ready?" Billy nodded. "Lift." We came close to disaster; Billy was walking backwards and tripped on a rug. His end dropped and everything began to slide. I dropped my end just in time.

"Sorry, Fred."

"You will be if anything gets broken."

I rolled up the rug and put it outside the office. Meanwhile, Billy was moving a printer trolley. "What do I do with this?" He held out a painting. I hadn't noticed it before. It was a portrait of sorts. Eyes at weird angles, a triangular nose askew. I looked for the familiar signature; Picasso. It was absent. I looked to the back for clues. Engraved into the frame were the words 'Eigentum von A. Hitler.'

"How's it goin' guys?" The suit was expensive, the accent definitely cockney. I hid the painting under the desk. "'Case you're wonderin', real name's Barry White. But when you're sellin' high end German motors it goes over better with a German soundin' name." He moved around the desk and grabbed the painting. "I see you've fallen for my little joke."

"Is it ..." I didn't know what to say.

"Follow me." Barry lead me to a door at the back of the showroom. Inside was an artist's studio. Picassoesque paintings lined the walls and were stacked on shelves. "I sell 'em on the Sunday market. Surprising the number of punter's think they're buyin' stolen art." He handed each of us one of his Picassos. "I went to art school but I never made it with my own work. This is a nice little earner, especially with the Hitler thing on the back."

I'm more of a Matisse myself. Barry made me one of those stamps. They're selling like hotcakes. "Zeig Hail!"

425 words

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