A Secret Grave 59: Tsuris

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Emil came over to talk to me after I’d gotten the news that my portrait of Victor had been stolen off the transport truck when it was traveling the short distance from the convention center in Miami Beach, where Art Basel was held, to Palm Beach where Alicia had one of her galleries. I gave him a glass of wine and we went out back to my studio. I think the idea was that as a therapist he would calm me down. But I didn’t need calming. I was excited by the thought that someone wanted the portrait badly enough to steal it. To me, this was just another example of the many mysteries surrounding Victor and his disappearance.

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Peter, Rolands Lakis, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ – Photo Crop

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“It could be mere coincidence,” Emil said as he sat down on my studio couch. “Maybe Victor’s painting was easiest to grab off the truck and the person didn’t even really know what it was.”

We looked at one another dubiously. We both knew how unlikely that was.

“Just trying to look at all the possibilities,” Emil said with a sigh. I studied his face. I hadn’t seen him in a few months and he looked worn down, deflated as if a lot of worries sat on his shoulders. I remembered Alicia telling me she was concerned about him, that he was avoiding writing his third book and there were issues with money. And something else… yes, that he was gambling.

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“How are you doing?” I asked innocently.

“Oh I’m fine,” he said, repeating the word ‘fine’ twice for emphasis. “A little tsuris here and there, like needing a new roof on our house and my daughter, Cecily Rose, being sent home from school with lice a couple of times, and let’s see, I can’t write worth a damn right now…” He shook his head mournfully and then grinned at me. “Victor’s a more interesting subject. Did he ever talk to you about his family?”

I shook my head. Victor had never discussed anything but my own physical ailments with me.

“Oh well, now there’s a story,” Emil said, reaching for his wine glass.

Outside it was fully dark. A wind had risen and I could hear it rattling through the branches of the trees around the studio. I shivered and turned the heater up a notch, pulling the edges of  my jacket together as I settled into my seat and waited for Emil to begin.

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ WORRY, Kristina Dela Cour, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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