Apr 15, 2010

Monday Artday: Ancient Civilisation

The Fossilized Dog

    Two old friends, Paul and Simon, had lived together for about eleven years.
    They lived together, bachelors, not by choice, but by bad habit and bad luck.

    They'd been best school friends, then best men at each other's weddings. They'd been the best shoulder to cry on when each was divorced, and at least one of them expected to be the best mourner at the other's funeral.... eventually.

   Their home town was Petite Aux Paris, in the American Quartier of Haute Provence, just north of St Remy. It was a small American Enclave of about fifty expats who, drawn together just after the war, had purchased an entire Bastide town as a butress against the overwhelming Gallic presence of their adopted country.

  About a mile from Paul and Simon's house was a bunch of Roman Ruins, mainly a giant cemetry, dated 125 AD. For twenty years the local société historique Française had uncovered it bit by bit, stone by stone, tomb by tomb, aquaduct by aquaduct.

   Neither of the men remembered who started it, but every year on Simon's birthday, the first of August, they'd take their dog Rusty down to the cemetry, jump the 2000 year old reconstructed stone fence, sit outside the deserted cemetry keeper's cottage and drink a flagon de Beauveau Nouveau Rouge Eclat de Lune till one or both of them keeled over and lay sprawled flat on the flagstones.

   But one year Rusty didn't come back.

  That year both of the men had overdosed a touch on too much Red moonshine and, unusually, they'd both collapsed together, one atop of the other, Simon in his pretend medieval soldier's outfit, Paul in the tuxedo he'd rented just for the occasion.

  By the time they'd regained conciousness it was dark and the full moon was in high swing. Embaressingly, Paul had vomited on his silk shirt, and Simon had twisted his ankle where the chain mail had caught on his leather under pants.

 But neither of them noticed Rusty till they decided it was time to go. They were halfway to the fence and Rusty still hadn't moved. Simon called him first, then Paul, then both men together. Their voices echoed back from the empty tombs.

   But Rusty didn't move, didn't whimper, didn't howl, didn't blink.

   It wasn't till they moved closer did they see the dull grey sheen on Rusty's coat.

  Sometime in the two hours that the men had been moonshined unconscious, Rusty had turned somehow to solid, grey granite - the same grey granite of the tombstones that surrounded them.

PS Later on that night they picked Rusty up carefully, cradling him in their arms lest he should break, and with their hearts in their pockets, went in search of the town's only all night vet.
PPs Pardon my non existtant French.


  1. Wonderful tale, Andrew and the illustration fitting. Will there be more?
    Just came back from " the Vitruvian" experience. The close up of the threesome faces was fabulous. Not scary at all. Your imaginative escapades are amazing.

  2. love the creative tale to go along with the illustration Andrew, I do hope he is a magic vet!

  3. Amazing pics - very atmospheric. Hope the vet can bring Rusty back to life!!

  4. OMG! you are one heck of a storyteller. I LOVE this story. This is the best yet. I love how these men are dressed, no wonder they are divorced. Why do men love to drink themselves into unconsciousness?

    That nose in your avatar ---- I want to do a rhinoplasty --- darn it, change it back to the old Andrew avatar. I want my old Andrew avatar.

    Back to the story, how is the book coming along? Will you please draw something in the daytime. Some orange cadmium, vermilion and some white? Something like a home health nurse coming to visit but don't hurt her, don't get her injured and make her pretty.

    Have a great day.

  5. Fascinating work, text and possibilities. I sincerely hope you are going to create a book from all these wonders you have imagined and brought to life.

  6. Lol "pretend medieval soldier's outfit"! Great story, infused with moonlight and Beauveau Nouveau Rouge Eclat de Lune... :-)

    Wonderfully gothic images too...

    And thanks for the photo advice. The trouble is, I don't take so much care with them as I usually aim to replace them with scans asap but this doesn't always happen!

    Good to see you on Flickr too, see you soon...


  7. ...And did the giraffe go for the surgery or had he got used to working in the fish and chip shop by then?

  8. Hahaha! Good grief, Ces is right. You ARE a master storyteller. How do you come UP with these things! So deliciously bizarre. Beautiful lighting on this piece. Oh look! First Rusty's sitting, and then he's...what...oh! He's lifting his leg! Hahahaha

  9. You know what?? Leda and the swan aside, your story telling is becoming quite a mythology by itself! Let me see... good friends, both divorced, drinking booze at a cemetery, wearing silk shirt and leather underpants??? Only YOU can come up with this! Hahaha... I'd be lucky enough to see into that mischievous mind of yours, Monsieur Finnie!

  10. By the way, your word verification was 'grocy'. Do you think it's something I should be worried about??? Thee hehehe...

  11. Helolo,

    Err, "hello". Thanks greatly again everyone for looking at my work :) And reading my ramblings. You know, I discovered something today... my keyboard can't spell! I type in the
    correct spelling and gockbleygoob comes tou.

    Cathyann and Hannah and Karen, thanks for that! The vet, well I have feeling they (Simon
    and Paul) will get to the vet's and find him already awake, his waiting room full of
    fossilised dogs bought in by concerned owners.

    Hi Ces, men drink themselves into nconsciousness for the same reason male antelopes jump up
    and down to catch the eye of the roving lion. (ie they are very silly). Now I have the nurse
    (she comes on Mondays and Thursdays usually), So I am going to paint her cadmium after lunch.

    Ginger and Joe, thankyou for your kindness. Ginger, hopefully I will join something up. When
    I write I tend to do too many drafts, and lose the freshness. And Joe... i forgot about the
    Giraffe. I just looked out the window and he's still there, in the fish and chip shop,
    looking out at the sunshine and watching the blackbirds fly past. I think he is dreaming of a
    longer neck.... one like audrey hepburn's.

    And Bella and Amalia. You are both very wicked, you know? That the stone dog would be
    lifting his leg? Now I ask you. and leather underpants? They are all the rigour in Bastides
    all around France. That's why american men in france walk like that .....

    thanks for reading.

    I hope you can't hear the wind whistling in my head....

  12. you make me smile with the story :))

  13. and the gothic images (wonderful you!)... hmmmm, lately ive been talking to Joe about gothic things... would you join the club?


  14. Hello Mita! Thanks for visiting, i'm glad you like the story. So we are forming the Gothic Club? I'llbe right there, hold on, I need to put some cufflinks on!

  15. By the way, congrats on all your awards :)

  16. It is fortunate your duo were blotto as obviously an elderly and decrepit Medusa was creeping around the mausoleums that night.

  17. Ha HA! Great story; your sense of humour is MOST appreciated. It's a good thing he WAS wearing those leather underpants, otherwise the chain mail would have been caught somewhere else...!


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