I had just finished Rainbow Kites and was hoping for some time to work on the next draw from the UFO Lottery when there was a knock on the door. Oh no!
A tall thin guy came in. Dressed in a coat that had seen better days, faded jeans, a hoodie. An unruly mop of hair framing a pair of glasses. I recognised him at once.
‘Professor! Welcome to my humble dwellings. Nice to see you again. – You haven’t changed at all.’
I had met the Professor a couple of years ago in the sci-fi department of a big bookstore in London while looking for a souvenir book to bring home from my holiday. Being a little lost I had asked him for a recommendation. He seemed nice and I invited him on a cup of coffee in return for his help. But of course I never saw him again.
‘Professor? I never told you.’ He raised his left eyebrow.
‘Some of my customers mentioned you occasionally – well, someone like you. Just had to put the pieces together. – Now, what can I do for you?’
‘I’m looking for something to hang in my study. I understand that you don’t sell any of your pieces. But what about a commission?‘
‘Hmm. Depends on the amount of work, actually. Things are a little busy at the moment, I’m afraid.’
‘Well, I thought about a smaller piece, about one meter square.’
‘Any specific colours that you’ve got in mind?’
‘Brown and blue – they’re my favourites.’ – He looked around. – ‘What’s that over there?’
‘Just my pile of UFOs.’
‘May I have a look?’
He had picked up the corner of one of the pieces. ‘This one looks interesting.’
‘Oh, eh, yes. Not my usual standard of piecing, I’m afraid. The points, see?’
‘Well, as I’m a little nearsighted I wouldn’t really notice from a distance.’
He ran his long fingers across the top. ‘I like it. – Would you … ? – I mean … if you’re not …’
‘Wanting it for myself? I think I could part with this one. – By the way, another cup of coffee? Or tea, perhaps?’
‘Oh yes, tea please. With a splotch of milk.’
‘I’ll put the kettle on.’
After discussing a border solution we agreed on a narrow dark brown border and a back made of the same batik fabric, no quilting.
Before he left, I had one more thing to ask him.
‘Tell me, Professor, did you send Arnold my way?’
‘What, is he causing trouble?’
‘No, not at all. Except for the Orion incident. But that’s another story. – He appeared one day totally desperate with a patchwork piece in small box which was astonishingly big on the inside.’ – He smiled. – ‘I fixed his piece for him and now he’s bringing in the occasional new customer. From their stories I knew you were still around. I was always hoping to see you again one day.’
‘Your wish has been granted’, he grinned.
Of course, the ‘Professor’ character is totally fictitious like Arnold and Fiona. The book store I have in mind is located elsewhere and I’ve never met this man. But I know exactly how he looks like. 😉