Painted Places

Galvin and his business partner parted ways. He had made a killing promoting drunken jousting. The actors were brilliant in their portrayal of steeds. The young lady was a fine addition as well.

His decision to voluntarily submit to the stocks with his partner was for promotion purposes entirely. What better way to advertise himself than right at the city gates?

The stocks on such a cold night was risky business. He could very well have died from exposure. Such was the price of show business.

After the joust and the stocks, there would be a lot of gossip about Galvin. All of the party types would be at the Puke to see more shenanigans.

For now, Galvin needed a nap. The Puke was just as good a place as any. It had been a long night. The innkeeper gave Galvin his room for a discounted price.

Word would spread quickly that he would perform again. Galvin stretched out on the bed and just started to drift off when he heard the unmistakable upchuck sound. Distastefully, he looked out of his window and saw a man vomiting his guts out. A pint of Screaming Peaches will do that. It was relatively early, so chances were good he still was feeling last night.

The pints would call again and the patron would be back for more. Alcohol was like that. He abstained from the pints and the pipes purposefully.

He bundled up with the threadbare blankets provided and sleep came instantly. Galvin

dreamed of barbarians in a faraway land, keeping bees. Barbarian beekeeping. He laughed in his sleep. Visions of dueling wine tasters,warrior notaries, and mercenary laundrymen spoke to him.

It was a unique slumber only Galvin the Bard could have.

When he awoke, it was late afternoon. He splashed water from a bucket on his face. There was a polished piece of metal on the wall to serve as a mirror and he pulled a razor edged stiletto knife out of his bag. He admired the blade. It was a gift that gave a good shave in a pinch. He proceeded to remove the day’s accumulated whiskers.

He recognized Violet’s pretty voice in the hallway. She was mopping the floor and singing an exquisite tune.

Her voice made chills go up and down your spine. Galvin knew an artist when he heard one. She was good.

He knew of her tragic story and decline. Living the life of a musician and actor could be hard.

Everyone knew Violet was down for a compliment. They would feed her a line and reel her in. Violet had a few tricks of her own to get what she needed. She wasn’t without savvy.

He listened to every word from her airy voice.

A sailor walked down the halway. Galvin could tell by the sound of the footsteps. He had a knack for reading future customers. He popped his head out the door.

The sailor walked up to Violet. She stopped singing as he approached

” You sure are cute,”

Violet blushed.

“for a bottom feeder.” Violet smiled anyway.

The sailor said, “I’m just joking. Close your eyes.” Violet closed her eyes. ” imagine you are by the beach and walking with your man in arm.” The sailor took her arm.

“He tells you,you are the most gorgeous woman in the whole wide world, dumpling.”

Violet was taken and it showed. She was elated and her face turned a bright red. The sailor spun Violet in a circle and drew her close.

” well open your eyes and weep because it just isn’t true. You are droopy and old. You’ve outlived your worth and you should pay people to look at you. You are a nasty hag.”

The man’s eyes were evil and he pushed her aside, walking out of the inn laughing as he went. Violet yelled, ” you are a bastard.”

Today, perhaps it was Galvin’s recent night in the elements or something he ate, but He was touched by her song.

Galvin was hard, but the cruelty of the sailor was unexpected and unnecessary.

Violet did not cry. She absorbed every word, believed it.

Galvin closed his door. He had a long night ahead. He wished he had not snooped. It was time to tune his instruments and rehearse his stand up.

More movement went down the way. He could not resist. This was a woman walking. He looked out the door. Bingo! He was right again! Galvin was on a roll. It was going to be a great night.

Violet began talking to the woman.

Forever the information gathering type, he eavesdropped yet again. It was a vile addiction to him.

Violet told her about the sailor. It was as if she admired the man. Twisted.

She would buy perfume and paint for her face to impress him if he came back. He continued listening further.

She was worried about how she will pay for her room at the Puking Peasant and pay for these things. She did not know how she would manage it but she would try.

Galvin regretted his addiction again.

A Bard must ever be sharp like the stiletto he was gifted. He tuned his instrument and began to mumble,

“Sharp.

A# Sharp

Be Sharp.

Minor or Major,

If I get too involved,

I will lose the savor,

To absorb flavor,

Of current behavior.”

Not his best work, but pretty good for a warm up.

The cold night brought customers ready to warm themselves with a bowl of hearty stew, fresh rolls and of course, screaming peaches.

Galvin looked around the great room of the inn.

The creative guy from earlier in the afternoon was not there. She was, however.

He had a knack to to make his presence unknown. He called it changing faces. Nothing magical, just a demeanor change.

Galvin stood up suddenly.

“A Toast, to all Patrons and Fellow Pukes!

A shout out to the Screaming Peaches!”

The room came alive and he had their attention.

“Tonight, I present to you mannerless, milk livered, vomit eating weasal turds a station, to kindly take your large donation.”

“The words I present are this.”

He cleared his throat in an exaggerated fashion.

“We paint a fence, walls, statues, signs and spaces,

but the real disgrace is,

why why why

do we paint faces?

Do trees need paint?

How about a kitten?

They are alive, my friends, unlike a fence or a mitten.

Dead things wear paint, show me how you thrive,

Wipe off the paint, you are alive!

Wipe off the paint, beloved creature,

Show your face, your God given feature.

Beautiful Valued Treasure,

Your vivid comes from God’s measure.

Natural gets the heart thumping,

You are gorgeous in God’s eyes dumpling.”

The patrons look at one another. Boooo! The Bard was having an off night.

A steamy dinner roll hit Galvin on his arm.

” why aren’t we alive! No paint for that one!”

He pointed at the assaulter. ” look at you! On a roll!” Galvin laughed.

No one found him funny.

Galvin was not deterred.

“He pulled out the strange instrument given to him by the Heron and began to play. He smiled at the patrons.

There is much drama about,

fighting for the most clout.

Politics, manipulation

Not my taste,

Wars of nation.

I will tell you what does interest me,

A picnic with you beside the sea.

The salt it’s taste I have not tasted,

It seems a shame the time wasted.

You are the taste I hunger for,

To sit with you on strange shore.

Collecting shells and toes all sandy,

This experience with you would be quite dandy.

Let us plan my love, to go away

To shores of sea where we will play.

You are loved my beautiful sweet,

When we tire, on hammock seat.

I will sing at sunset,

of our adventures,

Where we went.

Cannot wait to see the sea

with thee.”

Galvin was booed out of the inn. The patrons wanted something exciting and riske. He had not properly set the stage to make a statement.

Oh well, some other time.

Author: The Storyteller

Don't count the lions. It will make you afraid and slow you down.

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