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  • Discovery at Little Hog Island (novel hopeful, in progress)

    * *

    "Why yes, that would be fine. I'd love to share my etchings, paintings, posters and photos with you. How about dinner tonight at 7? Bucky will tell you how to get there. Or better yet, Bucky, why don’t you come, too. The upstairs bathroom faucet is leaking again and could use manly touch.”


    “That’s Billy Owens,” Ross whispered to Dana, pointing to a framed painting on top of the large, ornate sideboard. The painting showed a grinning boy holding up a string of fish. A small black and white photo of the same scene was propped beside it. Dorothy was out of the room getting them drinks.

    “Of course," Ross continued, "it wasn’t on display when I lived here. It old, really old. She painted it in high school. Must have had it tucked away somewhere.”

    Dana leaned over and peered at the painting and at the photo. She pulled her reading glasses out of her pocket, removed them from their battered tube, and studied the picture. Billy Owens had shocks of pale hair and bright, pale blue eyes with dark edges on the irises. His teeth were straight, his face slightly round, his chin manly in a boyish way, but also a little pointed and elfish.

    “Looks like Simon.”

    “His Dad. I adopted Simon, of course.” Dorothy came into the room with a tray.

    “And he was a wonderful father. To all four of our children.”

    “Dorothy always did have supersonic ears,” Ross remarked.

    “Four?” asked Dana. She imagined she shouldn’t ask, for some reason, but the remark seemed to warrant it.

    Ross, who had been standing beside her, took two quick steps away from her and sat suddenly in the straight-backed Victorian chair a few feet away.

    Dorothy pointed to a picture where four children sat side by side on the steps of what looked like a museum or church. Boy girl boy girl, each one half a head smaller than the next. “Simon, Yllsa, Willie and Yvonya. Yvonya drowned in the same accident that injured Willie,” Dorothy said. Her voice was matter of fact, but a little flat. Dana looked up at her. Her face was pained.

    Dana looked at Ross. He was studying the hands in his lap.

    “Willie’s getting better, though,” Dorothy added.

    “Don’t let your expectations get too high, honey,” Ross said, looking up. His eyes seemed brighter and wetter than normal.

    * *

    Links for Cowbird installments of my serial novel hopeful, Discovery at Little Hog Island

    A note on the image: This is a brand new painting I just painted this morning. I painted it with acrylics on PLAIN WHITE COMPUTER PAPER--stupid--I meant to make it quick and dirty but fiddled with it and wished I'd used canvas paper. I painted it filling in for Dorothy--it's "her" painting, I did it for her. I forgot to give him nice straight teeth--you'll have to imagine those.
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