Mixing oils, and trying to get her color just right. Pink. No—her arms were like the inside of a conch. Gregson looked her up and down with his artistic eye. He could spot crime from a mile away, but painting a nude, made him self-conscious. He had to get nude, himself, to feel normal—while he stroked the canvas.

“How’s my portrait coming?” She asked.

“I don’t know if I’ve done your breasts justice.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.”

“How’s my physique shaping up?” Gregson asked.

“I’ve painted you—the way I see you,” she giggled.

“How’s that?”

“You’ll see.”

Gregson met Madelynn wine tasting. After 3 glasses, one of them said… “Let’s get out of here.”

Gregson couldn’t remember who said it. He had a habit of painting to take his mind off oblivion, and when he looked at his work later—that’s when he saw it. Sometimes, it’s not what we finish that matters, but what we can forget.

“I can’t wait any longer,” Gregson said.

“I’m almost done. How am I looking?” Madelynn asked.


Madelynn huffed. “You big man—I want to see what you’ve painted.” She walked across the room like a cat, and felt the hair on his back with her middle finger. “My breasts aren’t that big!” She gasped.

“I know. Let me see my painting.” Gregson waddled over to his full portrait. “You’ve made me thinner.”

“That’s if you hit the gym 5 days a week and stop eating pizza.”

“But I love cheese. Life should be lived with love.”

Madelynn’s dark hair swayed behind the arch of her back. She was holding the brush to enunciate her words. It was better than sex—like smelling a peach before tasting it.

The art room was Gregson’s study—his leather chair, first edition books, note pad, and view of Chessfield Park. It was the place where thinking usually got done—now his head had been invaded by a woman. Gregson looked at her crimson lipstick, her wine glass. He was about to say something when his phone rang.

“Yes—this is Gregson.”

“It’s Murphy.”

“Jeezz—how long has it been?”

“Too long—what are you up to?”

“Painting nudes.”

“You dog—I have a case for you. There’s been a murder at a creative conference. Can you blend-in with artsy-fartsy-folks?”

“I can hold my own.”

“I’m going to text you the coordinates.”

Better send that via email.”

“You always were different, Gregson. Time to join the 21st Century.”

“I believe smart phones make people stupid.”

4 thoughts on “Chapter 1 Painting in the Nude

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