On the wharf were gay clubs, art galleries, bars, houses of witchcraft, fish markets, and a steady stream of smells, coming from the sea urchins that lived like barnacles on the boardwalk—they were sailors, hairstylists, painters, antique dealers, vendors, and tourists. Patches in the fog of scents were mixing, without anyone’s permission—cotton candy and fish, tacos and ketchup, tobacco and coffee.
Gregson was thinking about scones. He smelled them, but then they washed-out to sea in the salty air.
It was the art gallery he intended to visit. Gregson opened the glass door, and walked inside with Madelynn.
Thin, non-binary art appraisers were pointing at paintings with spindly fingers, and gasping at the bad taste, hanging on the walls.
“Oh my god—have you ever seen something so disgusting—quite hideous.”
They walked by the paintings and graded the artwork. Then they looked at Gregson who had decided to put-on cargo shorts, with a golf shirt. He failed their appraisal. Gregson was a portrait of slobby masculinity.
“You can’t possibly want anything to do with these finger paintings,” one of them said. “Are you a collector?”
“I collect guns.”
“I would be interested in a portrait of a naked woman. Do you have one?” Gregson asked.
“Let me see—ah—Henry, from the merchant marine—doesn’t have any women he can paint—that’s why we have so many naked men for sale—they’re sailors. Henry wishes he could paint the opposite sex, but no women have volunteered to be scrutinized by his artistic eye.”
“I’ve been working on the female form, myself,” Gregson said. “It can be difficult to paint the cunt hairs. I haven’t perfected the technique yet.”
“Honey, you can’t say that in public,” Madelynn corrected.
“I can say cunt in pubic!” Gregson shouted.
“Sir, you are a toxic man. Perhaps, you should educate yourself.”
“I just did,” Gregson said. “Now—we have a ferry to catch, so I will leave you to watch the paint dry.”