I wanted to know why Katy never signed her work but before I could ask, Miss Mabel cut the conversation short by saying “come on in here. I have a lemon meringue pie that is so good you’ll want to slap your mama.”
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. As I said, Miss Mabel was a real hoot. She cut two rather large slices of pie and handed me one on a little plate that had to have been made the year she was born.
I was thinking, “first the caffeine, sugar filled Coca Cola and now a slice of pie that makes my teeth hurt just looking at it.” I was sure I would be in a diabetic coma before I got back home but I indulged and it was just as Miss Mabel said. It didn’t necessarily make me want to slap my mama but it made me want to slap myself for the sugar high I was sure to be experiencing pretty soon.
Then she rather abruptly said “it’s time for my mid-afternoon nap. Run on now. You can take the plate with you and bring it back tomorrow.”
I felt like a delinquent child being sent home after being caught with my hand in the cookie jar, but I wasn’t angry. I hoped to live long enough to some day need mid-afternoon naps.
As I walked back home, the image of that mural seemed to be burned into the retinas of my eyes. Then I wondered, “had Katy painted murals for other neighbors?”
I decided to visit Dawn Rising. She answered the door, wearing nothing but a t-shirt and a smile. One of the fattest cigars I had ever seen in my life was clenched between her teeth. It bobbed up and down as she said “did you decide it was time to cleanse your house?”
I said “actually, I wondered if you had any paintings, like maybe a mural on one of your walls.” Dawn looked at me and said “that’s a strange question to ask somebody the first time you visit them. Do you have any paintings on your wall?” She laughed and said “actually, I do.” I asked if I could see it and she said “sure. Come on in. It’s over here.”
There was a fireplace in her front room that had been enclosed. On the enclosure was a painting of a white stallion against a sky that looked like it was on fire. It was in mid-flight as if trying to escape a determined cowboy’s lasso. Like Miss Mabel’s mural, this was an extraordinary piece of work.
Dawn bent down, looked at it and said “I’d like to open the fireplace back up but I would have to destroy this wonderful piece. It is truly remarkable. I mean, look at it. Every muscle is clearly defined and look at the eyes. The eyes are full of fear.” She sighed and said “It’s dated 1964 but there’s no indication of who painted it.”
I said “Katy. Katy painted it.” Dawn plopped down in a chair and said “cool. Who’s Katy?”
I told her that she was the little girl who used to live in my house and was an extraordinary artist, as she could see. I asked her if she had ever seen the mural in Miss Mabel’s house. She said she hadn’t but I might want to walk up the street and talk to “Samwell.”
“Samwell?” I asked. Dawn said “well, his name is Samuel but when he was little, he couldn’t pronounce it right…thus Samwell was born and never…well….died.” She said “after I moved here, I heard somebody talking about ‘Samwell’s dilema’ as they called it.”
“What does that mean?” I asked. She said “he bought the house and apparently there was a painting in the basement. He wanted to freshen things up but was wavering about covering up that painting. You might want to talk to him. Maybe he took a picture before he covered it up…if he covered it up.”
I was liking Dawn more and more. She had a depth that was not clearly evident at first and I had unfairly judged her as nothing more than a strange, pretend-to-be-seer, air-headed hippie.
As I was leaving, she said “do you think something happened to her?” I was taken aback and asked her why she said that. She said “I told you. Your house holds a lot of hatred and grief.”
I was thinking that maybe it was time to get my house “cleansed” but not before I had a visit with Samwell.
To be continued___________________