Jacob rings the door for reception. Angie comes to open the door and let him in.
Ah, you must be Jacob, come on through to
My office, I’m Angie.
It’s a pleasure.
They shake hands and walk through to Angie’s office.
Please, turn around, let me have a good look.
Jacob turns around, and Angie surveys him from all angles.
My my, you are a perfect fit. You’ve got
Something special. Youthful, vulnerable.
Vulnerable … Joan thinks that’s a weakness.
What does she know? She just works in a dead
End job helping lowlifes into litter
Picking, mindless retail and warehousing.
I’m sure some can’t help their situation.
Maybe, but that’s still got nothing to do with modelling.
Jacob sighs and nods in agreement.
Besides, women are your target genre,
Primarily, and some fall for a hint
Of insecurity. Macho men are
Just too fake and chauvinistic, they’ve no
Notion about romance outside of the
Women fall for muscles, as well.
Yeah, more fool them. Besides, you’ve got
Muscles. OK, maybe you’re toned and lean,
So you’re not built like a rugby player,
But they’re not half as beautiful as you.
Beauty is what attracts. I don’t find that
Many suitable male models, they’re so,
So rare. They seem to be afraid to look
Even gay ones?
Not all gay men are camp, you know, though I
Understand them less than you know women.
Now, tell me more about these photo shoots.
Angie passes Jacob a few prints from underneath her desk, and he’s immediately fixated by them.
Right. Well here’s a couple of prints to get
An idea of the poses. The first
One is of a young man leaning against
A gate in the country. Notice just how
Distant he looks, he’s all pensive with his
Hands out of view. And the other’s of a
Typically philosophical pose,
Like in Melancholia by Dürer.
There’s much sadness and longing in their eyes.
I know … without parents to call my own.
Angelica was right.
She’s the painter?
Oh, forgive me! That’s right, she is. I shall
Let her explain. She’ll be here soon. Let’s get
A few photos done first, so she can get
An idea … stand over there, by the
White screen, this won’t take long. Now, just relax.
Jacob walks over to the white screen and alters his body poses in accordance with Angie’s instructions. Angie takes several photos once the poses are satisfactory.
Please, put your arms in your pockets, and look
Towards the door, right over there. Perfect …
OK. Kneel down and cross your hands between
Your knees, look up slightly towards my hands,
Not directly, so we can get a slight
Shadow … That’s wonderful, it really is! …
Now, finally, take that chair over there …
Good. Sit down, to the right, and rest your head
On your elbow … Now, part your lips slightly …
Got it! Just one more now, raise your eyes so
Slightly… that’s it! Now that wasn’t so hard?
I hope that was the last, It’s tedious.
Angie laughs and gives Jacob a mock slap across the face.
Oh no, think of it as your calling card.
Thank God. Can I have it in black and white?
Of course. Besides, most of your modelling …
Let me explain, sit down right where you were.
They both walk back to Angie’s desk.
Right. There’ll be lots of posing for life art
Classes in the local college, you know,
Sculpture, painting, drawing, that sort of thing.
You mean without any clothes on at all?
I can’t be sure. There’s a variety …
Nudes are part and parcel of art, you know?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind it, it’s just …
Perfect strangers ogling … it freaks me out!
You never know what they may have in mind …
Now you know how a young women might feel.
Listen, we vet all our clients, and all of them
Has a DBS check. As you will be,
Though I gather that you’re record is clean.
That’s more than can be said for my foster
Father, Joseph Horstrgrab, that lousy louse.
Oh, him! It’s the talk of the town! You mean
To say …? I looked at your surname and just
Assumed … I’m so sorry for you, I had
No idea. He sound like an ogre.
Well, it’s over, for me, at least but as
For him… I’d be willing to pay for the
Electric chair. I’d turn the amps up high.
You’ll be at the front of a long, long queue.
Right, now back to your modeling. Classes
Take place at the local college on each
Tuesday and, erm, Thursday evening, that’s for
Adults, and in the day on a Monday
And then Wednesday for the art school students,
Uni dropouts, and all other budding
Geniuses. All these classes start in
September. I can put your name forward
For all of the slots, if you wish. You might
Not be the sole model, it all depends
On the class size and the student demand.
That sounds ideal, just what I need. What else?
I hope you’ll be Angelica’s muse, which
Means a constant stream of posing for her.
Also, for sunglasses, coats and the like.
More boring snaps?
No no, it’s your chance to impress buyers.
Like catwalking, you mean?
Not quite, but not far off. These are for the
Designers who hope to impress major
Outlets. I’ll send you the details in an
Email later. You’ll be part of a pool
Of candidates, but as they are looking
For males as well, you’ll be at the front of
The queue. The only thing left now is to
Fill out this form in order to enroll.
Angelica should have arrived by then.
Miss Angelica Manford is welcomed through the reception area to the office, where she is introduced to Jacob by Angie.
Jacob, may I present Angelica?
They walk toward each other, stop for a second, then shake hands and kiss each other on the cheek, fixing their eyes on each other. Angie places another chair at the desk.
Well say something, you two, don’t just stand there!
They both blush and bashfully smile, taking their seats at the desk.
It’s strange, I search and search for that special
Subject, then I’m made dumb by its presence.
I’m the dumb one, I couldn’t paint like you.
No, but forget these lines and those colours …
You’re the painting itself.
That’s the fate of biology.
Not the spirit?
A mere machination. It animates
The whole body.
But … you’ll … animate my canvas.
Would you like a cup of tea or coffee?
The usual, a Jasmine tea.
Jasmine? I’ve not tried that.
Oh you should, it’s divine. Divine, like you.
Two Jasmine teas it is.
Jacob blushes. Angie leaves the room.
I see I’m not the only one who likes
To keep secrets.
You and I go waaaay back, Mr Moraine.
Ah, but, you’re too young to remember it.
My sweet nana, God rest her soul, used to
Babysit you, before your parents died.
Jacob jumps out of his chair and holds both hands to his forehead, pulling his fringe, before waving them both in the air.
Oh my God! I feel so …
I know how, I … didn’t mean to … I’ve kept
It all hidden … so long I wanted to …
Jacob sits back down, pauses and reflects for a moment, before reaching out for Angelica’s hand, who puts an arm around Jacob’s shoulder and kisses him gently on the cheek.
Before their crash, your parents were good friends
With mine. I was only a few years old
At the time you were born, but I recall
Watching Nana giving you baths, changing
Nappies and reading you bedtime stories.
Jacob starts to sob, and Angelica gives him a cuddle, as he releases many tears.
I would suggest that you meet my parents,
But they’re living in Wales, maybe not yet.
I’m meeting with a friend tonight, so you’re
Welcome to join us for some food and drink
In a quaint inn, it serves Austrian food.
Good choice. About seven, is that OK?
Suits me. And your parents, after the crash …
Didn’t they have a say about where I …?
Well yeah, they did. I mean, it would have cost
Us far too much money to raise you, they
Struggled enough with me, and none of your
Distant relatives were interested.
Then Joseph came along … no one knew at
The time how he’d turn out. Everybody
Sympathises with you and Eve. She’s had
Lots of visitors this morning … besides,
It’s more complicated. There was a girl,
Another child. We could not take you both.
Another child? You mean, I’ve a sister?
Joseph never told me of that. Mind you,
I guess he didn’t want me to find out.
Not a sister, cousin, but you two were
So close, always playing and clapping hands.
It’s such a shame, that your uncle and aunt
Died in the same car crash, they were such fun.
Jacob suddenly turned pale and felt quite dizzy for a short spell, but then quickly regained his colour.
I can’t recall her name, at least not quite.
My Mum said she was named after … after
A pianist, but there are lots of those!
You mean Clara? As in Clara Haskil?
Clara! That’s it! You mean, you know her? Wow!
Only for like two days. Clara’s who we’re
Meeting tonight! I knew that her parents …
Just wait until I tell her we’re cousins!
She might have mixed feelings, She fancies me.
It’s hard not to … I mean, there’s lots of men
Around, but to find a cousin’s precious.
And to find a family friend on the same day …
Especially one who’ll be my muse.
Angie enters with the pot of tea and pours it out. Jacob takes a sip and gives it a big thumbs up.
Well, has Angelica has told her secret?
Yes. Both of them.
Jacob has a cousin.
Ah yes, you said.
But I also know her.
Angie almost drops her cup of tea at the surprize.
Well now, what are the odds of that! It seems
Like a jolly old knees up is in store!
Listen, Jacob, are you available
Tomorrow to come to my studio?
I can’t, I’ve already made plans. Friday, I can,
Maybe around the same time as today?
That will be great. But if you change your mind
Before we meet, ring me. Here’s my number.
Angelica passes Jacob her business card.
Thank you. Right now, I have an engagement
With the bookies.
So my muse has a vice?
Old fashioned view of gambling, I suppose?
No, I said it in jest. My Dad always
Bets on the pools, so it would be wrong of
Me to say no. Betting on the Euros?
I might do but Royal Ascot comes first.
You see, that’s where I’m going tomorrow.
Wow, you lucky devil! I don’t approve
Of betting on horses, that’s neither here
Nor there, but I’ve always wanted to do
A painting of a race meeting, it’s the
Microcosm of all society.
You must have heard of that painting by Frith,
The Derby Day. I’ll take you to see it,
At Tate Britain. Think of it as a date.
Angelica gives Jacob a tender kiss on the lips. Jacob smiles and blushes.
That was my first ever … I must finish
My tea and go. Where is your studio?
It’s just along from you. We’re like neighbours!
Yay! We can have late night drinking sessions
If you provide the booze.
Jacob nods in agreement, and finishes his cup of tea in one gulp.
It’s been wonderful meeting you, Jacob.
I’ll see you soon, no doubt? I think
I’ve booked you in for next Monday,
But please check your email just to make sure.
Jacob gives Angie a firm handshake.
You’ve already done more than I could have
Wished for. See you tonight, Angelica.
Angelica waves goodbye and blows Jacob a kiss.
© 2017 AGP