Fisherman in Grey Part IV?

“Thanks for taking the time to come with me, by the way,” she says. “I’ve been planning to go back since I got this new Kodak, and company’s always nice.”
“Not a problem. I didn’t have anything scheduled today anyway.”
Looking to me, she smiles cheerfully.

Amber and I are on a short train journey away to the art gallery that we’d first met at. It was a particularly dear location to Amber because it’s where a 71-year-old portrait of her great-grandfather was kept. He was a fairly renowned Dutch fisherman and sailor before the Second World War.

It’s almost two in the afternoon. The sun’s moderate flare is coupled with a gentle breeze. Amber withdraws the Kodak camera from its small pouch slung around her neck and turns it on.
“Check some of these out, if you like,” she says, edging the camera at me. I begin looking through the photos she had taken. Photos of various things, in various locations. Such striking quality.
“The angles,” I say with my eyes still fixed at the Kodak, “…there are some very interesting and unexpected angles in a lot of these.” With notable elation in her tone, she responds,
“You think so? It makes me glad that you said that because angles are my thing. That’s what I put a lot of focus into. Angles are where my imagination runs wild when it comes to photography. I tend to capture very ordinary things or sceneries, but the angles, the point of view, those are aspects which carry the most contemplation and regard for me. Any amateur photographer will tell how crucial it is to consider angles, but to me, point of view is… where I have fun with photography. I try to be offbeat and experimental with angles. It’s often risky, but, hey. It’s not so much like a technical thing for me. It’s more like – Okay, let me toy around with some angles until I find the one which tells the untold or the hidden or unnoticed story of this photo. Do you know what I mean? Photographers are very powerful in that, through their camera perspective alone can you view a scene they’ve shot. However they decided to take the photo, whichever approach or angle they use, sets the parameters of how the scene can be viewed. A photo will tell a story. So I try to capture unique perspectives which will subsequently tell a unique story to what another perspective might give you. At least I try to.

“Don’t get me wrong, though, angles are my biggest consideration when it comes to free photography. But when I’m working on conceptual pieces or something like that, angles still matter, of course, but I have a more levelled consideration of other elements of photography. Like what I’m shooting, exposure, lighting, composition, depth of field, you know. I become equally as scrupulous with those aspects when I’m building something conceptual as I do with my angles when I’m doing free photography.”


Before we head to the gallery, we decide upon getting a bite to eat beforehand. Once inside, Amber leads the way for the most part with me stringing closely behind, catching a gape at pieces that steal my attention. With her Kodak camera, she takes dozens of photos. Not long after we came in, she asked me to capture her beside the portrait of her great-grandfather. She stood straight, smiling at the camera with her arms in front of her.

“I noticed you’ve got your hair up today,” I say to her randomly at one point. “I don’t recall seeing you with it up since we’ve met.” She smiles sheepishly.
“Yeah, I don’t really like to have it up.” As she says this she brushes a couple strands of hair behind her left ear. She has two orbital piercings in that ear.
“Why’s that?” I question whilst examining her face in slight detail.
“My ears. I look like an elf.” she says with a laugh. I laugh also, and tell her,
“Come on, no you don’t. They’re just ears. They come in various sizes. Yours aren’t even big. You look good with your hair up.”
You think so? she smiles, and I nod before turning to the smallish sculpting of a seal beside us, of which Amber captures with her camera.

Thank you for reading this piece. I’m rather unsure about it, to be honest. It’s a continuation of a piece I had divided into three blog posts two years ago, which happens to still be my favourite piece of writing I’ve done since – largely because the piece wrote itself, and it is my most ‘thorough’ work yet. I haven’t touched up the other blog posts but if you want some background to this piece, I’ll leave the links below.


Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Eddy’s Brother)


“When did he get back?”
“Who, Eddy’s brother? Last week Tuesday. He’s been quite busy, that’s why I haven’t had a chance to see him yet.” Vince says.

Uriel takes a lengthy sip of his now lukewarm bottled water. He lights himself a Marlboro Gold then tucks the almost empty packet back into the chest pocket of his cream shirt. The sun beams down while the two young men sit on a bench. Birds glide skillfully overhead, supple branches sway in the gentle breeze.
Vince and Uriel are seated outside a small sandwich shop. Opposite the bench is the main road which the duo gape at whilst conversing during their lunch break. It’s an early-Spring afternoon, a little before 3pm.

An easy silence swings between them momentarily, then as if suddenly remembering he’s with Vince and not alone at home, Uriel throws out, “What’s he like?”
Vince, who chomps eagerly at the remains of his toasted BLT sandwich, squints his eyes at a spot on the ground, trying to come up of a brief but reasonably conclusive answer to Uriel’s question.

“Hmm, well, I’d say he’s an awful lot like Eddy, but just only a little more… out there, I guess. Or rather, was. I mean, sure it’s been only four years since I last saw him, but he might have changed. People tend to when they move away to a different place. Environment and associates can have a relatively substantial influence on an individual, whether they realise it or not.”
“Quite often they don’t.” adds Uriel
“He might not be the same Ian as I remember him.”
“What d’you mean more out there though? In what sense?” Uriel ashes his cigarette as a cluster of smoke follows his question out of his mouth into the air around them.

Vince stops mid-chew, trains his eyes at roughly the same spot on the ground as before, then relaxes this stance.
“How can I put this?” he mumbles half to himself. “Well, he’s more talkative than Eddy, for one. He’s spontaneous, he’ll be up for anything. The most random of things at that. He does crazy things for crazy reasons. Don’t get me wrong, Eddy does crazy things, too, but the reasoning behind it is often later revealed to be somewhat justifiable. Somewhat [As he says this, Vince looks at Uriel and gives a half smile, who offers the same smile and a monosyllabic laugh back]. But Ian, he’s totally different in that sense.”

“Okay, take this example: one time, Ian, Eddy, this Dutch chick called Romy who I met through Eddy, and myself were chilling out at Ian’s place, right. It must have been around eight or nine in the evening, we were all drinking beers. Now, Ian lived near a park stadium. Not a huge one, just your average sized stadium. It was used mostly for sports days, charity events; things like that. It’d close around six in the evening, and by eight it’d be completely locked off and empty. During that whole summer, we used to sneak in through some back entrance and climb over this nine-or-so foot iron gate and sit in the stands, just talking and drinking and laughing and fooling around. We were, what, eighteen? It would be ’round about midnight hours, so no one was around. Nobody could hear us. All the cameras directed at the tracks and at the stands were shut off ’cause, I mean, there wasn’t much to be stolen, unless some weird bloke decided he wanted to loot some stadium seats or something like that. Anyway, so we were virtually undisturbed. It was summer so the air was nice. We used to spark up and everything. You ever got high at a closed off stadium in the middle of the night? Shit’s epic.”
Uriel’s face bares a very slight smile as he jokingly shakes his head, then slyly peers at his wristwatch, and continues smoking as he listens for the rest of the story. Vince scrunches his wrappers up and tosses them in the bin beside the bench. He rubs his hands together and strains his eyes as if trying to focus in on a visible scene of where his story left off.

“But anyway, that particular night, Ian had a few too many beers I think. So imagine this, right: on our way back to his place, instead of going towards the back entrance we came in through, he thought it’d be a great idea to start a fire at the entrance to the stadium. Right by the front! Of course it was locked off from the outside, but the way we came in gave us direct access to the main entrance. He took a little bundle of flyers he’d found somewhere inside and set them alight with a clipper. At first, we thought, Hey, Ian, what are you doing? Stop playing, but we weren’t paying all that much attention to it. We were all too high and tipsy. About five minutes later, this flame was huge! And I’m not talking one of those fires you and your friends start in some deserted park when you’re sixteen. I’m talking a great big fire! Right inside the stadium.”

“Man, are you serious? Inside?” questioned Uriel, taken aback. The tone he carries conveys less bafflement than it does disappointment.
“Dead serious. None of us had realised it was growing that rapidly or vigorously, either. I’ll never forget how tall those flames were. The smoke… It ended up on the local news and everything. The cameras by the entrance must have been shut off, too. We never got caught. No suspects, no nothing. There wasn’t even a smoke alarm. The investigation didn’t follow up any much longer than say a few days. They were probably lazy and ruled it off as some unexplained accident. Someone left something on, and it sparked up and caught fire or something.”
“What, like how the guy in Fight Club thought his apartment exploded because of a jolt from his fridge triggered his gas-filled apartment into it exploding?” Uriel interposes.
“Yeah maybe something like that.” Vince says with a small laugh. “The security in that place was a joke. Awful. At times when I look back, I think maybe they deserved it. For lack of care and proper security.”

Uriel’s mien bears residue of perplexity as he mulls over the story of Eddy’s brother again. He tosses the end of his cigarette to the ground and lightly stomps on it. His left hand then reaches to caress the fresh stubble on his neck and chin.

“But anyway, you know why this was all so crazy?” Vince continues. “The next morning when we asked Ian why he did it, he said to us, I wanted to see what they’d rebuild, or some B-S like that. Can you believe that?! The guy is nuts. Whose curiosity drives them to set fire to a park stadium just so they can see what would be rebuilt after it’s all been burned down to the ground? Nuts.”
To see what they’d rebuild.” Uriel repeats blankly. He then looks to Vince with a playful expression, saying, “He sounds kind’a interesting if you ask me.”

Vince rises to his feet, dusts remnants of his sandwich off of his smart navy blue trousers, and reties his left shoelace. Uriel, too, gets up and stretches his back slightly and scans his clothes for any stains or crumbs or ash.
“We’d better head back,” says Uriel. “don’t want the boss getting cranky again now, do we?” Vince smiles. They both get into Uriel’s Peugeot 206 and head back to their office.




Thank you for reading. With this particular piece, I was focusing on dialogue. Criticisms and feedback are always welcome and much appreciated!






Fisherman In Grey (Part III)

“I think of the night before. The soft feel of her skin. Her adept and elegant movements. The tender groans which broke from her exquisite lips. Merely thinking about it sends fervorous surges throughout my body.”


I told her about my pretty mundane 20 years of living this life, too, of course. We arranged to meet the following Saturday (last night). She invited me over to her apartment for a home-cooked dinner and some wine. We had roasted cod, spiced potatoes along with a colourful side of veg.

***Last night***

“That was magnificent!” I tell her. “Where’d you learn to cook like that?”
She laughs daintily. “My mother. We cooked together all the time when I was growing up,” she says, staring into some void point of space in the room, then, suddenly turning to me, she continues: “so naturally, I picked up a lot of her recipes and techniques.”

We swig at glass after glass of wine, and chat at length as the gears of time shift on perpetually. We talk about serious matters, funny memories, random happenings – everything and anything.

For a moment, a light silence lolls between us. She’s sat with one leg crossed over the other while her right hand steers a half full glass of wine to-and-fro her lips. Her long, dark-blonde hair rests to one side on her left shoulder. I peer slyly at her for a while. Nicely rounded face, perfectly symmetrical. Small, firm breasts mildly poking through her grey Umbro top. The enticing outlining of her curvaceous hips and well-formed thighs. A pristine build for her tender age of 18. I almost want to tell her how sexy she looks. But I of course don’t. 

It gets to around 11pm when it occurs to me that I’d better call a taxi soon.
“Well, you know, I don’t mean to be too forward or anything, but I mean, if you’d prefer to stay here for the night and set off in the morning when you’re sober, that’s totally okay with me,” she utters.
I stare blankly at her for a moment, then sheepishly ask, “I said that out loud?”

She laughs. “Yes, you did.” I laugh a little too.
“I don’t wanna be a bother, I mean we hadn’t pla–”
“Nonsense.” she interjects loosely. “It’s not at all a bother for me. The woman who rents out the room upstairs doesn’t mind, and her husband comes here for a couple nights every now ‘n’ then, so she can’t complain.” 
My tipsy self mulls over her words for a while, but my vocal chords construct no form of response. “I’ve got spare sheets and stuff,” she continues. “like, if you’d rather sleep on the couch or whatever.”
“No, no, that’s not it. I was just thinking about something.”
She smiles. 

Well, if you’re sure it’s not an issue, I guess I can set off in the morning, for convenience’s sake, I say to her. Amber and I talk a little more over one final glass each, then we decide to call it a night. She offers me the baggiest top she owns to sleep in. Amber then cuts the light, and we position ourselves in her cosy double-bed. 


Due to my fairly drunken state last night, recollections from that point on become rather hazy. We had sex, of course – three or four times in fact. All I remember was her sitting herself atop my body clothed in only a t-shirt and a silken lingerie as I laid on her bed. Her lips pressed intensely against mine as I slipped off her top and undergarment. And then the magic began.

Her movements were supple. Competent. Ardently amorous. All in all, it was some of the best sex I’d ever had, no doubt about it.



Once we finish our tartines, she pours us both one more cup of coffee.
“Could I ask you a favour?” she says, as if all of a sudden remembering something she’d had on her mind.
“Yeah, sure. What’s up?” 

She hesitates. “It may sound a little strange, but, would you mind coming with me to that art gallery? You know – the one we first met in.”
“Of course not, I’d love to,” I say this without really giving it much thought. But hey, she gave me a cosy bed to sleep in, great sex, and fed me twice. I’m sure I can reschedule whatever (if anything) I have planned.
She smiles. “Whenever you’re free, though. Doesn’t necessarily have to be today. I just feel I need to go back.”

After piecing details together and asking a myriad of questions, I manage to discover that the painting, Visser in grijs – or Fisherman in grey – was actually a portrait of Amber’s great-grandfather, painted in 1925 by a Frenchman. Amber’s great-grandfather was half Dutch. He was an avid fisherman and sailor, living his entire life either in or by the sea. Amber never knew her grandfather on her father’s side, and so the next best thing, she thought, was her great-grandfather, who happened to be a fairly renowned fisherman and sailor in Germany before the Second World War. 

That explains her attachment to that painting, I say. Aloud.

The end.

Fisherman In Grey (Part I)

I wake up the next morning a little passed eight. The ambience of the room is strangely languid. I’m alone in these unfamiliar sheets, in this unfamiliar room. A modicum of sunlight seeps in through the very slightly parted curtains. I peel the covers off of myself and sit up cross-legged in the bed, trying to listen out for any activity. I can’t hear much. 

I reach for my phone, realise it’s out of battery, and so place it back on the bedside drawer. At a loss for anything to do, I simply lay back down and wait. A faint, weird mix of cheese and coffee wafts into the bedroom from the door.

She comes into the room a few moments later, gingerly opening the door.
“Oh, good. You’re awake,” she says with a smile. I sit up and smile, too. Her hair is tied up for the first time since I’d met her, and I notice her ears are very discreetly on the big side. Very discreetly. 


I met her not two weeks ago. Given the pleasure of having Thursdays off, I try to make a habit of visiting different places or going somewhere I don’t go too often; new restaurants, the movies, art galleries, a relative’s – those kind of things. Sometimes I catch the train to nearby towns and get lost sight-seeing. Occasionally, I borrow my cousin’s car and go to the countryside. I simply sit in the car listening to psychedelic rock albums, and smoke while staring out at the field and the far-flung mountains. Just thinking.

This particular Thursday I happened to go to an art gallery. That’s where I first spotted her. She wore white trainers, loose, vintage Mom Jeans, a white crop-top beneath a maroon bomber jacket, and her left hand clasped a plain baseball cap. She stood out amidst everyone else who seemed to be dressed in smart-casual attire. She looked cool, at least I thought so. 

When I saw her, she was staring intently at an acrylic painting in one remote corner. The painting was of an oldish man (maybe early 50s). It must have been a portrait. The painting captured the man’s top half as he gazed expressionlessly at the painter. A full head of black hair sat atop his head with streaks of white in it which marked his aging. He wore a grey smart shirt with the sleeves rolled up and two or three buttons undone. His hairy arms drooped lazily into his lap. A brown wall for the background. And that’s it. She stood there for a considerable amount of time just gawking at it, motionlessly. 

I approached her, and stared into the painting also. It took no more than 30 seconds to scan all the details of the painting satisfyingly enough to move on. But she remained there with her arms hanging beside her and her eyes glued. An unchanging posture. Maybe she could see something I couldn’t. The painting was ‘of Gillis Alfons‘ by ‘French painter, L. Borde.‘ Strangely, the piece didn’t have a name, Perhaps it was never given one. 

“Visser in Grijs,” she said, suddenly. Randomly. I turned my head instantly towards her.
“Sorry?” the only response my mind could reason to give after not having understood the meaning of what she’d said.
“The painting – it’s called Visser in Grijs.” Apparently I’d wondered out loud. Now that I think about it, how often do I wonder aloud like that? A somewhat worrying thought.

I caught the gaze of her grey-blue eyes. Gentle eyes. The type that possess a subtle but alluring glow. My lips remained slightly parted for some five seconds before I said,
“Oh? Is that so? Interesting,” not knowing what else to say.
“It’s Dutch for Fisherman in grey.”
“Really? How d’you know that?” I asked. “I mean, like, it’s not labelled with a title like all the other pieces in here.”

She told me she had seen the painting before when she was doing a case study on L. Borde. No wonder you seem so infatuated by it, I said to her. We talked briefly more about artists and various paintings. She then told me how she’d come from Germany a few months ago, and was studying in London for a year before moving back to Germany. Once she said this, her subtle German accent became a little more noticeable.


She is studying contemporary art at a private school for individuals aged 18 and above. The course offers no valid qualifications but one is to receive greatly efficient and useful insight from it, resulting in a very handsome CV for one looking to enter the industry of contemporary art.