Short story 20

George was visiting and playing chess with Victor in his house behind George Street in Hastings. The front door bell rang. As the house stood back off the road and was difficult to get to, it had to be someone who really wanted to see Victor, and as he was about to win he got up and answered the door.

A tall man with an Italian accent stood there, “I believe you have a picture by James Gibbons called Summer Evening.


“Is it for sale?”


The prospective client was shown into the lounge.

“I must just finish my game first. Check mate!”

George was not surprised. It always ended the same with Victor.

“You’re interested in James Gibbons are you?”

“Yes I have several of his small ones and I saw this one at an exhibition in Switzerland some years ago, but could not afford it at the time.”

“It’s a very valueable picture. – One of his best.”

“Yes I know. It made a strong imprssion on me.”

“Let’s go and have a look at it then.”

They went along to Victor’s store room down the corridor, George in tow. The room was specially fitted out with racks; Hundreds of paintings stored away horizontally. George never knew such a room existed. Probably nobody did. That was a safeguard against burglars.

Victor consulted his register.

 The required painting was slid out. They all stood back and admired it.

“How much are you asking for it?” the Italian said enthusiastically.

“Well I’m not sure I want to part with it.”

“Everything has its price,”

George thought he had better leave before blood got spilt. “Goodbye Victor. I’ll leave you to it.”

It was several weeks later that George bumped into Victor in George Street.

“Did you manage to sell that painting?

“To the Italian collector? Oh yes!”

“For a good price?”

“I got a lot of money.”


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Thank you, Keith Beal