Sneaky. I hope Del doesn’t kill me. Waiting till he’s gone. Retrieving his key from its hiding place. Taking three of the sketches and one small painting. Back to my room to wrap them. Carefully. Just as carefully stowing them in my pack.
Twenty minutes later. Parking the bike in front of a shop. Inside. Looking around for the owner.
“Can I help you?” A voice from behind a counter. A head pops up. Pretty, older woman.
Ask for the owner. It’s her. I take Del’s art from my pack. Unwrap it. She studies each piece. Tapping her fingers on her lips. Frowning.
“Yours?” she asks finally.
“They’re very good.” She looks at me. Chuckling. “Do they know you brought them here?”
“Well, no. No he doesn’t. I was hoping. He's good isn’t he?”
“Very good. I’d like to show these and more if he has them.” She goes behind the counter again. Hands me some papers after filling them out. “He has to sign this. It’s a contract. He’ll get whatever these sell for, less my commission.” She asks if she can keep what I brought. When I hesitate she says, “I’ll put them in the safe. I can’t show them until he signs that.” Tapping the contract. “But it will save you, or him, having to bring them back again if he does. If not you can pick them up any time.”
I nod. Put the papers in my pack. Head back to my place.
Walk up the stairs to find a pissed off Del. Arms crossed. Foot tapping.
“What did you do with them? I know you took them.” Glaring at me. “Why?”
Don’t say a word. Just hand him the contract.
He reads it. Looks up at me. Reads it again. “This is for real?”
“Yes Del, it’s for real. I knew you wouldn’t do anything on your own but damn it they’re good. The lady wants them and more.”
“Seriously?” His eyes tear up. But he’s smiling, too. Beaming. Suddenly he’s hugging me. Laughing. Crying. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“It was nothing.” Feeling embarrassed. “I just…”
“You just, nothing. First you save me from that man. Now this. You’re the best friend I ever had, Trev.”
“Tit for tat, Del. You saved me too. I guess that’s what friends do. Help each other when help’s needed.”
He smiles up at me. Wiping away his tears. “Yeah. I guess it is.”