He was an odd man. “I will paint you a masterpiece if you allow me to rest a spell.” He pointed to the “Room for Let” sign prominently displayed in the window. It was a boarding house after all, a place for passers-through on their way to somewhere other than here. My concern was that he was not on his way to somewhere, but somewhen. The inside of his waistcoat was a deep and rich red, the likes of which had never existed in the color palette of modern silk mills. The orange of the sunset upon which he seemed to arrive caused the yellow spots on his pocket square to glow hypnotically.
I blinked to stop staring. “Very well, but you can keep your paints to y’self, Mr.–”
“Biv,” he cheerily replied. “Roy G. Biv. Purveyor of rich and rare colorings.”
“–Mr. Biv,” I grumbled. “No paints allowed in the rooms. It might spill and ruin the carpet or hardwood, whichever upon it might fall.” I turned quickly and went in to grab my ledger and the last room key.
Mr. Biv must have been on my heels; when I turned to the counter, there he was, carefully counting out a pile of crisp green bills. ” I plan to stay on a spell,” he winked as he pushed the cash to me. “I am sure you run a tight ship but I’ve tossed a bit of extra in there, just to ensure that I receive the best of the services you have to offer. Oh, and by the way–I paint with words, not oils or pastels, so no harm will come to your, I’m sure, pristine floors.”
“Ain’t no services to speak of,” I replied, ignoring his attempt at small talk. I pushed two bills back to him. “Breakfast n’ supper come with the room. Your room’s on the third floor–that’s the men’s floor. WC is shared with three others. Don’t think about coming to the second–that’s the women’s floor–as I have a matron who sleeps very lightly. And the bottom floor’s mine and I sleep lighter than her, if you follow.” I looked deeply into his eyes; on the porch they had seemed an unusual shade of blue, but as I looked they went indigo and finally settled to what under other circumstances would have been a comforting shade of violet. I maintained composure. “Sign here,” I pointed to his line in the registry.
“Good night, Wilhomena.” And before I could protest at his familiarity, he was gone up the stairs. I realized then that the “Wilhomena Cavendish, Proprietor” sign was out for a repaint and I hadn’t told him my name. I made up my mind to sleep with one eye open and one finger on the trigger.
Can you smell the sawdust of time on Roy’s coat? Or the sand of space on Wilhomena’s boarding house porch? If so, blame it on the Daily Post pixies, who offered this abundantly tempting prompt today:
Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.
And if that didn’t grab you, feel free to blame them for this week’s DPChallenge…