Talking Pollocks

by Oscar Windsor-Smith

I guess that’s it then, just the, uh…?


Mine, of course.




Steven, after all we’ve been through. Are we going to fight over this… this… painting?

Who’s fighting?

The painting is mine. Jackson was all I had when I moved in.


So, he belongs with me.

It’s a fake.

So, he’s a fake. So are you but I––

You what?

I… Nothing. I own the Jackson Pollock, that’s all.

Miranda, you’ve already cleaned me out.

I cleaned you out?

Yeah, you, who else?

Your tarts, your drinking, and your gambling, they cleaned you out.

It’s a mess.

Your creditors have liquidated the business. The bailiffs have taken everything of value. The estate agents have dumped the rest. Neither of us dare show our faces in King’s Road. Yes, I’d say that qualifies as a mess.

No, I mean the Jackson fake. It was in the skip.

In the skip?

Yeah. Covered in crap.

They threw my Jackson in that skip?

The Jackson fake.

Okay, Steven, we’ve been there.


So, you brought him back in?


My Jackson.

The Jackson fake.

But you brought him in. Uh… Did they leave any… you know, tissues, toilet paper?

Here we go. Here come the tears, anything to get your own way.

I’m not crying. It’s only the dust and the glare.

Yeah, sure it is.

Did they have to take the curtains?

Who knows? Do bailiffs need reasons?

What were you doing here, anyway?

Uh… Checking.

You were rummaging in the kitchen drawers when I came in. What were you checking?

Just checking.

How did you get in?

With my key.

No you didn’t. They’ve changed the locks.

Well… I… Hey. How did you get in?

I found an open window, broken catch. How did you really get in?

I broke the catch.

Breaking and entering, was that something else you learned in your years as a so-called art dealer?

A Chelsea fine art dealer.

A crook.

Mm. A very successful crook.

Granted, for a while, until you blew it.

In the best years we made millions, Miranda.

Yes, but now we’re penniless. I watched all our best stuff going under the hammer at Christies.

I suppose he’s waiting outside, or skulking in his usual pub in Fulham road?

No. Is she?


Fair weather lovers, both, eh?

What? Oh, yeah.

Did you hang Jackson back over the bed? Or rather, where the bed would be, if we’d still had a bed.


I’d never have guessed. You’re an old romantic.

Eh…? Oh… yeah.


Uh, huh?

How did you know I’d be here?

I… guessed.

Liar. I haven’t seen you since the hearing.

Hearing? You mean the stitch-up.

You couldn’t have known I’d be here.

I’ve told you. I guessed.

Liar. Liar!

It’s true.

You can’t fool me.


No. You were after something.

You’re raving.

What was it?

Piss off.

If you don’t tell me I’ll inform the court. The bailiffs can sort it.



…Have you got a nail file or something in that handbag?

This do?

Uh, huh.

Stop that. What the hell do you think you’re doing to my Jackson?

Shut up, woman. Watch.

Don’t lever it about like that.

There, stand the frame against the wall.

You’ll damage the canvas.

Not if I tweak these tacks out gently.

But… There’s another––

Yes, Miranda, another picture.

But it’s––

Yes. It’s a Jackson Pollock original.

But that must be worth––



It was our insurance policy.

Our insurance policy? Oh, Steven, if we hadn’t lost everything do you think we could have made it?

What about my tarts?

I was your tart once, remember? Jackson has seen some kinky action.

What about the drinking?

Pollock only makes sense when you’re pissed.

What about the gambling?

Risk is an aphrodisiac. Oh, no!


I heard something. Someone’s coming.

Don’t panic. It’s only the crowd at The Bridge. We must have scored.

Yes, I believe we have.

No, I mean––

know what you mean.

You ever been to South America, Miranda?


Up for it?

Is that our mattress in the skip?



Mm… I must say, Steven, you do have an impressive pair.

Pair of what?

Don’t be silly, darling.

Oscar Windsor-Smith has fiction, non-fiction and a smattering of poetry published in diverse places, in print and online,

  1. #1 by garyjduncan on October 17, 2013 - 9:17 am

    Nice work, Oscar. Enjoyed this.

  2. #2 by Oscar Windsor-Smith on October 17, 2013 - 9:32 am

    Thank you, @Gary.

  3. #3 by jennypellett on October 17, 2013 - 3:09 pm

    Fun – with a great twist.

  4. #4 by Oscar Windsor-Smith on October 17, 2013 - 9:22 pm

    Thanks for reading and commenting, @Jenny.

  5. #5 by oovj on October 19, 2013 - 7:57 pm

    Great stuff — only makes sense iof you’re pissed ;) love it!

  6. #7 by John Ritchie on October 20, 2013 - 7:06 am

    I got lost the first time, but on the third read it all came together. I guess this story hinges on how good you are at distinguishing a real load of Pollocks from the fakes, hence the impressive pair, which of course worked on several levels to make a really good twist – oh- now my eyes are watering.



  7. #8 by Angela Wray on October 20, 2013 - 12:13 pm

    Good fun, Oscar – really enjoyed this.

  8. #9 by Oscar Windsor-Smith on October 20, 2013 - 2:44 pm

    Thank you, John and Angela, for you kind comments. Sorry it took three readings, John. I can see how that can happen in view of no speech attributions/tags – particularly if you blink or lose concentration – but I wanted the “Talking” in the title to be the substance of the story. Thanks for your dogged persistence.

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