Monday, March 5, 2012

Payment in Kind...Hoo Boy!

This is my neighbor's car.

He keeps it in the garage most of the time. He is my only neighbor who keeps his car in the garage. Everyone else keeps their cars in the driveway like me because our garages are full of crap that won't fit in the house. There is no room in our garages for anything as big as a car.

This car only comes out of the garage to get washed and to have its rims swapped out. My neighbor has had this car for about a year. So far he's had four different sets of rims on it. He sells the rims off the car and uses the money to buy another set.

He claims he makes money doing this. I don't know how this is possible, but he is a very enterprising fellow. He owns five businesses that I know about, and probably some more that I don't. Between the businesses and the wife and kids, my neighbor stays pretty busy.

I made this portrait of his car for practice. I thought it came out pretty well, so I gave him a print. I hoped that maybe one of his big gangsta-rim loving associates would admire the portrait and hire me to make one for them. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I also made a portrait of his dad's car.

This car is never in the garage - mostly because the garage only holds one car, but also because the car itself is a piece of crap. Putting this old heap in a garage would be wasting space that they could otherwise use to store up inventory for their next garage the rest of us.

I did this one for practice too. I made the rusty piece of crap 4x4 truck look way better than it does in the driveway. I added the lion to give it a sense of adventure that it could never actually muster since it doesn't have enough power to get out of its own way.

It doesn't have to go very fast. They only use it to go to the convenience store for cigarettes and beer and to go out into the savannas west of here where they trap snakes, lizards, toads, and tarantulas to sell to an exotic animal dealer down in Miami. This is one of the businesses that I know about, although sometimes I suspect that I don't know everything. I try not to ask too many questions. They've already showed me some critters I don't want to think about escaping the confines of whatever they're keeping it in over there. I'm not a big fan of fangs or venom.

My neighbor's dad was very excited to get a print of his 4x4. He makes fun of the truck. He calls it 'Duke Brown', which I gather is not supposed to be a respectful name. I think he is secretly kind of proud of the fact that he has managed to keep it running and engaged in a useful life when anyone with normal sensibilities would have abandoned it long ago.

Still he thinks making a portrait of something as mundane and ugly as Duke Brown, the spider catching truck, is a wast of time and money. He thinks I am kind of a fool for doing it, but he appreciates it just the same. In fact he is so ecstatic about the result, ridiculous as it may be, that he wants to pay me for the print.

I was pretty happy about this when I first heard it. I thought it was a fortuitous turn of events. I like getting paid for my work, especially when I didn't expect it. It's nice to be appreciated. Of course that was before I found out that he doesn't want to pay me in money. Oh, no. Instead he wants to pay me in kind. The kind of kind he has in mind is a ball python. He wants to give me one of the offspring when one of the three breeders they keep in their house hatches eggs.

Needless to say, my wife is happy to know that my little photography business is finally taking off. One good thing. I'll be clearing up some space in the garage. Since I won't ever be allowed in the house again, I'm going to have to take the tent and whatnot out of the garage and set up camp in the back yard for the snake and myself. Doing all the cooking on a propane stove is going to be a bitch.


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Comments are always welcome. Tell me what you like and what you don't. Information, encouragement, criticism--I don't care. A day where I don't learn something new is a day lost to me.