RIGHT EAR: What’s wrong?

LEFT EAR: He poked me with the brush.

RIGHT EAR: Oh, boohoo.

LEFT EAR: It really hurt!

RIGHT EAR: Give the man a break. He’s been upset since that ugly scene with Paul.

LEFT EAR: Whatever. What’s he up to today, anyway?

RIGHT EAR: Still life. Oil on canvas. Sunflowers.

LEFT EAR: More sunflowers? What is it with all the sunflowers? They’re way too bright.

RIGHT EAR: And it’s about time, too. Have you forgotten how drab everything was back in Nuenen? He might as well have painted manure. Of course, bright colors wouldn’t have done his subjects any favors, either. If I never see another family of miserable peasants stuffing their faces with potatoes, it’ll be too soon.

LEFT EAR: I miss the drab. He did some good work in drab. He’s just trying to fit in with this trendy Arles crowd now.

RIGHT EAR: Well, he’s growing as an artist, and there’s no growth without change. And just look at him go! Those brushstrokes—so short and sharp, like the crack of a riding crop. And where are the lines? They’re nowhere, my friend, that’s where. It’s all about color now, all about contrast. And that texture, like the frosting on a fancy cake …

LEFT EAR: I thought we agreed not to talk about food.

RIGHT EAR: My mistake, my mistake. But, mark my words, he’s going places.

LEFT EAR: If you say so. I just don’t see anyone in their right mind paying money for a painting of overgrown daisies.

RIGHT EAR: It’s not about the money; it’s about the art.

LEFT EAR: Yeah, you remember that the next time he can’t afford tobacco and ends up fishing a damp butt out of the gutter.

RIGHT EAR: Have faith, Lefty. Have faith.


RIGHT EAR: What now?

LEFT EAR: He did it again. And that was no accident. He’s out to get me.

RIGHT EAR: That’s crazy talk. He wouldn’t hurt us.

LEFT EAR: Oh, really? Have you forgotten about that girl with the funny name in Etten? One minute her parents are telling him where to go, and the next he’s holding his left hand in the fire. His own hand! I can still smell the burning flesh.

RIGHT EAR: He was just a kid then, and he was in love. He’s older now, more mature.

LEFT EAR: He eats paint!

RIGHT EAR: He only did that once.

LEFT EAR: Once was enough. Remember the cramps? And the diarrhea? Oh, God, the diarrhea. I thought he was going to turn himself inside out.

RIGHT EAR: Yeah, thanks for the mental picture.


RIGHT EAR: Oh, for crying out loud.

LEFT EAR: I can’t take much more of this!

RIGHT EAR: Just relax, OK? This evening, Paul will come over, they’ll knock back some absinthe and patch things up, and everything will be fine. You’ll see.


RIGHT EAR: Hey, is he crying? Why is he crying all of a sudden?

LEFT EAR: I don’t know, but I’m sick of his mood swings. He’s up, he’s down, he’s up, he’s down. It’s exhausting.

RIGHT EAR: All artists are temperamental. It’s part of the creative process.

LEFT EAR: Well, I wish … What’s he doing now? Is that a straight razor?

RIGHT EAR: Hmm, must be time for a shave.

LEFT EAR: At this hour?

RIGHT EAR: Well, what else—

LEFT EAR: Oh, no! This is it!

RIGHT EAR: Will you please get ahold of—holy crap!

LEFT EAR: Aiiiggghhh!

RIGHT EAR: Stop! For the love of God, stop!

LEFT EAR: Arrrrrggggghhhhh!

RIGHT EAR: This is not happening! This is not happening!

LEFT EAR: Aiiiggghhh!

RIGHT EAR: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee … uhhh … Blessed art the fruit of thy womb, such as … uhhh … apples and oranges and … uhhh … persimmons?


RIGHT EAR: Lefty? Are you there, Lefty? Can you hear me?


RIGHT EAR: Wow. I mean, wow. That was just … wow. I did not see that coming.