four paintings

Lionel is lying in bed, everything in line with everything else – nose, arms (outside the covers), legs (inside the covers) – as neat and square as a newly-boxed toy: The Recently Discharged Patient (batteries included).
On the wall at the foot of the bed are four paintings. The Pope, A Jaguar, Angela Rippon and Twiggy. The three personality paintings are only just recognisable, all slightly off. Angela Rippon looks startled, like an owl that swallowed an over-large mouse. The jaguar doesn’t fare any better, his muzzle twisted, like he caught it in the door of a jeep.
‘I did them,’ says Lionel. ‘What d’you think?’
‘I think you’ve really got something.’
‘That’s my favourite. There.’
He nods at the Pope. A man who seems to be praying so hard his face has turned brick red.
‘I  spent a long time on the eyes,’ says Lionel. ‘On all the little veins and bits.’
‘Amazing!’
‘Of course, you know why he’s praying, don’cha?’
I look at the painting more closely.puma head
‘I don’t know. Where’s his hat? Someone’s nicked it and he wants it back.’
‘No. He’s praying the jaguar doesn’t catch wind of him.’

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