the wrong end of the brush

When I walk into his room, Ted is leaning forwards in his wheelchair, dabbing energetically at a canvas on an A-frame easel. He’s wearing gold lame running shorts, a lime green sports vest and a leopard print bandanna to keep his wild white hair out of his eyes and – presumably – out of the paint.
‘Whaddya think?’ he says, leaning back.
He hasn’t got much done so it’s hard to tell what it is. In fact, to be honest, it’d be clearer if he’d just splodged the paint on directly from the tube. It also doesn’t help that he’s working from the top down, like someone drawing a primary coloured cover over a blank space. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a picture of ivy growing down a wall – maybe at a cafe, because I can just about see the pencil outlines of a round, cafe-style table and two chairs immediately beneath all the green. I’m not sure though.
‘Van Gogh’ he says, chewing the end of the brush and tipping his head to the right.
‘Oh! I see it now!’ I tell him, throwing my bags down on his bed. ‘Yeah – that’s great! All you need to do now is practice the signature and you could totally pass it off.’
‘What d’you mean?’
‘I mean – it looks like the real thing.’
‘Well I should know, shouldn’t I? I’ve been there. I took photographs.’
I think he means the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
‘I’d love to go!’ I say, trying to steer things back into safer waters.
‘Why doncha then?’ he says, dabbing on some more green. ‘It’s just a shame the flight takes so long.’
‘Does it?’
‘Yeah. Expensive, too. But cheap when you’ve landed. And so hot! And lush!’
‘Is it?’
‘Yeah.’
‘What – Amsterdam?’
‘No. Bangkok.’

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