Okay, so I bought David Gordon's 'The Amateur' purely because of its cover. Black cat mah. I love black cats and dogs. They're so beautiful. It's a Kindle single, an easy read over lunch and coffee.
Set in Paris, a young man fleeing a broken relationship meets a stranger at a cafe. A friendly conversation turned into a confession of sorts from this stranger. Wasn't sure how this short story's going to turn out. It was almost funny at the end.
The stranger is Eddie. He's like some big-time old-school semi-retired mafia dude in New Jersey, living in a quiet little town. He was enrolled in art school, taking painting classes. Then he met his muse, Doreen, who posed for him while he tried to paint. He got dragged back into the life after knowingly intervening in Doreen's messy life of junkie girlfriend, drugs, kidnappers and dead people. So he's been in Paris for two years, literally on the run, sorta, when he meets our protagonist, the day before he says he's going to Rome. The story is never about the protagonist. It's all about Eddie, and probably how he only excels in killing and being involved in uhh crime. Like...maybe...The Sopranos sorta.
I sat back down and watched him amble off, wondering if anything he'd said was true. Was he just another random bullshitter of the sort one met in bars and cafés worldwide? I didn't even know his last name. I sipped the melted ice left in my soda glass. He was not lying about Paris at least; it was indeed fucking beautiful, impossible so. Like a vast and perfect work of art - a coral bed or a cathedral - to which countless generations had added their small bones. Then I noticed that he'd left his sketchbook behind. I flipped through. It was nearly full, with dozens of sketches some quite detailed, in charcoal and pastel and pencil, of Paris's buildings, trees, people, and bridges in different seasons and lights. They were, without a doubt, the worst drawings I'd ever seen in my life.