[warning for my food loving followers – this is the other side of me]

Mary clutched the flyer in her hand. The bitten nails, painted black, stark against the red paper. The white writing proclaiming a need for models a lie she chose to pretend to believe.

Mary was 23 and tired. She had been on the street since her thirteenth birthday when she had run away from her step father’s prying fingers. It was easy for a pretty girl to make money on the street. It had got harder as she had got older and by 24 she knew she was beyond her prime. The men still came and paid, but they wanted more for their money. And some of them beat her and refused to pay her.

She was tired.

So very very tired.

All the working girls knew the strange artist in the loft. He greeted them but had never bought one of them. He tipped his old-fashioned hat at them when he walked past, bags filled with artist supplies. They would see him in the half-light of dusk and dawn collecting rubbish he used in his art. He gathered debris from the streets, the objects discarded by others, and reshaped them into art.

Mary had seen some of the work he had done; cans and bottles and old newspapers shaped into woman’s bodies, feathers and scraps of old carpets adding texture to the naked, luxurious bodies he conjured up from the detritus of life.

And then Mary had seen him talk to Susan one morning. And she had watched Susan go into the loft.

Susan had never come back out again but weeks later a painting had emerged, covered in cloth. A gentle breeze had lifted the edge of the cloth and Mary had briefly seen Susan’s eyes looking out at her, her red dress revealing.

And a few days later Mary had seen the advert in the diner.

Models wanted

And Mary knew that she too would be picked up, scraped off the pavement, and turned into art.