The Only Begetter
By Jeff Baker
“Hey how long do I…”
“Hush! Don’t move!”
“Uh! Uh! Uh!”
Willie sighed to himself. He shifted just a little in the chair. He talked without moving his lips. It came out. “Whurgga grro grffrmm?”
Dennis sighed and set down his paintbrush.
“When do I go to the bathroom?” Will said.
“Now. Take five. We’ve been at this since nine,” Dennis said. “But hurry! I don’t want to lose the light from the window.”
“Yeah, that’s the one thing I’m not paying for.” Willie said. Yeah there were cheaper anniversary gifts, but after sharing anniversary dinners of cheap burgers, it was nice to do this.
He was lucky he’d remembered Dennis and that he was still doing portraits. Will wondered if he should have shaved off the beard. He stared in the bathroom mirror as he washed his hands. Nah, he thought, the beard matches the bow tie.
Five minutes to get Willie positioned back in the chair exactly right. Willie had made the mistake early on of saying something about Norman Rockwell working from photographs. Dennis had grumbled that he couldn’t work that way, not for something special.
“And you think Thomas is special don’t you? That’s why you want this for him?”
Willie had smiled and nodded.
“I read where Shakespeare dedicated; I think his sonnets, to ‘the only begetter.’ Everybody wonders what he meant by that. I think it was to the guy the sonnets were dedicated to, y’know. Not Shakespeare’s boyfriend, but the boyfriend of the guy who commissioned the sonnets. They’re really erotic and powerful and I’m glad I don’t write dangerous potent stuff like that.” Willie grinned.
“Okay, now, quit smiling,” Dennis said. “This should look good. Your anniversary’s when?”
“Next month…” Willie started to say.
“Don’t talk!” Dennis said. “We’ll have this done by then, but only if you don’t talk. All right?”
“Good,” Dennis said. “You know, I heard when Michelangelo sculpted David he actually had the guy stand still for hours at a time, and wearing clothes, (he added the nudity in later) and when the kid’s parent’s saw the finished product they were shocked. All they wanted was a little cameo for their son’s graduation before he went off to make his fortune, but you know what artists are like, right? Well anyway, Michelangelo…”