|Tete de Chien Beneath Full Moon, Monaco|
Oil-on-board 10 x 14
Available from online gallery:
Driving into Monaco from St-Remy, where we'd dropped into the insane asylum favored by Van Gogh, I am sidelined by an officious police officer. I would have stopped us, too, in our baseball caps, leather bomber jackets, unshaven faces, bloodshot eyes and unkempt hair.
Van Stein startles awake, having been painting Van Gogh's asylum all night. "What's going on?" He tries to focus bleary eyes on the immaculately coiffed and uniformed female Nazi. "Uh-oh," he mutters, "not another threshold guardian."
"Identity!" she demands.
We surrender our passports, which she scrutinizes before patching out names through to Police Central. Car papers, she demands. I hand her a wad of rental documents.
Then the grilling.
Why do you come to Monaco?
"I have a rendezvous with Prince Albert." I check my wristwatch. "In forty-five minutes."
"Le Prince Hereditaire?" She looks at scruffy me like I'm either nuts or pranking her.
"Yup, that be him."
Again, she whispers into her two-way radio, listens. The expression on her originally-stern face changes as she gently hands me our passports and papers. "I'm so sorry," she says. "It is my job."
"It's okay," I reassure her.
"Goddam Nazi," Van Stein hisses as we spiral down to Monte Carlo, a quiet Sunday morning. We take an open-air table at Cafe de Paris for cappuccino and croissants, joined by Reek Pisserin, in from London to join me for princely business.
And while Reek and I tend to that, Van Stein goes off to paint...