Red Hair and Rain

Tomas Marcantonio

Photo Credit: jpellgen/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Red hair and rain fell over her pale eyes and the roar of weekend men shook the windows of the damp bar behind her. The street was dark and quiet with the misery of lonely winter, but the artist came with such purpose and caramel clothes that he might have been walking straight out of summer’s garden gate.

‘You paint it, I sign it,’ the artist said to the girl on the edge of the gutters. ‘Together we see what revenge and money and ridicule we can milk.’

It took less than an afternoon for the red-haired girl to finish the painting, less than a week for the papers to declare it a masterpiece. It took less than a month to move into the penthouse by the harbour and forget the hard cobbled roads of the lanes and the sad fall of copper into her wet hands. It took some sudden guts and another month of finery to expose the lie, to declare herself the true artist and genius behind it all.

Money, fame and praise tickled her cheeks each day as easily as the raindrops on the streets once had. The darling of the gutters became the darling of the art world, but the art world had its own stencilled script to follow. There couldn’t be a rise as swift and sweet without a sudden scythe to hack it down just as suddenly. Lost her focus, trying too hard, out of sorts, the reviews joyfully declared. The money soon lost on parties and happy destructions, the penthouse gone and the red hair quickly back to her gutters. The artist in his caramel clothes walked right out of summer’s garden gate and dropped a coin at her feet, and the roar of weekend men shook the windows of the damp bar behind her.


Tomas Marcantonio is a writer and English teacher from Brighton, England. He graduated from the University of Sussex with a BA in English Language and Film, and has since travelled widely. He is currently based in Busan, South Korea, where he writes whenever he can escape the classroom. Email: tommarcantonio[at]