Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Painter of the Night by James Tate


The Painter of the Night

Someone called in a report that she had 
seen a man painting in the dark over by the 
pond. A police car was dispatched to go in- 
vestigate. The two officers with their big 
flashlights walked all around the pond, but 
found nothing suspicious. Hatcher was the 
younger of the two, and he said to Johnson, 
'What do you think he was painting?' Johnson 
looked bemused and said, 'The dark, stupid. 
What else could he have been painting?' Hatcher, 
a little hurt, said, 'Frogs in the Dark, Lily- 
pads in the Dark, Pond in the Dark. Just as 
many things exist in the dark as they do in 
the light.' Johnson paused, exasperated. Then 
Hatcher added, 'I'd like to see them. Hell, 
I might even buy one. Maybe there's more out 
there than we know. We are the police, after- 
all. We need to know.' 

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