By Ruby Blackthorne from Copycat Killing, the third in the Magical Cats mystery series by Sofie Kelly.
I’m an artist. People usually guess that from my hair and my piercings. Pink and turquoise hair and six rings in one ear don’t exactly scream accountant or cardiologist. I paint big acrylic abstracts, although lately I’ve been doing some funky pop-art cats. I also take photographs, and I teach art. I sing too, but that’s really just for fun.
I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur as well as an artist. I guess you could say it’s in my blood. My grandfather, Idris Blackthorne, had a couple of what you might call “small businesses.” He was a supplier of liquid refreshments and games of chance. In other words, he was the town bootlegger and he ran a regular high-stakes Saturday night poker game.
I don’t have anything against making money, but I want to do it on my own terms, so when Jaeger Merrill came up with the idea of finding some big business to subsidize the artist’s co-op, kind of like a patron of the arts, I voted no. I’m not going to hand over the rights to use my artwork. I’m not against one of my paintings being used to sell cat food or toothpaste, but I’m not about to give up the right to choose how my art’s used just for free rent and having someone else deal with the four feet of water in the co-op basement. Jaeger thinks I’m wrong. He thinks we’re all wrong and he just can’t seem to let it go. How many times does he have to hear the word “No?”
He’s an *sshat. His head is so far up his—well, you know what—he’s wearing it for a hat. And I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen Jaeger somewhere before. I wish I could remember where.
I don’t know how this is all going to end, but I don’t have a good feeling.