Many apologies for the delay in posting, we have had swine flu in the family. All recovered now thank goodness.
As always, I do not own Harold, Albert or Hercules. They belong to the phenomenal writing team of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. All other characters are mine.
Harold thought long and hard about what he would wear for his first art class. Tempted as he was to wear a smock and beret he did not want to stand out, so he decided on corduroy trousers and a plain shirt.
"Where the hell are you going?" Demanded his father when he came downstairs. "You are always going out these days, leaving me all on my own. Anything could happen to me while you are gadding about, you don't care."
"Father, you have proved many times how healthy you are even though you look like an animated corpse. I doubt very much anything will happen to you while I am out, you just want to stop me having a life."
"You have a life, here with me. Why do you want to go out all the time?"
"I will not dignify that with an answer Father. Don't wait up for me."
He got to the Art School at 5 to 6. No one appeared to be there and he wondered if he had the day wrong.
"Hello Harold." He turned to see Jan running towards him. "Sorry I'm late, there was an after school meeting."
"That's ok, I just got here myself. Where are the others?"
"Inside. I told them I would be late and I would meet you here. Shall we go in?"
"You are not nervous are you?" She asked as they entered the building and began to climb the stairs.
"A little." He confessed. "I've never done anything like this before. I don't really know what to expect, or what to do or say." Jan linked his arm.
"You are such a dear man Harry. Look, the tutor's name is Francois, he is in his 40's and he is very helpful and friendly. His real name is Stanley but he prefers Francois. Don't worry, you will be fine." They came to a stop. "This is it, are you ready?"
"As I will ever be." She smiled.
"Come on then." She opened the door and they went in. It was a large, well-lit room, the walls covered with paintings. There were about 15 people in the room, most of them standing by an easel. In the middle of the room was a short, dark-haired man pacing up and down.
"How can they do this to me? They know how important it is to me and they let me down."
"Francois." Said Jan. "This is……" Before she could say more the man came over.
"My goodness." He said. "They have surpassed themselves this time. You, Sir, are a wonderful specimen."
"Francois…" Began Jan, but he waved her aside.
"You are perfect for tonight's theme." He took Harold's hand. "I will show you where to change."
"What's wrong with what I have on?" Asked Harold. "I chose it carefully."
"It is hardly suitable for Alexander the Great."
"Francois, will you please listen." Said Jan. "This is my friend Harry; he has come to join the class."
"You mean he is not tonight's model?"
"No, I'm sorry." Francois' face fell.
"Then we have 2 tragedies my dears. 1, we have no life model for tonight's class, and 2, we don't have the opportunity to paint and draw this hunk." He sighed. "C'est la vie darlings." Harold turned to Jan.
"Did he think I was the model?"
"Apparently so, looks like the booked model has failed to arrive." Yvonne, Carole and Roger came over.
"Good to see you Harry, glad you could make it."
"Thank you. I was a bit nervous, but I'm ok now."
"Why don't you model for us?" Asked Carole. Harold stared at her.
"No, I couldn't possibly."
"I think you would make a splendid model." Said Roger. "Make a change to see a real man instead of some of the specimens we usually get."
"Do you really think so?"
"Yes Harry, I do." Harold pondered for a minute, and then went over to Francois.
"Oh please, just Francois."
"Francois." He cleared his throat. "If you are really stuck for a model I would be happy to fill in. Just this once you understand."
"Harry, you are a wonderful man. You have no idea what a fix you have got me out of."
"Not nude though, I couldn't do it nude."
"And you won't, I have just the thing for you. Come with me."