The door gently creaked; he rushed into the dark and hit the light switch with an accurate lash of his left arm and in doing so the studio burst into life. The switch clicked on the kettle as he quickly started to prepare a cup of tea. Noticing that there was an extra mug on the tray he sighed to himself, this was new and he hadn’t seen the mug before. Setting out the two mugs and placing teabags in both he turned to the corner and spoke quietly, “I take it you want a cup of tea then?” Duke didn’t answer…he just sat still, an imposing presence that seemed to silently dominate the room. Whilst the kettle sang its husky song he removed the sketchbooks from his bag and laid them out on the desk. “I don’t need you today…I’ve got a lot to do on these, OK?” Duke stayed silent and didn’t move; whatever was planned today Duke wouldn’t be going anywhere. SWITCH “The things you do with your face. I’m sitting here in front of you but you have a way of performing on screen that just doesn’t seem like the person that’s here.” He sipped from his teacup whilst the film played on the laptop. Jonathan smiled, “Yes, we’ll take this for the show in Bahrain.” HEADLINE NEWS…FLOATING WORLD EXHIBITION, BAHRAIN CONFIRMED…HEADLINE NEWS. SWITCH The door opened with a familiar sound; he ventured into the dark and flicked the light switch on slowly. As the light blinked into the studio space the sight of Duke in front of him…just waiting…confirmed the thought that he had carried all the way from the station. Namely that Duke might be pissed off with him after he left abruptly yesterday following a day’s work on the sketchbooks. “OK, I know…I wanted to get the 17.25 train and had to get off.” Duke ignored him, “Fine…stay silent for all I care, I’ve got work to do.” He threw down the bag with his sketchbooks in and headed for the kettle. Both mugs had been cleaned and sat ready. He glanced over at Duke but decided not to ask him whether he wanted tea, he just filled the kettle with water and clicked the switch on. The atmosphere seemed strained between them but he reasoned that it might defrost if he kept the dialogue going, “I meant to ask you, have you ever met an old guy on the train from Blake Street? There’s a woman as well, piercing blue eyes…I just thought you might know them? They both seem to know you.” Duke didn’t answer; the atmosphere would not be thawing just yet. SWITCH Sonny and Suzanne had dropped in to the studio to see how things were going, it was half term and they had been in town so decided to meet at the BMI for lunch. Sonny walked around the space looking at all the work on the walls. Noticing someone he thought was vaguely familiar Sonny then moved towards Duke, he hadn’t met Duke properly, he’d seen him but never met him first hand. The boy just stared waiting for a response…nothing…Duke just returned the gaze and the moment between them was tense…silent. Suddenly Sonny snapped out of his gaze and turned to a handwritten list on the wall. The list signalled some references to clowns and had been up there since the first day of the residency. CHAPLIN – LIMELIGHT, JERRY LEWIS – THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, BUSTER KEATON – FILM – STEAMBOAT BILL JNR, GROCK, JONATHAN PRYCE – THE COMEDIANS, REECE SHEARSMITH – PYSCHOVILLE, ‘SAD CLOWNS’ (1961) BFI, TEARS OF A CLOWN – SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES. After reading it to himself Sonny turned to Duke, “You’ve missed something off the list.” The boy picked up a pen from the desk and wrote ‘Death of a Clown’ The Kinks. Duke looked blankly ahead, ignoring the action. Suzanne moved to the studio door, “Shall we go then?” SWITCH The light flickered and filled the studio, just as before Duke was waiting for him. This was their routine now and he was growing used to it. “Morning. Tea?” He could hear Duke muttering as he moved to the kettle and he took that as an affirmative. Preparing the drinks he pondered what was ahead for the day. “I’ve got a lot to get on with today and Jack might drop in to go over the film footage. I know you don’t like visitors but it’s tough I’m afraid, he’ll be here today or tomorrow.” Pouring the milk into Duke’s mug he turned and placed the hot drink down on the desk, he could here the muttering still, half whispered; “I’ll take that as a thank you.” SWITCH The morning had gone reasonably well, he’d e-mailed the catalogue info off to the gallery in Bahrain and started to edit through the images for Flatpack. Duke had kept himself occupied and not interrupted the work. After a short text to Jack to see if he would be making it in to the studio he turned the music on. The sound of Teenage Fanclub’s “Slow Fade” filled the studio and eased the palpable silence. A tri-tone sound peaked above the noise and the return text from Jack appeared on the phone screen – Hi – Sorry, yes we did talk about meeting this week. I forgot to confirm which day though. Would tomorrow afternoon be good for you? He responded immediately with a text to confirm and then turned to Duke who was still whisper-muttering to himself in the corner. “We’re on our own all day then. Jack’ll be in tomorrow now, Dr Connie is off too, so just you and I.” Walking back over to the kettle he clicked the switch and collected the two mugs together as he prepared another round of drinks. “I had a message from someone on twitter last night about Mr Melia…do you remember him? It turns out this person knows him, or at least knows he’s still with us. Do you think I should get back to her and ask for more information?” Duke’s whispering became louder; he seemed more vocal, more present than ever before. Sitting with Rina’s book on Frances Bacon open at a page that had an image of “Two Studies for a Self-Portrait” (1970) next to some text. It bore the typical signs of Bacon’s method…distorted…disfigured…blurred. Duke appeared to be preoccupied with the image and he seemed determined to draw attention it. “What do you want…you want me to look at this?” He took the book from where Duke was positioned and turned it around so that he could view it properly. Reaching for his sketchbook and a pen he transcribed the words that accompanied the image into his sketchbook…BODY IN ITS LIVING, NATURAL AND SPASMODIC STATE OF MOTION. The sound of Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Man-Made’ album was still audible in the space and he realised that the tracks had been on shuffle as what he knew as the opening song burst from the speaker “It’s All In My Mind” written by Norman Blake was one of his favourite songs from the album and the words now seemed to bore into his thoughts as he looked at the Bacon image again. “I was in the water, I was half a human. I looked into the clouds for war solution.”