1663. Coromo slumped in his chair and looked very intently at Mr. Cronk’s drooping lower eyelids. He felt like a man who has been found innocent of a serious crime because of the accident of having worn a red shirt instead of a green shirt on a particular Wednesday morning. If it had been the green shirt he would be headed to the scaffold, but thank God it was the red shirt: but only by accident.
1664. “Tell me about your Uncle Thomas that painted these paintings,” said Mr. Cronk. Coromo was at a loss for words and said nothing for several seconds. He was aware that if he started to make up outlandish stories about an Uncle Thomas who painted the pictures he would be found out as soon as he spoke. He could see that his visitor was a man who knew about a lot of things of which he was ignorant.
1665. Coromo proceeded to describe an imaginary Uncle Thomas as near to himself as possible, in this way trying to avoid giving himself away. The Uncle he described also worked in the restaurant on a different shift, and had started to paint pictures by accident because he found a French landscape painters easel that had been abandoned by a tourist. When he finished Mr. Cronk handed him a business card and said, “I would very much like to meet your Uncle Thomas, tell him to call me.”
1666. Coromo could see that his visitor did not believe a word about any Uncle but was not the sort of man that would come out and accuse another person of lying.