It was thirteen days after the de Montille murders when Vincent was confronted at Le Tambourine by Feneon. It was meant to be a quiet drink after lunch with Agostina at the bar in celebration of Vincent’s birthday, but Feneon sat next to him at the bar even before Vincent’s drink was served. Jean-Guy sliced lemons a short distance away, making noises with the end of his tongue, ‘tch, tch’, as if the lemons had done something bad and deserved punishment.
“Now, Vincent, you see with your own eyes the depth to which our society has sunk?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Base capitalism. It is the government who is causing this. Where money is everything, encouraging women to sell their bodies and men to sell their souls.”
“Are you talking about the murders from two weeks ago?”
“What else? It is obvious. As plain as the nose on your face. Base Capitalism. A manifestation of the times in which we live, of the corrupt government and society. These murders are going to be happening more and more frequently, not just here, but all over the world! Mark my words.”
“It was an unimaginable tragedy, but how can the death of two women and a little girl be attributed to… What did you call it? Base capitalism?”
“Did you know they have captured the perpetrator? And have you heard his history?”
“It is the government and its economic policies that determine what is valued and what is not. And governments today, only value money. Not honest wages for honest work. Not the respect a man should have for a woman. Not the value of innocent human lives. It is the government that gives rise to such tragedies.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more, as far as honest work deserves an honest wage, but how does the government make that happen?”
“That is just the point. The only thing the government is interested in is itself and raising money to support itself. The only way to prevent this from continuing, mon ami, is a revolution! Get rid of government and let people rule themselves! If not, mark my words, more of these atrocities will be happening! We are gaining support for our cause more and more every day. Even now, Paul Gauguin has said he believes in the rights of the workers and will be donating some paintings to help support us.”
“I thought Gauguin wanted nothing to do with the Pointillists or their cause, calling them ‘Petit Pointillists’.”
“History that is past. He realises that ‘good for all’ must take precedence over the childish pranks of yesteryear. Besides, with our contacts we can publicise his work to let people know what a great artist he is. Painting will never again be only one style. This will be beneficial to all concerned.” After a pause, “This is what we can offer you.”
Remembering what Guillaumin had said about not wanting to say ‘No’ directly, Vincent replies, “I will think about it.”
“Don’t think too long. At some point, the revolution will happen and you need to be on the right side.”
Even though Vincent would think of Feneon’s offer many times again, he never once regretted his decision to reject it.
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