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17. July 2021

Mr Lush at the Uffizi Galleries

by

Yves Yannick Stork

Dear Olivier,

thank you for your many kind letters. You have known me for a long time; I won’t even start making up an excuse for not writing back to you. At times, I am simply too lazy to write anything of value. But now that I’m at it, I have to tell you about my unexpected visit to the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

As you may remember, I told you that I was going to Italy at the Green to Blue club a few weeks ago. A good friend of mine, a penguin with aviophobia, won the lottery for ten first class flights on British Axeways. Guess who got one of them. It might be worth mentioning that I helped his son get into Eton some time ago – one hand washes the other, you know how it is!

I enjoyed the fantastic flight with some oysters and a bottle of Mollinger, which I shared with my neighbour, a beautiful blue vixen. We got on very well – I told her about our nights at the “Flamingo”. When she’s back in London, she really wants to come. After landing in Florence, I immediately sent Flavio a text: “If a blue vixen asks for me, open a bottle of champagne, provide her with a seat in my Eagle’s Nest corner and let me know. I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”

Anyway, we got on so well that we shared a taxi to the city centre and arranged to have dinner at one of the nicest restaurants right on the Arno. I admit, I pretended to have money. Long story short: After an excellent 7-course menu with wine accompaniment, I pulled out my first credit card, then – a little later – the second… the third… the fourth.

Aware of how to play it cool in such situations, I kept explaining to the waiter that it was probably because English credit cards don’t work on the mainland. When he replied that he had already had at least ten customers from England today whose credit cards worked perfectly fine, I was even more annoyed at the fact that I had promised him a generous tip. I had no choice but to tell him that I was terribly sorry; I would leave him my dinner jacket and my mobile phone as a deposit and get some cash. Would that be all right with him? He nodded – on one condition: the blue vixen had to stay. That did not make the situation any less unpleasant, especially because by now she had offered to pay at least 20 times. In my usual vanity, I refused.

I had what appeared to be a brilliant idea: there are night tours in the Uffizi Galleries. I would simply pretend to be a guide, collect the dumb tourists’ money, briefly walk them around and then take off. It can’t be that difficult.

In fact, the plan went off without a hitch because it did not take much to convince people of my existence as an English art historian living in Florence. I collected the cash and quickly had a group of 30 people that I led into the Uffizi, full of confidence and champagne. The problem, which became more and more evident as I climbed the stairs, was that I had absolutely no clue about art history. I had no choice but to wing it. One of my new friends documented the entire thing – see for yourself:

I know – it needs some good photoshopping.
Dude, that guy knows!
Mosquitos are a real pain.
Did you see the guy with the giant selfie stick?
Go to a Berlin tailor; you get a better cut and longer credit.
Uhm, no thanks!
Saturdays at the Green to Blue club.
Smell my feet!
My brother and me.
Haircut goals.
Running into the club when I hear my favourite song.
I woke up like this.
Money, power and intrigues.
When I was your age…
A Prince of Wales for you, Sir.
… and another Prince of Wales for you, Sir.
Excuse me, there’s a head in my Prince of Wales!
TAXI!
Volare… oho… cantare…
Can we take a picture?

At some point, I disappeared through the toilet window. To my surprise, the restaurant was still open. I paid my amount but the blue vixen had already left. She had scribbled something on the napkin: “Do not ever invite me again!”

Ah, che bella vita!

How was your week, Olivier?