What do you mean, what do I mean?
In this universe I didn’t leave Los Angeles all at once, never mind what I told James.
This one was a premeditated countdown, walking the streets of the San Fernando Valley.
Tender age of eighteen. Side by side with an introspective, unfathomable girl by the name of Leah.
Leah, large forehead, enormous eyes. Miniature smile always on the cusp of wielding a more hopeful weapon.
I’ll tell you more about her someday.
Just outside an art gallery, when we were hailed by a roper with the head and body of a slender, silhouetted extraterrestrial. He invited us in to have a look around. One thousand or so square space. Bright lights shining down on five hundred or so rectangles. Stretched canvas. Water color, oil based, finger paints. Pick a medium. Pick a theme, any theme.
“And they’re all mine,” he said. Ducked down behind an easel.
Emerged with a beer and an olive strapped martini.
“Where’d you get the scratch?” I asked him. Watched as Leah made her way, an anonymous friend in hand, checking images off a transparent list. “These are all yours?”
“That’s not an appropriate question, Lucky,” he said. Pulled back on his beer, and tilted. Let it pour down his chin, on the floor. “Now you’re going to have to wait for this.”
“I didn’t want it.”
“Yes, not tonight.”
He wasn’t looking to land a sale.
Took a sip of his cocktail and motioned towards the back.
I let myself slide, losing track of Leah and the outside.
Settled in before a framed, six by two piece. Brushstrokes in the key of blue. Two figures standing face to face. One, a short, full figured woman. Young woman. Wide eyes staring blankly over her pert little nose. Mesmerized by an upright, cartoon beagle. Dead ringer for Snoopy in his later years.
“I like his one,” I told him.
“Speaks to you, does it?” he asked.
“Yes… got a title?”
“Yes… she just realized her husband is a dog.”
I told him I would buy it for twenty dollars.
Going price was fifteen hundred.
I turned to ask Leah for the remaining $14,980.
She had already left the gallery.
The curator offered me his beer. “Are you ready now?”
Bottle neck just under my nose.
Familiar smell so close to nothing, it seemed good a time as any.
“Not ready,” I told him. Gave myself another moment with last night. Left behind on the roof top. Leah’s words like cold cellophane, stars and lights in the Valley trapped, sealed. Locked in. “Snow globe.”
“Paper weight,” he said. “Shake it hard enough, and there’s a moment when all those flakes touch each other.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Want to try it again?”
“Could be worse, this time around.”
“How many times before I don’t have to see this ugly fucking piece of work?”
He held out the beer. “Any day now.”
I accepted the offer and drained it.
Bubbly liquid flowing down my throat, up my snout.
The smell of moldy bread mixing with my steps as I moved towards the painting.
Stepped on through and took one last look.
Saw Leah stepping back through the gallery door.
Wondering. Annoyed. Concerned.
Ambivalent, was the worst part.
Enough to send me through the frame, sucked in between that beagle and his newly enlightened wife, plaster paste surrounding me, up into my eyes, nostrils, every part that had an opening, even my ass wondering what would be left of me when I came out the other side.
or for fucking free in digital
so long and thanks for all the pish.