Tires screech around the corner of a dark alley in a well-lit neighborhood. The car comes to a screeching halt, and a steel-capped boot steps out and onto the pavement. It’s impossible to tell whether this boot is stylish or gaudy, so we have to go by the houndstooth pant leg overlapping the top; the kind that a lunch lady would wear her chef’s whites were dirty. Another nearly identical boot and leg follow. Since this is the mirror opposite of the first boot, it would be safe to assume that both of these legs belong to the same person. Otherwise we would have to get two persons into a very awkward position to be standing this way.
As it so happens, both legs do belong to the same individual. He tosses a cigarette in his mouth a lights it. Ahhh, the sweet taste of future cancer. Doesn’t get any better than this. He’s a cool-looking dude somewhere between the ages of sixteen and thirty-eight, looking pretty slick in his leather jacket. Or rather, he would look slick if the jacket didn’t clash so loudly with the pants. He walks up to a door. The door is of a business. The door has a sign on it, most likely the name of the business. The sign says PYRAMID GALLERY. Presumably, then, the name of the business is Pyramid Gallery. That is a safe bet, and one I wouldn’t mind putting money on, if anyone would care to take me up on it.
He still has the cigarette in his mouth. It would be another fifteen years before they banned smoking in public indoor spaces, but the etiquette of art galleries has always been: Don’t. Any idiot knows that. Which goes to show that he’s no idiot. He walks slowly through the showroom, pretending to know something about art. He does a cool Elvis-move with his arms, which is what one should do in a leather jacket. He folds one arm under the other and contorts his hand with the cigarette up to his mouth to take a drag. He admires a cool painting which could be a Jackson Pollock, and blows tar all over it. He turns around, and in the center of the room, he spies a slowly spinning column. This column has been known to be adorned at various times with deli meats, at other times with human organs. Our Cool Guy doesn’t know this, however. At this particular moment it is, for want of a better term, a statue, a monument, a testament to all the lives that have been absorbed into its frame. The nude bodies, the faces, some caught in the middle of a laugh, others a scream, all appear to have been chiseled into whatever material this is made from. Obsidian, perhaps? Onyx? Something quite dark, anyway. It spins more, to reveal a strange puzzle box carved into it. And another ninety degrees, a man with lines carved into his face in a crisscross pattern.
“You want it?” comes a voice from behind. He turns around to see a scruffy, unkempt individual. He smells a bit as well. Typical artist type.
“Is it yours?” Cool Guy asks.
“No,” says the man. “Not mine. Yours.”
“How much you want for it?”
The man shrugs. “Whatever you think it’s worth.”
Cool guy pulls a large wad of bills from his jacket pocket. All singles. “How ‘bout… thirty-two dollars? Oh, hold on… and…uh…sixty-four, nope, sixty-five cents?”
The man thinks it over. Yes, he wants to be rid of it, but surely he thought he could squeeze more from the guy. I mean, trendy leather jacket, steel-tipped boots? Houndstooth pants or not, this kid seemed like he had style, and thus, money.
“…And the rest of my cigarette?” He holds out the half-smoked butt.
The man shakes his hand with his fingerless gloves. “Exactly the figure I had in mind. Thirty-two sixty-five and half a cigarette. All yours. Take pleasure in it.”
Take pleasure in it? Cool Guy thinks. What a weird thing to say. Whatever. If this sweet art thing doesn’t get me laid, I give up. If I turn seventeen or thirty-nine and I’m still a goddamn virgin I’m gonna goddamn kill myself.
“Have a sweaty day,” he says to the man, loading the thing in his car.
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