ArchivesSite MapSubmitOur GangContact UsHot Sites
1983-2015
tearing the rag off the bush again
New York: Wet Promise PDF E-mail
My friend is a painter. I promised him I‘d go tonight to his opening. On the way to the gallery, my boring walk reminds me of something but I cannot remember what. So, I sway down the street together with my annoying lapsus. As if it were not enough, I sense somebody, or something, is also pacing, just behind me, hastening to reach me. I am taken in by some opposite of the walker’s déja vu, almost an après vu, I guess. For some unfathomable reason something is discreetly occupying almost one point nothing of my deficient shadow.

Anyway, I arrive at the gallery a little late. There is a bearded eulogizer already speaking in the middle of the huge chamber. He exhorts a dithyrambic clatter I have rarely witnessed. His rant addressed to no one. The room is empty. I, absent by the entrance, my painter friend, transfixed in a corner.

The speaker warns us of the enormous dangers of our false humility as represented in the great masters’ paintings. We are cautioned about the nefarious effects of replication, complication and even postplication. He informs us that the long forgotten seven pillars of wisdom are currently perforating a most deplorable background of insufficient eternity, The New York Times is often mentioned and countless isms are evoked, on and on.

I look at the painting nearest to me. It is St. Peter; crucified. He stares back at me pleadingly, nailed upside down but somewhat slanting at an even more painful angle, his blood-soaked hair surpassing the painting’s frame drips, shaping a steaming acrylic puddle on the floor. I really cannot help Pete right now. I shun his gape and embarrassed by my Roman descent I try to reach my friend crossing the hollow around the nervous critic.

I ask my friend what on Earth he did to the dying saint. He says that’s not his painting and he never painted undead Jews. Ok then, but where is his stuff? Next room, he tells me. I go back there to check.

Here, another immense hall and one awfully small painting hung in the distance, on the opposite wall. I begin to walk forward too see my friend’s work. The painting though, keeps drawing itself back, preserving its initial remoteness in spite of my physical advance toward it. I remember I have also forgotten my eyeglasses home so I give up this uncanny chase and return in the first room.

The speaker is still going strong; this time we learn that the matter in general excels in its sad nature and that the same sadness engulfs our flesh, while we, the ignorant bearers of such a wretched scourge, are being carefully tailored by a vast array of quantumoid conspirators, to fit the terrible chasm isolating the figurative lessnessness from the more abstract lessnessless and…

I cannot see my friend, perhaps he left, but there he is, gun in hand. I ask him what his painting’s title is, what’s it about? He laughs.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….....

I don’t even know what to worry about first; Pete’s handgun or his intriguing painting I could not see last night. I’ll go back to the gallery, that’s for sure. I’ll pretend I’m a collector or an art dealer and ask to see it; maybe even buy it. It’s about the right time now, 7 PM or thereabouts. Let’s go.

The place is shut down, dark, no night-lights, three padlocks on its iron gate. I walk around the corner in the back alley; I don’t even act as if peeing, I openly test the gallery’s emergency side door. Piece of cake, I don’t even need a crowbar.

I’m in. Inside, a very faint light, white enough to see a little. I can’t figure out what my intentions are. What am I doing? Anyway, let’s find the painting. I take a left and there I am, in the right place, the one with Pete’s painting. I walk hunched, I don’t know why.

Complete silence, I stop. I need a plan, some mental sketch of my ridiculous liabilities.

What if the painting keeps receding away from me again? Or if there is some guard watching. How do I work this out? I decide I must fake an unassuming gait and head directly to the painting. What the hell can happen?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Peter al Kousath bin Web is my painter friend’s pen name, or brush name, to be precise. I wonder again if something bad has happened to him last night. He and his 38. Not good.

In his better days, he used to import baby body parts from Romania. He was flying the babies alive to Mexico City, zap them there in some favela, pack their tiny eyeballs, livers, kidneys and throbbing hearts and then ship them in refrigerated parcels overnight express to Montreal.

I remember I’ve asked him once, whether he had ever insured those packages. He said it was quite impossible. He complained the international regulations have constantly prevented him to exercise his basic right to such a common sense business procedure. The postal authorities had always maintained that it is illegal to insure any parcel once it is clearly marked UNCLAIMED HUMANITARIAN AID - FOR ROMANIA - PLEASE RETURN TO SENDER

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I can scarcely tell things apart, I’m scared stiff amid this darkness. Nevertheless, I did make it. Pete’s painting is right in front of me. I can see it now; it’s about five by eight inches, business envelope size, oil on canvas. Its label reads: “Female Spotted Hyena & Four Cubs."

In the picture, a ferocious mammal much larger than its own flaunt image, displays her pseudo-penis dangling above three half-eaten cubs. Uncertain, I count again the unlucky hyena babies. There are but three of them indeed.

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Pete Web paints since the early seventies but he is only about sixty-something these days. Web’s Web site Page starts with a short video where he and one underage fat girl engage in some rather atypical anal sex involving dangerous carpentry tools and various other promiscuous gadgets. He calls his young lady, Anna La, apropos of Shangri La I guess, or something. I have never cared to elucidate.

Web sells LSD. When it comes to things, that’s his occupation. Ever since I’ve known him, he had always sold LSD, Page after Page. His mother was, and still is, his best customer. She does not buy it by the square as any other regular client does; she always bought it in huge quantities, by the Page, one or two at the time, depending on the discount she negotiated with her son. By the way, once she bought one entire stash, one whole Directory of it, thousands of doses.

As a friend, I suggested to Web to cool it a notch and stop advertising the sell of illegal drugs over the Net, not to mention the sex scene on his Web front Page. At least, to have the decency to self-censor the part where his mother is watching them going at it or please mute those funny squeals the elderly ogler squeaks. It is most unbecoming of a ninety-year-old nice and abjectly spaced-out grandma.

He tells me, I’m a big-time idiot and I’ll never figure out how things work in the States. “What can a dense Romanian understand? Look dick head! In this country, we do whatever the fuck we want! Moreover, whilst we invented Canada, the rest of you losers, believed hot water was the warmer variety of the cold one. You, Goddamn surfing Pechenegonians!”

It is true; sometimes my Web gets really tense, but he delivers. Web’s old fashion though; he uses snail-DHL.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………...

Should I steal the painting? I don’t know. It makes no sense. After all, it’s my friend’s property. I really don’t know. Should I snatch it or what? I hear some noises. Frozen I listen. There is something going on in the next room. Forget it! I grab the picture and run.

Once again, something is following me in the night rain. I run faster, faster and faster and when I gather enough guts, I look back.

Behind me, one hyena puppy limps hurriedly on the glistening broken sidewalk.

When I stop, he stops. When I move, he moves.

The two of us, dripping wet, dissolve in the clammy night. The molten man, the already future beast, a kind of us, an almost we, both randomly synchronized in a dance, I’d rather not dance…

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 
< Prev   Next >