Friday, June 29, 2012

The Artist | 1

My blog is a confusing place, full of half-finished stories and random snippets.

Here's yet another tale (which is almost complete; or at least, I already have an ending. Which is comforting, because I NEVER know how my stories will end until they do.)


Another wake-up call. Another alarm piercing through the haze of what-hour-is-this.

I pick up the phone. “Yeah.”

The broken voice at the other end attempts to say my name properly.

“What is it now?” I ask, knowing I won’t get an answer.

“I…I don’t know.” (pause) “I don’t know why I called.”


Sighing. “OhgodI’msorrythisisstupid.”

A long pause.

“I think I’m going to throw up.” He sounds raspy, used.

“Go on. I’ll still be here when you’re done.”

“No…no wait, it’s passed.”

My bed calls me back, nice and warm. “You need me to come over.”

“No, no. It’s alright.” A discreet sniffle.

“Where are you?”


“Right.” I fumble for my pants in the dark. “Give me fifteen minutes.”


*  *  *

His shoulders are thinner than I remember. My large, rough hands feel oafish on this once-elegant frame, whittled down by a steady diet of Dunhills and absinthe. It doesn’t make sense. Then again, few things do at 4am.

We were both artists. I a painter and performance artist, he a poet and journalist. One of us got into Yale and a promising career. The other got into trouble with bankers and loan sharks.

What can I say? Journalism pays better than fine art.

Ours was a family of clerks and bankers and quantity surveyors, when we weren’t barmaids or shop-keeps or security guards. He had been our shooting star. He had been our hope. At least, he was mine. My one link to redemption – that I am somehow related to this brilliant, beautiful person.

And here he is: still as brilliant, and only slightly less beautiful.

I should be mad at him.

I wrap my arms around him and stamp out his cigarette, ignoring his faint protest.

We stand like that for an eternity as the clock ticks and the world drifts past in a daze, ignoring us as it always does.

“You’ll get yourself killed one of these days.”


“Ma called. Asked about you.”

“And what did you tell her this time?”

I grunt in place of a reply.

“You told me once that you’d do anything for me.” His feet swayed slightly; he leaned into me. “That you’d fight for me. You’d lie for me.”

“And how many lies have I told already?”

The head droops, angular chin against a hollow chest.

“You were always good at lies.” I squeeze his shoulders once before letting him go. From now on, you tell your own.”

When I walk away, he is still standing there, still as a sculpture, a Michelangelo weathered by wind and neglect. I would take a picture of him but the light’s not right.

Note: this story is ideally read as a whole, but for the purpose of easier screen reading, I'm breaking it up


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