Stroke, Fondle and Poke.

Alfrid had sight of him: location Gallery 2. Using the zoom function on the security camera monitor, he watched awhile, as the man lightly stroked a high value piece with his fingertips.
Excuse me sir!” Alfrid yodelled, skidding to a stop on the polished gallery floor. “You can’t touch this.”
Surrounded by non-figurative paintings on the walls were five sculptures, located near the centre of the room. Each, human-sized in scale, formed from richly veined marble and oil-finished ash timber, broadly cylindrical and smooth. Bored into the sides, round-shaped holes added interest, some through the marble, other holes appearing in the wood. Naturally, the sculptures called out to be touched and the man doing the touching, stood dressed in full military fatigues.
“I sanitized my hands thoroughly.” He said, pulling away sharply from the sculpture he’d been caught fondling. “At the entrance, when I came in.” He held his hands up in front of his chest, palms showing, his long fingers stretching outwards.
“Well.” Alfrid hesitated. Abstract words collided with each other inside his mind, while he tried to formulate a coherent sentence.
“I thought the problem with touching, had to do with dirt and grease from people’s hands, transferring onto the sculpture.” The army man looked at the gallery custodian, appealing for a judgement. “Coupled with the passage of time, it’s these minute abrasives and oils which cause the damage.”
“Look, it’s just, if I say ‘yes’ to you,” Alfrid’s voice vibrated with a conciliatory tone, “you know what I mean?”
“Others will think it’s alright to touch the exhibits too?”
“That’s right, sir.”
Although,” the military man countered, “there’s no one else in here, just you and I. No one else will see me touching.” Both men threw glances around the room, unnecessarily.
Alfrid placed his hands on his hips; he felt close to conceding the point. Staring out through the shopfront earlier, had demonstrated the street outside as empty. No cars, no people, no stray dogs, no vapour trails intersecting across the blue sky. Following the second-wave onslaught of the virus pandemic, this had become the new normal.
The telephone at the reception in Gallery 1 rang. “One moment, please.” Alfrid said, raising a relaxed index finger up in the air, as he backed out of the space.

Continue reading “Stroke, Fondle and Poke.”

A Brief But Furious Struggle

“My name’s Samdrew Wilmot-Dickson and today,” the camera scoots back from a facial close-up revealing an interior of palatial grandeur, “I am here, to view the centre-piece display, broadcasting live from this year’s annual, academy summer show.”
The presenter walks out of shot revealing two elderly cellists, who commence with playing an Offenbach composition to accompany the tracking shot of the gallery installation. Before a minute has passed, Wilmot-Dickson is back, the opus consigned to the background, volume pitched suitable for the inside of an elevator.
“Margaret Frideswide is the Midland’s most widely recognised, commercially successful and so far – oldest surviving artist. Not much is known of her early background, but what we do know is she was born in Birmingham at the beginning of the Second World War. Later, as a teenager, Frideswide moved to Denmark, where – during the 1960s, she studied art at the University of Jutland. And,” camera draws out to a wider shot, “I am delighted to say, Margaret has agreed to join me today, to talk about her latest works.”
A small-framed woman, cunicular, face-on she blinks into the lens, her expression blank. She twitches her nose, then her mouth opens and a tongue moistens her lips several times, suggesting speech to follow. Yet no words come forth.
“Now Margaret, the art in this exhibition is made from darkness and light,” the art critic brings his hands up, striking a dramatic pose. “and what’s jumping out to me are the edges, I see them as frontiers, where you’ve negotiated boundaries that surrender to the real world. This is where the art begins and ends, where – at once the eye enters and then leaves the image.” Samdrew pauses, takes a breath, looks across to the artist expectantly, eyebrows arched.
Margaret Frideswide sighs quietly. Without turning her head, she shoots a glance to the man, then resumes her gaze into the camera. A diminutive chin slides sideways, momentarily swelling a cheek outwards, before returning to position normale.
Unfazed, Wilmot-Dickson continues. “These works represent your latest paintings and I would be remiss were I not to mention how they are indeed, shot through with a powerful sense of morbidity, almost appallingly raw.” Wilmot-Dickson, rooted to the spot, resembles a Romeo pointing upwards, appealing to a high-placed balcony. “Take this one, positioned above these great oak doors, where you first enter in to the gallery. It seems to me charged with a neurosis, a simmering swimming pool of visual pleasure, evoking a wild sense of hostility, and indifference.”
Then what follows is a brief but furious struggle, as a triggered Frideswide banshee screams and leaps upon her quarry, slapping him about his face and pulling at his hair, forcing him onto his knees. Before he is able to shake her off, both cellists run in and despatch penalty strike kicks straight into his ribcage. It is only the film crew who come to his assistance en masse, dragging the artist off and blocking further involvement from the two aged musicians.
Wilmot-Dickson, bloodied lip, chin and white shirt, neck-tie pulled sharply to one side, sits blubbering into his hands, while shrieks and howls from Frideswide continue to echo through the gallery chambers, as she is escorted to the staff canteen to cool off. The two cellists promptly pack their instruments and leave the gallery.

But Next Day

The first instalment from a series of short form fiction; inspiration taken from collage by pedrov_dog

Mother said there’s no point learning to drive, but next day this man arrives saying he’s my driving instructor. There’re things about him I don’t like. I don’t like his clothes or his beard, how he talks to me in that over-familiar tone. Like he owns me or something.

And I don’t trust him. If I am going to learn how to drive with anyone, they need to be someone I see as trustworthy. What if he gets me to run people over, zig-zag across pavements taking out unsuspecting shoppers, leaving them maimed for life? What if he’s got a loaded gun stashed under the front passenger seat?

I don’t know. I’m bored by the whole idea of learning to drive and I’m not sure Mother really has my best interests at heart. I’m not sure she’s ever had my best interests at heart. I wonder if there’s some sort of secret history between Mother and ‘Rick’? Not that I care two jots if there is… frankly.

I want to go back to reading my book, which I have to finish by Tuesday and return to the library, because I’ve run out of renewals. How can I tell this weirdo to leave me alone? Okay, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll just stand up – not say a word to either of them, climb the stairs and shut myself in my bedroom for the remainder of the morning.

The Mistaken Identity Situation

Gregor Samson as Artist Extraordinaire
Imagine being mistaken for someone famous, inhabiting their appearance and yet knowing you are not them. What kind of day could you have and how satisfying would it feel, to experience the life of an international celebrity? Might it be rather exciting, just for one day? Gregor Samson is about to find out, in this, his second easy read, short story adventure.
Interrupted by an early morning telephone call, we find our confused protagonist advised to expect an imminent delivery and collection. What follows is a journey during which Gregor meets warm-hearted individuals, discovers the language of dance, acts as guide to royalty and finally, meets face-to-face with his nemesis.
After reading, you may well ask yourself this, “Given control of the life belonging to someone famous, what exactly might I do?”

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