(This is a story I wrote last year. The word was Gallery and I had 25′ to write something. This was the result)
Are you ready, she asked with that determined look I knew so well. I nodded, Google Glass is turned on, I said.
Seeing us walk to a large painting on the wall a gallery associate walked over, how do you like it, he asked.
She smiled at him and said, it says price on request, how much is it?
Ninety-five, I think, he said. It’s wonnerfull, isn’t. The color, the mood… it’s just wonnerfull. Let me check whether I gave you the right price.
How is the light, she asked me. Perfect, I replied, that window next to the painting lights you up nicely, and by turning I can record the full painting as well.
The associate came back. It’s seventy-five, he said with a big smile, full of perfectly spaced and whitened teeth.
That’s perfect, she said and, turning to me, added, pay the man and let’s take it with us.
Without changing the angle of my recording glasses I fished a hundred dollar bill out of my pocket. She took it and said: there you go, keep the change.
What? The associate swallowed visibly. Is this a joke?
You said seventy-five, did you not?
I did, but…
It has to be seventy-five dollars, although I suspect that it only covers the materials. It can’t be seventy-five hundred, because that would be too much for a painting that is not art, merely some kind of pretty craft, and not even very pretty. I only wanted to buy it because it matches the throw pillows on our couch. There is nothing there, just a few color splotches. No brush work to speak of. No real idea or message, just a conman splattering some colors onto a canvas.
The associate looked around for help, but the other gallery employees were moving and hanging canvases and he found that he was on his own.
He cleared his throat… as a matter of fact this painting costs seventy-five thousand dollars… Is this a joke? He looked around like those people on candid camera but, of course, there was no camera in sight. The camera was on my nose. It was becoming difficult to keep a straight face.
Seventy-five thousand dollars? She over emphasized the word dollars and I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t laugh. Are you kidding me right now? I have seen pigs that painted more interesting paintings than this. Take this to a flea market and see whether you can get more than seventy-five dollars for this.
This is not a flea market. It is one of the finest galleries in this city. I think you need to leave now.
Gladly, she replied, this place isn’t a gallery, it is a warehouse for overpriced decorative panels that masquerade as paintings.
She turned around on her heels and stomped out of the gallery. I followed her, but made a slow 360º turn to record the whole scene.