watches a boy with spiked-up hair enter the gallery with his parents.
The father has a Nikon hanging from his neck. The mother carries an
iPad. They arrange the boy in front of a suit of armor and snap
pictures. As the father lowers his camera, the boy releases his
pose. They study his image as they leave the gallery.
world, Stuart thinks, perpetually posing for itself.
listens to the banalities surrounding him. People striving so hard
to sound intelligent to themselves and each other, walking past
without acknowledging him. He tells himself he likes the
of conversation weave around him like cigarette smoke.
big museums just bring in big artists…They don’t want to invest
in small time…”
I lived in Munich in ’86…”
A puffed-up man reeking of mothballs queries his wife: “When does
life become art?”
hears a snicker and turns to his right. A beautiful woman stands
there. Gorgeous red hair; bright green eyes; petite. He reaches for
his crutches and pushes himself up: He doesn't want to waste her
He is surprised
when she doesn't move. Normally, when he stands; when he reveals the
part of himself that is missing, people quickly discard him. “When
I was a boy, I dreamed of war.”
nods and puts a cigarette into her mouth.
I barely lived through it and the sheen of war fell away.”
“Why do you guard
“It's the one
they gave me.” He eyes her. “I've heard the museum staff aren't
laughs and her eyes are merry.
wonder,” Stuart says, surprising himself, for when he lost his leg,
he lost the easy confidence he used to possess, “if, a hundred
years from now, the shattered remains of my leg will be on display in
this museum. ” He paints an imaginary marquee in the air. “Effects
of modern war.”
takes a drag on the cigarette.
better if you light it,” he says.
trying to quit. Besides, the guard will kick me out.”
could say that.”
do you work?”
yeah?” He is pleased. “You new?”
been here four years.”
never seen you until today.”
the director.” She meets his eye and gives a laugh. “I'm holed up in my office most of the day.”
guess that means I'm fired.”
She extends a hand. “My name's Josie.”
know who you are.” She feels herself blush.
girl with oversized sunglasses walks in, nodding her head to the
music being pumped into her ears. A woman sits on a bench and
promptly falls asleep.
this is boring,” Josie says when the museum closes. She smiles.
“Join me for dinner?”
And Stuart's life
suddenly feels beautiful and new.
Labels: flash fiction, Write on Edge