King Fantastic – Lost Art Of Killing
“Ready to be disappointed?”
“His work is always one dimensional, I bet this time it’s boring.”
“The art hasn’t been the same since…”
Different voices, similar words; critics cannot help but parrot one another. They are the only people invited to Reese De’Uno’s latest exhibition, their kind fills the gallery while breathing on each other’s necks.
“Blasphemous attempt to revive a dead career.”
“Been a criminal all his life. Should be in prison.”
“Best piece is okay, maybe, and who knows if it’s him or the drugs that was responsible.”
The single refreshment table is covered by a pyramid of cold hot-dogs on a silver platter and lemonade filled paper cups. No one that passes by has the intestinal fortitude to handle the food but they don’t know, won’t try; the smell is worse than the presentation.
“You’d think with all the money he’s made…”
“This must be part of it.”
“Someone check the itinerary; are we here early?”
A tattered white sheet dominates the far wall of the room; being the only decoration of any kind, the critics have taken to staring at it. A straggler enters, pushes into the crowd, is ignorant to the door slamming shut and locking behind him.
“I get it. Seriously. But I don’t like it.”
The lights dim and the murmur follows its lead. A beam of light shoots from the entrance wall; the sheet is covered in a projector’s glow and a 3 inside of a circle.
“Haven’t seen that before.”
Down to 2.
“What a joke.”
“Where is he? Afraid associate himself with this disaster?”
Reese De’Uno enters from a side door and the room explodes, not in applause, literally; dynamite sculpted to resemble tiles trigger beneath the critics’ feet. Limbs twist through the air,- blood sprays, the sheet ends up a monochrome Pollock. Reese, too, is covered in red but is too busy adjusting the dials on his microphone to notice.
“Test…test…this thing on? Can you hear me?”
Pained screaming is the critics’ response.
“That’s as good as I ever get from you guys so I’ll take it as a yes. I’m surprised this many showed up on such short notice, especially for a…lemme’ see if I can remember this right…a washed-up…has-been…wanna-be drug-addict – ah forget it I always butcher quotes.”
The more put-together critics crawl toward Reese, coughing blood out of mouths along with the question: Why?
Reese turns his back on their struggle to stare at the bloodstained sheet. “You all made me famous at the lowest point of my life. Before that I was meaningless. Success is what gave me hope, knowing people cared gave me the desire to improve; things snowballed, I got so caught up in the work that I didn’t have time for the self-loathing.
I knew what I did on the drugs was good but I wanted to be better…do better…but the moment I changed from your initial perception of me I lost your approval. According to all of you, me getting better was me getting worse.
Your perception doesn’t determine what I do but I figured, why disappoint? You loved me when I was killing myself…pushed me to be a murderer.
I listened; this is your art.”
Reese De’Uno drops the microphone then leaves the way he came in; the critics capable of clapping do so until they bleed out.
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