Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Old Painter

John had been waiting to see the old painter. He lived in the far Western burbs and needed an infusion of culture. A shot of real life from his normal nine to five. When his friend Paul invited him to go drinking with the old painter in a dive bar on the edge of Chicago he jumped. The house was in a run down neighborhood. John drank in the street people and the feeling of impending crime.  The old painter showed him various things he was working on.
This is a lady you can pull around he said pulling on a shopping cart with a metal boob.
John stared at the painting.
That's something.
Oh yeah I just make whatever the old painter said hitting him with bad breath.
They went into the basement where an easel and paints were set up.
This is where I paint.
John breathed in gas. A furnace leak he thought. Sulfur. Maybe a bad sewer. The darkness of the basement was depressing. The old painter looked at him. How about a Scotch?
They left for the bar and the old sculptor was hungry.
I want a pizza. he proclaimed staring at a menu.
Can you order me a pizza he asked the young androgeny.
Well you can call the place yourself.
No. I want you to order it for me.
The young androgeny shrugged and took their drink orders and left.
This is a young crowd the old painter said.
John looked around. He didn't think it was so young.
Its good to see a little bit of light when you are in twilight, huh guys?
 John smiled. They talked about the Civil War. The old painter pelted him with halitosis and talked about Grants philosophy. The pizza came and the old painter ate almost all of it. He became boozy.
We are old men. he said to no one.
Someone said to me your lucky you're an artist he shouted above the music.  It's a Goddamn burden the old painter said shaking his fist at the heavens. But what can you do? You suddenly are just old and that's it.
 They drank and then went home and John drove  back to the suburbs with Paul.
What's his wife like?
Paul squinted.
She's quiet and demure. Not at all like him.
 John went into his home and climbed into the bed next to his wife and their daughter. He stared at the ceiling and listened to their breathing. He was very glad he wasn't an artist.
Rocket Man...the American Dream Upside Down

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