THE COLOUR OF CRITICISM • by Jonathan Pinnock

Clarissa sipped at her chilled Semillon and tried hard to make sense of the exhibit in front of her. It was entitled “Inside the Mind of a Critic” and it consisted of some entrails, haphazardly arranged over a broken computer keyboard.

“Is it really art, though?” she said to the man next to her, a dishevelled, unshaven man in his mid-thirties who exuded a considerable amount of charisma as a counter to his equally considerable halitosis.

“Of course,” said the man. “If I say it’s art, it is art.”

“Oh, good lord, are you…?”

“Indeed I am,” said the artist, smiling. “Are you enjoying the show?”

Clarissa thought for a while, and then said, “It’s challenging.”

“Good adjective,” said the artist. “I like to challenge.”

“Hmmm. Interesting. And if I were to be interested in buying one of your pieces…?”

“You’d find that they were all sold out.”


“Oh, yes.”

“He’s a bloody charlatan, if you ask me,” said a florid man, joining them. “I mean, really, isn’t this more than a little jejune?”

“Yeah, possibly,” said the artist, turning back to Clarissa. “Look, nice to meet you, er …”


“… Clarissa. Anyway, must keep circulating.” The artist tapped his nose. “Come back tomorrow. Might have something for you.”

“Good Lord,” said Clarissa to the florid man when the artist had gone. “What was that all about?”

“I neither know nor care,” said the florid man. “He’s washed up, you know. Read my review tomorrow. He won’t work again after that.”

Clarissa looked for the review in the paper the next day, but she couldn’t find it. Curiosity drove her back to the gallery that evening, where she did indeed find a new piece there, with a sticker next to it saying that it had been reserved for “C”. The piece was entitled “The Colour of Criticism”, and it consisted of another broken keyboard. But this time the keyboard had skin stretched over it. Rather florid skin, she thought.

Jonathan Pinnock has had quite a lot of stuff published here and there and has even won a few prizes. However, for the time being he primarily wishes to be known as the author of the increasingly peculiar serial “Mrs Darcy vs The Aliens”, which may be found at

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Every Day Fiction

  • Okay this is the kind of story that really catches my eye. I am a sucker for the morbid/twisted and this had that for sure. Great job!

  • I’m not going to say anything negative today – I like my keyboard the way it is.

  • You’ve offered us another gem from that story treasure box of yours. Excellent stuff, Jonathan.

  • Never mind the keyboard, Paul, I like my skin the way it is. 🙂 What’s more it looks like I’ll be sharing a gig in Brighton with MrP on a dark night in September, so am I going to criticize? Nope. Seriously, another weird and dark gem from the Jonathan Pinnock stable.
    I still don’t know what colour criticism is but, clearly, it’s dark.
    😉 scar

  • Short and sweet. And really funny. Wish I had that kind of sales record.

  • ajcap

    I’m another sucker for the morbidly twisted short. One too many ‘florids’, I think, but it was probably intentional. Nice, concise story. Characters are easy to see without a lot of description. Hmph. Looks so easy…

  • This is the kind of story I like to read in the bathroom.

  • Jejune, but enjoyable.
    (Loved it, actually.)

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Dark rich and very funny, Jonathan 🙂

  • Gave me a nice laugh when I woke up this morning– very cool, Jonathan.

  • kathy k

    Excellent story, well done

  • Rickey Rivers Jr.

    Nice story. Didn’t see the ending coming. 🙂

  • Bonnie

    “good lord”…..I’m not going to criticize 🙂

  • Gosh, thank you everyone for your kind comments! I really wasn’t sure about this one.

  • Pingback: The Colour of Criticism : Jonathan Pinnock’s Write Stuff()

  • Definitely creepy. Well done.

  • Eww, Jon, eww but in a good way.

  • I think a skin-covered keyboard makes a lovely gift. Very tight, short flash. Certainly not a florid tale…

  • Splendid! Gathers all my interests into a single piece.

  • Great fun! I enjoyed that (not that I’d dare leave any other comment >.< ).

  • Haha! Nice job, Jonathan!

  • Hasmita

    Good one, nice twist in the tail, sent a little shiver through me. Only nit was in the very first sentence – ‘sipped AT’ – which almost made me stop right there, but I’m glad I didn’t 🙂

  • Rose Gardener

    I think I got stuck on disliking the artist because of his hallitosis. Or maybe art just isn’t my thing. Not badly written, but not my cup of tea at all.

  • JL Merrow

    Nice one, Jon! 😀

  • Ha! Good one, Jon.

  • Jen

    Ha ha, kill the critic! It’s an old joke but a funny one.

  • Short and sour, seasoned to my taste. What’s not to like?