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.”
“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 http://www.mrsdarcyvsthealiens.com.