Archive for March 2nd, 2012

2nd March
2012
written by amber

For Art’s Sake

Setting – a concrete stairwell covered with graffiti

Characters – business guy in suit, young punkish guy

Suit guy comes up the stairs, punk kid comes down the stairs. They meet on the landing.

Suit guy – “Well, here we are.”

Punk kid – “Kinda looks that way.”

SG glances around, nervously.

PK – “Chill, man. If either of us needs to be worried about being caught, it’s me. I’m the one talking to the enemy. But the stairwell’s closed for the night. Anyone still working has to take the elevator. No one’s in here but us chickens.”

SG opens his briefcase, takes out two beers, glass bottles, Mexican, any brand but Dos Equis.

SG – “Beer?”

PK – “Yeah. Why not?” He sits down on the stairs.

SG dusts off the seat of his suit pants, then sits beside PK, not too close.

PK takes a tug of beer, then roots around in the pocket of his dirty, ripped coveralls, fishes out a sealed bag. He takes a lemon wedge out of the bag, examines it, wipes it on the sleeve of his tshirt, then holds it out.

PK – “Lemon wedge?”

SG, prissily – “No thank you.”

PK – “Suit yourself, man.” He pops the wedge into his beer.

SG – “Listen, I don’t have all night. Let’s get down to business. Can you tell me if this art collective of yours is leaning towards accepting my client’s offer?”

PK – “Nah. They are abso-total-utely opposed.”

SG – “What if I could get the offer sweetened? I shouldn’t be telling you this but think I could get it sweetened a lot. This is prime real estate.”

PK, jumps up and leans against the wall. “Level with me, man. Are they really going to tear it down and build a stupid parking garage? I mean, this place has so many memories for so many people, that would be just such a kick in the teeth.”

They both look contemplative.

FLASHBACK SEQUENCE #1- a smoke-filled room cluttered with old couches and bean bag chairs, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida playing on a record player. A hand stretches toward the camera, roach clip and stub.

DIMLY SEEN YOUNG MAN – “Toke, man?”

Response from behind camera, as hand reaches out to take the stub – “Far out.”

FLASHBACK SEQUENCE #2 – an art-classroom filled with easels and busy students. A nude female model is glimpsed as a fuzzy image. In the foreground, a hand is seen making bold strokes on paper with charcoal, producing a drawing of the nude model.

Teacher approaches and says, “That’s very good, Malcolm.”

FLASHBACK SEQUENCE #3 – a cluttered office, with art books on the shelves and good art on any available wall space. The same teacher paces back and forth.

TEACHER – “I don’t understand, Malcolm. You can have a scholarship to go for the extra year, and you’ll end up certified to teach art anywhere. Plus you’ll have time to prepare for the one-man show. How is that going to be possible if you take this job?”

The only response is a mutter.

TEACHER “I know, I know. Your father wants you to come and work in his firm. But Malcolm, don’t you see? You’re too young to be selling out this way!”

BACK IN STAIRWELL…

SG – “I know exactly what a kick in the teeth it would be. I was a student here when it was an art college. I’d save it if I could, but I have to tell you, if the collective won’t accept the offer, the next step is getting town council to condemn the building, and then you’ll be out on your ears with nothing to show for it.”

PK – “Man, that sucks.”

SG drains his beer, takes two more out of his briefcase.

SG – “Come sit down. I think I will have a lemon wedge, unless you happen to have some lime? I’ve got an idea.”

PK walks over, sits with reluctance, tosses the lemon bag to SG.

PK – “What is it?”

SG – “I know of a property, it once was a – well, it was going to be a castle.”

PK – “I know that place. Everyone knows about it. Sitting there all those years with no one in it. Some kind of inheritance dispute?”

SG – “The dispute’s over and the place has been fixed up enough so it’s ready to put up for sale. With what you could get for this building, you’d have tons of money left over to renovate, make it perfect for artists. The rooms are big, lots of light, all the wiring and plumbing and heat’s already upgraded. You couldn’t go wrong.”

PK, skeptically – “Not in the best part of town.”

SG – “Yeah – that means you can name your own price. Artists don’t mind a few homeless people, do they? Don’t tell me you don’t have them around here?”

PK – “You’re right. It would be pretty sweet, working in a damn castle.”

SG – “And I bet we could get a fund-raising program going, when people hear you lost your building for a parking garage. And volunteers to help fix up the castle. I know I’d be happy to get involved. All we have to do is convince your board.”

PK – “I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

This story was written with suggestions for a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre supplied by Ryan Hayward. I’m practicing for the script I’ll be writing for the 48 Hour Movie Making Challenge in Calgary on March 30. Ryan gave me: 1. Lemon wedge 2. “This is prime real estate.” 3. Buddy film. Thanks, Ryan!