No Pictures at the Exhibition Please

A man and a woman sit on a museum bench staring at a Malevich. Simultaneously they wonder what would happen should they both have the same thought at a same time. The woman, Sara, answers anything at all, the man, Abby, replies probably nothing. Sara’s hot blow dryer breath threatens to melt Abby’s refrigerator mother eyes. He hastens to interpret the painting in his moralistic television kind of mind. The air conditioner above them sighs as one of the guards puts him in ifeel mode. Abby sneaks a look at his benchmate’s nose job nose while she places her lady fingers finger at the edge of it, as she would always do when trying to remember something. Abby coughs to exorcise some demonic thought, Sara believing it was of vying for her attention, as silence creaked under the weight of her expectations. Abby lowers his crown of phantom thorns head and follows with a sighful gaze a Roomba passing between the two discontinents, separated by a million millimeters of skinned cow upholstery. Sara flashes her dirty, clearly slept-on glasses at her neighbor and without thought points her teacher finger towards the center of the canvas. Abby’s elvish ears perk up as his face grimaces like some Messerschmidt, his metaphoric heart opening as wide as it could without squeak. The not-so-couple then ask in their heart-of-brains at the exact same rhythm “what do you see?” At which point a witch from the painting behind their backs blesses them with a change of minds. They look at each other as if bound by the canvas of a kiss a la magritte, whispering in a lost for words sort of way I am you / you are me. Sara upon the sound wave she hoped she had discerned leaps inches beyond the bench, and Abby’s body stands up hesitantly, as though many eyes were gazing to interpret him. He looks again at the painting looking at his partner in mime, and saw it in a different lava-lamp-like light. He can now see it looking at him as Sara imagined a consummately dirty washcloth looks at a stain. My name is Sara, Abby says, Sara opening her mouth agasp, her rotten Malevich square teeth spreading what to abby’s nose hairy nose had the scent of some Georgia O’Keefe. He hands Sara his hand and she placed in it the sanctity of her cellphone, and needn’t even ask before Abby does the different but same. The pair resume sitting, surprised at their exhaustion, back on another of those museum benches, which feels to their asses a dead work of art. Abby pulls in his Botero belly, rumbling against his will with the din of the infamous brick in the washing machine. He is a sweaty hand fan thrown against Roman flames as the colors of ‘Guernica’ melt before Sara’s googly eyes eyes. Behind all this the wandering ruckenfigur atop his sea of mist lets out the quietest flatulence, in the pitch of a high C flat. Sara and Abby look at each other, two failed artists near present, and ask of each other “what”? Her tone ringtonian his a button pressed. They go on to show one another the other’s phone displaying proudly a single sentence note, stating with the slightest vibratone I DON’T WANT 2 B (by) MYSELF ANYMORE? The two opposing thumbs quickly take a picture of the mouth ajar faces, and a guard even quicker rushes to escort them outside the museum, to where the man and woman might finally see each other. And so, artphones were promptly returned, and Tinders turned on again, as fast as the bench crossed lovers-not-2B turned off. But I swear for a moment there I thought this all would end up a happily ever after type end.

–Omer Wissman


Stories

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