Thursday, December 13, 2012
Write on Edge prompt: Art students, art thieves and art lovers linger in museum galleries. Jackson Pollock’s pieces are open to interpretation and discussion, so we’d like you to use this photograph to inspire your creative writing for this week. Whether you write about the painting, museums in general, the guards in the corner or something entirely different that was sparked by something in the photo, we look forward to reading your words.
"Let's go over this one more time," the police officer said tiredly.
"I've told you the same story twenty times!" Melvin's voice sounded shaky; he was exhausted. "At least write it down so you don't have to keep asking!" He used his hands to scrub his face, rubbing at his five o'clock shadow as if he could erase the stubble with his fingers. Melvin sat glaring at the officer. He was in no mood to be civil; he wanted to go home to his wife and kids and just forget this damned day ever happened. He had been sitting in the interrogation room for seven hours straight, ever since they brought him over in the squad car.
"Just tell me again, one more time, and we'll call it a day." The officer, who had been sitting in the cramped, airless room for as long as Melvin, looked as haggard as Melvin felt.
"All right, Officer Mike." he said, crossing his arms on the table and putting his head down. Then he sat up. "One more time."
"I got to work, I clocked in. Usually, my post is at the door, manning the metal detector, but the boss, Mr. Gregor, told me to head for the Jackson Pollock exhibit, so that's what I did. They were expecting big crowds today for the opening of the exhibit. I don't see what the fuss is, but I ain't dropping a twenty to see them paintings."
Melvin looked over Officer Mike's shoulder, remembering the morning's events.
"The guy looked off to me, you know? He didn't seem to be part of the regular museum folk. He seemed surprised that there were other people in the room. You could tell that he didn't like that at all."
"What did he do?"
"He stood in a corner. He just stood there, rocking side to side. It was like he was in some sort of trance. I thought that he was drunk or stoned, maybe both. He must have stood there over an hour, until there wasn't anyone else in the room except him and me."
"Then what?" Officer Mike leaned forward in his seat, even though by now he knew what was coming.
"Then he ran straight at the painting, God as my witness. He ran right at it, like he was on a collision course."
"Straight at the painting?
"Yeah. I thought he was going to damage the work, so I moved to intercept him. I was too slow, and he hit the painting."
Melvin rubbed his eyes at the memory, his disbelief undiminished by time.
"Except then he wasn't there, Officer Mike." His voice quavered with unshed tears. He hit the painting, but he just kept on going. Into the painting. Then he was gone."
"What do you mean, gone?"
"I don't know what I mean anymore," Melvin put his head down again. "He was just not there any more."
Stunned, Officer Mike sat waiting for Melvin to get himself back together, wondering how he could explain this to his chief.