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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 2 page 3

fiction

Money and Art

by Ian Allaby

It's no news that Money is el supremo god on Earth nowadays even if up in Heaven the other gods and goddesses mock him. The goddess Art particularly resents Money. She loathes his arrogance, his obtuseness, his foul breath that no quantity of extra-strength mouthwash can cure. One day Art decided to give humankind an alternative idol to worship — namely, Herself. She descended unto Earth, moved into a cheap studio, and commenced painting pictures of brilliant flowers and cute little birdies, rustic villages and heart-rending village idiots, and, in short, everything under the Sun including stuff that, in truth, you couldn't make head nor tail of. The most endearing feature of her work was that she gave it away free gratis.

Money, who cannot bide being left out of anything, soon came round to visit Art's studio. Since Art wore paint-spattered overalls and her hair was a mess, Money failed to recognize her divine origin. "Worthless rubbish!" he huffed as he stomped among the pictures. But he halted when he arrived at Art's self-portrait, the one that shows her in a gossamer gown, sailing a shining cloud, her fervent eyes fixed hauntingly upon the spectator. Those eyes! They were like tunnels commuting to reaches of space and time that had so far eluded Money's grasp, like tracts of quasar real estate. "Do a portrait of me with those eyes," he ordered. "I'll double your usual fee!"

"With pleasure!" agreed Art, sensing an opportunity to make mischief. Deftly she slapped paint across her canvas while Money struck a haughty pose.

"I grossed $250 kazillion last quarter, a 17.4% increase over the year-earlier period," Money said. He was one of those subjects who love to talk. "Frankly, I make the world go round. However, I must warn that unless the labor input cost is trimmed I'll have to shut down this planet-rotation venture and move elsewhere. Aren't you finished yet? Can I see my portrait now?"

"Only if you dare!"

"I dare!"

"Then look!"

<CONT...>