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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 2 page 05


"Oh my god!" Money reeled with horror. It was a portrait of the slimiest diamond-decked lizard king the world had ever seen with vile vapors streaming from his body and bloodied fangs for teeth and vapid, jaundiced eyes like glops of oil on puddles of Pernod.

"That's the real you," said Art in a neutral tone that implied radical objectivity. She puffed a cigaret & blew arabesque smoke in Money's face. "And you're boring too."

"Of all the gall!" Money exclaimed. As he stormed out the door and tromped down the steps she heard him bellow back, "I am not boring! Everybody knows I am absolutely scintillating! Mark my word, you'll see things differently one day!"

Art had a laugh over that.

But Money had merely to pull a few strings to get his revenge underway. Art got her first inkling when the formerly amiable manager of the corner deli refused to provide meals in exchange for pictures. "You've already stuck me with dozens of your cursed chicken-scratchings," he protested, like the true philistine he always secretly was. Next, Art's once-jovial landlord, suddenly transformed into an ogre obsessed with back rent, booted her out into the street. In winter, too. And, of all the luck, when Art knocked at doors for help her friends weren't home even though their lights were on.

It was the coldest winter in history. It was so cold that icicles hung from the moon. If you struck a match, the flame froze immediately and crashed to the pavement like shattered yellow glass. Art took up residence on a park bench but then a crew arrived to demolish the bench and erect a supermall. Weary and forlorn, she trudged the heartless streets. "Maybe people would have adored me if I'd used more burnt almond in my Avocado Mist series," she brooded. "Or red ocher." As a pallid Sun poked above a pewter horizon, Art arrived at a bridge over an expressway. Automobiles swished hither and yon, making a soothing sound like waves massaging a tropical shore. She envied those people beetling every day like insensitive beasts to their dumb humdrum jobs. "No super powers, no omniscience. Now that would be the life for me."

"Jump!" a voice within her cried, "Jump!"