Monday, November 21, 2011

American Sandman

The city lights seemed extra bright that night and the shadows extra dark. It's as if hidden glow worms inked themselves out of the crevices of buildings and inched their way towards those incandescent light bulbs, then shriveling up into the filament in which the sparks begin.

Tonight in Upper State New York, the artist was just finishing up his grand masterpiece for his show on West Broadway and 23rd Street. The Times just labeled him as "The Newbie Artist to Look Out For" and he e-mailed the article to at least half his graduating class at Columbia. He was finally going to make it big. No more of those days stomaching 3-day-old salad in a plastic container he found in a local bistro's dumpster, just to get by that week. No more being queezy over student loans and the disapproval of his father. He had it!

After the artist had worked on his masterpiece until 2 in the morning, he decided to call it good. The angles seemed just right and the juxtaposition of the littered cat box and the rising American sandman seemed just ironic enough to allow him some relief. It made sense to him, anyways. He remembers being a young artist and not allowing anyone to see his work. He kept it to himself like a well-guarded secret and when he exposed the work, he couldn't help but expect some reaction from the observer.

Tonight he'll leave it out on the atrium where he needed to build because of the project's size. He thought this would allow him ample space to get over his fear of exposure and allow himself a little breathing room before the big show. People might look at it on their way out in the morning and give him feedback. Just what he was looking for so he wsn't so bombarded by the opinion of the crit.

The owner of the apartment complex couldn't wait until the artist was done with his project. The neighbors have been complaining about endless noises of saws and hammers mixed with loud bass music and the random shouts and swears. A cacophony of what the owner hated about the youth culture. Loud, loud, loud and total disrespect for space. He saw a big heap of crap and sand in the atrium and couldn't wait for it to be gone in the morning for that day was inspection day.

Early morning came and the owner heard a knock on his door. "Hello." he grumbled, opening the door ready as he always was at 7 am. It was the night patrolman just getting off his shift. "Just to let you know, the city office called and will be sending the inspector in half an hour instead of the original noon time scheduled. There was some sort of mix-up and that's the only time available."

The owner walked out frantically and went straight towards the atrium. The artist's project was still there. "Remove this right away!" He screamed at the patrolman.


The artist woke up after a curious dream involving a childhood version of his self being ripped violently away from his father's grasp. An idea for his next piece? He wrote the idea down. He poured himself some coffee and breathed it in. Today was the big day. The day of his show. He tried ensuring himself that he was, indeed, living in the moment. Deep breaths of coffee, sunshine coming through the blinds, an ant crawling out of the pantry. The ant had a tiny morsel of food in its pincers. It looked cold and orange-gray, like the sand he has been using over the past four months. "The Sand!" He thought. He ran outside his room and straight towards the atrium, where he expected to find his newly created masterpiece.

It was gone. He was being ripped further from everything he had envisioned for himself.

The artist ran barefoot to the man he knew would be responsible for its departure. The ground was cold and remnants of sand stuck to his heel. He could feel the clumps of the substance starting to form and they were distracting his stride.

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