The imp looked back at David and smiled its goofy smile. “What do you think, Master?”
David pondered the reproduction of the Mona Lisa. It was impeccable, except she was frowning. David felt his lips curl into the same shape. “The mouth is wrong.”
The imp looked at the painting again and shook its head. “Nope, that’s the right one. Trust me.”
David pulled out the postcard where that enigmatic smile was displayed in its glory. “No, this is her smile. It’s world famous.”
The imp looked at the postcard and spit. “That hack, da Vinci added that later.”
David pointed at the postcard. “So you’re saying that you were the one who painted that?”
The imp pointed at the canvas in front of it. “No, I painted that. Da Vinci ruined my original vision.”
David picked back up his brush. “You know you are one screwed up muse.”
The imp laughed. “Da Vinci didn’t think so.”
David pointed at the postcard. “That’s not what I see.”
The imp disappeared in a huff of brimstone. David could feel a bemused smile grow on his face. Looking into the mirror he saw it then. The brush practically danced on the canvas.
** the following story might be disturbing for those sensitive to domestic abuse**
The scars didn’t show. He made sure of that, yet they were a work of art. It was hard to cut with such precision, but he was a master of his craft. He was proud of his handiwork, even if he was the only one to view it.
She bore the scars and wondered why he did this to her. She also wondered why she put up with it, but she couldn’t make herself leave. Every time she thought about it, his voice would pop into her head. It was just words after all, and he was right. Those words didn’t really cut her and make her bleed, yet she hemorrhaged out her hope long ago, and she didn’t have much self-esteem left in her deflated, marred ego. Every night she prayed for everything to end, but her prayers were never answered.
He watched her cry herself to sleep. Sometimes he would feel guilty about what he did. Other artists maimed themselves for their art. He knew he lost pieces of his soul for his creation, but it was a sacrifice that must be done. He was so grateful for his canvas.
He slipped beside her and held her tight.
The alarm went off and Deidra wanted to throw her phone through the wall. She figured she had finally fallen asleep like only fifteen fricken minutes ago. The rest of time had been worrying about pretty much every single word she had said on her date with Kevin last night. She replayed the whole conversation over and over, picking at every nuance and possible sarcastic thing that either of them had said. Deidra was normally confident to the point of being cocky, but something about his eyes and easy going swagger really knocked her off her game. As the script unfolded she kept kicking herself for not sounding smart enough, or that she sounded too distant, or she sounded too desperate.
“Is it time to get up?”
She jumped at hearing Kevin’s voice. She looked into those blue eyes and couldn’t help the stupid grin that spring to her face. “Depends. Do you want us to call in?” she said.
“Now that’s an offer I’ll take, but first I need to hit the head.” With that he got out of bed and walked to the bathroom, allowing Deidra to appreciate what God gave him.
Okay, maybe things had gone okay.
Gary opened the new deck of cards and enjoyed the feel of the linen finish. Eight riffle shuffles or so later he fanned the cards back out and noticed all the suits were still in order. Gary laughed at his luck and began shuffling again. Once again after doing about eight shuffles he looked, and the deck was still in order. Gary couldn’t believe this. He tried a third time, with the same result. He began to think somehow time was on repeat. He began planning how he could use his new found skill.
He did a Google search on the odds of this happening. It was one out of ten to the sixty-eighth power. That was as many atoms as there are in the known universe. Gary was so excited. He was a unicorn, a magical leprechaun, a force of nature. He then kept reading. There have been many cases of this happening, especially if you suck at shuffling.
Gary put the cards away and picked up a pair of dice. He always enjoyed playing with dice anyway. He rolled them three times and rolled double sizes each time. He threw the dice in the trash and walked away.
The attempts to slay the beast had been futile at best. This time Michael was more confident. He had found a new weapon that felt good in his grip. He had watched YouTube videos on how others thought the beast could be slain. Numerous blog posts were read, and Michael had even asked his followers on twitter, #howToSlayTheBeast. Through a thoughtful ten minutes of pondering, Michael knew he had the answer and set out to finish his quest.
Soon he was knee deep in the swamp and wondering why he was even there. It seemed impossible, red spraying everywhere off his weapon, but the beast didn’t yield. It bashed Michael to and fro, never giving him purchase. Soon Michael was covered as much in red as the beast was. “I’ going to die here,” Michael thought, but still he battled.
Days seem to pass when he finally found some sort of ending. Michael put away his red pen and looked at what had been his first draft, knowing once he made those changes he would be in a new place. He would have the legendary second draft. The battle would go one, but this time he would persevere. Carpe calamum!
I wanted so much to be able to see you over there with an Olympic gold around your neck, and here we are. It had cost me a lot of time, sleepless nights, and money helping you get that medal. I went to so many practices, had countless sleepless nights due to my nerves waiting for you to preform, and then the trials.
Well we both know how you did at the Olympic trials. I could not believe everything we had gone through imploded in that moment. I knew your life was over when you didn’t make the team. I couldn’t see you go through the rest of your life knowing you had missed your destiny so early. How many years you would have to watch others achieving your dream?
That’s why I found this gold medal. Yeah it cost me a couple of grand having that guys steal it from the German bobsledder, but it was so worth it. Especially seeing it wrapped around your neck as you sway in the breeze. I figured it was the best way to summarize your life. Now you will be even more memorable than if you had won it on your own.
The corpse of the barn lay upon the snow swept field, its sun bleached bones exposed to the elements. Carter shrugged off his backpack and gently sat down in the snow. He stared at the remains and wondered when the farmer had given up on the land upon which the barn sat, or had the farmer been committed back to the fertile soil and no one new had picked up the calling.
Carter pulled out his sketch pad and removed his gloves. He began drawing, using his snow pants encased legs as a cushioned desk. The cold wind attacked his fingers, causing them to both ache and become frustratingly numb. This made Carter smile. It helped him capture the barn in its death throes. Soon Carter had to admit that was as much as he could do in these conditions and he put away his picture. With one look around, he tried to capture the rest of scene for adding to his picture back in his warm studio. Mission accomplished, he began snow shoeing home. This physical workout had turned into a mental one as well, and that warmed Carter’s heart. Now just if his fingers would do the same.