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Twenty-first Century Christo

Short story By: Steven Hunley

A man considers his relationship to a particular woman

Submitted:Apr 10, 2011    Reads: 57    Comments: 2    Likes: 0   

Twenty-first Century Cristo
Steven Hunley
Now I'm in her hideout and she's gone to the store and I told her I'd probably write about the place, you know, a description. But I want it to be different. I know, I'll do it all objective-like.
Like I wasn't here last night. Like I don't know a thing about what happened after dinner when she sat on my lap. Objective as the devil, that's what I'll be. Like a detective describing the scene of a crime, a crime of passion. Just like Sherlock Holmes or I should say, just like Conan Doyle.
Like this:
I take off my deer-stalker hat and look around. Upon close examination I notice immediately the house belongs to a woman, an artist.
On the walls are a Degas and a Klindt and two originals acrylics of Magdalena Carmen Frida Calderon that are signed by the woman in question. So D.H. Lawrence and Diego Rivera had something in common after all. They both had Fridas.
Her CDs are stacked neatly---all girly stuff.
The musical clues are these:
Natalie Cole, Annie Lennox, Josh Groban, never trust a guy named Josh, they may be "Joshing you. Amy Winehouse and Billie Holliday too. My sincere apologies to Lady Day for saying she sang girly-stuff. Please don't slap me when I get to heaven.
In the corner there's a carefully placed red love-seat. It looks quite comfortable. What makes it comfortable is the soft-to-the-touch almost velvet-like cushions. Tossed carelessly on one arm is a slate-blue angora sweater, size small. This smacks of a sensuous sense of touch.
On the floor beneath that is a pair of vintage black high-heels size six and one-half. The fabric is lacy. It shows a lot, but not everything, if you know what I mean. From these two clues I deduce that this woman has class.
Elementary my dear Watson, elementary.
I immediately want to meet the woman who lives here.
While puffing on my Meerschaum I notice:
A Tiffany lamp in the corner.
A bookcase with plenty of books on it from Faulkner to phrase-books, Italian. Then a stack of art-books eighteen inches high. Then something quite singular appears.
It's a sculpture.
The figure of a girl-child-life-sized, sitting on a chair next to the books, all made of brown paper. Another original work. My powers of deductive reasoning tell me this woman is an original.
Let's see. What have we got so far? An artist, a student, an original, one woman in size petite. Well read, creative, maybe short, maybe tall, but the combination of the small sweater and the high-heels leads me to believe that's she short. Oh, and the woman in question is also good-smelling. Her sweater carries her scent. One must observe using all the senses.
But enough of the objective detective.
Wasn't Edmond Dantes sent to prison for a crime of passion too? For loving a woman, wasn't it? And the jealously of Danglars. Same as me. We share the same crime, the same guilt. We are in love with a beautiful woman.
Let's forget the objective stuff. Let's toss the detective viewpoint and get real subjective for a change. Let's talk about what I know for sure and dump this pretend speculation.
Like fine-wine this woman is mature, valuable and rare. I also argue that she tastes good, that there's a sweetness about her that can't be denied. She's my equal and capable of putting me in my place and straightening me out when needed. Sometimes I need straightening out. Take that however you like it.
She's got a mind, so when she talks I listen. Her hesitations speak as much as most women's' sentences. She speaks the language of love, the only one in which I am completely fluent.
No wonder she's turned my head.
No doubt that I'm captivated and a prisoner of love.
No question that's why I'm right here, right now, sharing serious moments with her.
And why not?
"Woman is sacred; the woman one loves is holy."
- Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
She's making a bench out of corks for her paper-girl to sit on. Found art. Recycled art.
She never wastes a thing. Not a word or an emotion or a moment. Not a breath.
In the morning, after I toss the cork from last-night's champagne into her basket of corks, she feeds me hot buttered-oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. Coffee from Java. I've always wanted to call my coffee Java. She adds hazel-nut creamer. She spoils me with breakfast spiced with intelligent conversation. Then whole-grain toast with weed butter.
Strong coffee and strong butter give you the buzz that the day requires.
Her recipe for femininity is:
One part girl
One part woman
One part pure inspiration
Add a measure of spontaneity and mix well.
When you get treated by a girl like this it makes you feel affectionate, like you want to do her right there on the dining room table.
When you hear a pretty girl like her, who smells this good say,
"You're cute."
You get an emotional erection that lasts you all day. Sort of lifts your spirits, if get my drift.
So I admit to the crime of passion and that it was pre-meditated. I'm guilty as sin. I'm ready to be condemned to the Chateaux d'If in Marseille harbor, am prepared to be thrown into a cell like Edmond Dantes, and dig my way into the old man's cell next door with a only a spoon for a tool. I'm quite ready to exchange my body for his, sew myself into his death-bag and be tossed into the cold waters like so much Euro-trash.
After all, "I have always had more dread of a pen, a bottle of ink, and a sheet of paper than of a sword or pistol."
- Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
But I'm also ready to rip my way out and re-invent myself into the twenty-first century Count of Monte Christo, and return to this scene of the crime of passion and sweep this woman off her tiny feet.
And remember, I was not alone in committing the crime. She was, in fact, the first.
She stole my heart months ago.
I am convinced we should share in the punishment and serve out our time together.
Yes, I understand that I should not mock Holmes and Watson and that Conan Doyle fans have a reason to be upset. All the singers and artists too. To those people I deeply apologize but then again, art begets art and,
"True, I have raped history, but it has produced some beautiful offspring."
- Alexandre Dumas
And after all is said and done:
Mastery of language affords one remarkable opportunities."
- Alexandre Dumas
I know what you are all thinking, it's:
"You are very amiable, no doubt, but you would be charming if you would only depart."
- Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers)
I would if I could.
But reading is hard when the window is so narrow. Why, it's hardly the width of a man.
The End.


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