For What It's Worth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Art can be so valuable.....

Submitted: November 16, 2017

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Submitted: November 16, 2017

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For What It’s Worth

All my life I have listened to just how valuable this piece of ‘art’ is. I’ve never liked it at all; a face, a rather morose one at that. Whenever I got to visit my grandparents that face would be there, passing judgement and finding me wanting. Just like my Grandfather, in fact!

He got the last laugh, though. Of all the relations he could have left it to, that picture he willed to me. “Aren’t you lucky!” they all said. Me, it took a long time before I was no longer speechless. For a while I put it against the wall, behind the sofa. I could no longer see it, but I could still feel those eyes, watching me, weighing me up.

Tell me,” I asked my sister one day. “What is it that makes this picture so valuable?”

The artist, I guess. That’s what it usually is. Most ‘valuable art’ is not that pleasant to look at, which, I suppose, is why so much of it hangs in high-powered offices.”

So who was the artist, then?”

Do you know,” she said, laughing, “I really can’t remember. But there’s a signature in the bottom corner look.”

So that’s what that line of scribble was. Someone had chosen to put there name on this piece of canvas, pleased with their achievement no doubt. There really is no accounting for taste, I guess.

If you hate it so much why don’t you put it up for auction?”

Trust my sister to come up with the obvious solution. It might be a hard sell, not knowing the name of the artist, but it was valuable; one of the experts was bound to recognize it.

I’d taken it along to the auction room but had been disappointed by its and my lukewarm reception. Surely such a masterpiece should be being greeted with exclamations of wonder; of delight for the large cut of the sale price the auctioneers would receive. No such thing happened. I was given a number, given a time and date, and that was it.

The day came and I made my way to the auction room. It was hardly packed out with potential buyers but I’d not worry. It only took one. And anyway, most bidding took place over the phone or online now, didn’t it. No, the small crowd was nothing to worry about, I’d be leaving a wealthy man!

Piece after piece was brought forward, offered for sale, and mostly removed again. Occasionally something would be snapped up but for a few pounds, not the thousands I was after.

I’d almost gone in to a daze when my picture was finally brought up on to the small stage. The bidding was started at....£50. What? This was a valuable piece; £50 was nothing, peanuts!

And yet not one person made a bid.

The starting price dropped and dropped and dropped. Nothing! Not one single offer. Finally, at £5 and still getting no offers, it was removed. I would have to take it away.

When I got home my mother was waiting outside. She could sense my misery, and feeling slightly guilty for trying to get rid of it, I told her the sorry tale.

She laughed. My mother actually laughed at me for trying to sell off the most valuable piece of ‘the family’!

You know he was joking, don’t you?” Taking a look at my crest-fallen face she realized I’d no idea what she was on about. “He painted it. Your Grandfather! It was never worth the canvas it was painted on but he knew you liked it from the way your eyes kept straying towards it.”

The old devil! He’d tricked me, fooled me in to thinking I was going to be rich. Should have known, I guess, but if I’m going to be stuck with it, I’ve got just the place – face down under my bed!


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