By Eric Beeny.
Krandal was all set to become the next Cantagliolionni, only Cantagliolionni wasn’t dead yet.
Cantagliolionni hadn’t constructed and painted any green, life-sized ceramic dinosaurs with iron skeleton insides in years, so the public was eager to fill that void in their lives with something.
Krandal, with his miniature models of goblin-green blood-drinking monsters, seemed an obvious replacement, the logical successor.
Krandal and Cantagliolionni became bitter rivals, but, in Cantgliolionni’s failing health years later, the two agreed to meet for lunch at a restaurant they were both more famous than.
The press crowded outside the window the two sat at.
They took millions of photographs, obscured somewhat by large green plants in the flower bed near the window.
A waiter brought them two tall glasses of beer.
“I’ve always admired your work,” Cantagliolionni said.
The waiter looked at him appreciatively.
“No, not you,” Cantagliolionni said, waving his hand toward the waiter.
The waiter bowed and walked away.
“I always thought you were full of shit,” Krandal said.
The window was like water, slowly falling, and the camera flashes were fishing lures the press cast out to reel back some great shots, small unconscious events neither Krandal nor Cantagliolionni would ever know again or even miss, snowflake memories, no two alike, and soon the inky fingerprints of those moments would appear in papers all over the world.
“Full of shit?” Cantagliolionni said.
The cameras were like black holes, feeding on the light escaping them, and out shot the last great moments they would ever know, frozen and preserved in blocks of ice their darkroom chemicals would chisel away at.
“Yeah. Why waste your time constructing those big green beasts people aren’t even tall enough to look at, so they get neck cramps, and they have to stand twenty feet away to see what’s going on?”
“I’d ask you why you fiddle with things so small people have to squint into microscopes to see, and torture themselves with tweezers to appreciate.”
“I make them look deeper into things,” Krandal said, “because there’s so much detail in people’s lives and they refuse to see it. They just ignore the most important parts of who they are.”
“The blood-drinking monster parts?”
Krandal took a sip of beer.
“Well, my beasts, as you call them, are so big because, as you said, sometimes people need to step back to see the whole of something, to get a clear picture of the larger, telescopic aspects of problems people deal with everyday.”
Krandal and Cantagliolionni went on like that, arguing over who did the most differentest thing the exact same way the other one did, back and forth about how their own work meant things to so many people.
The press eventually got bored taking pictures and left.
After the photos were published, the public got sick of looking at them and donated the magazines those photos were printed in to doctors’ offices that hadn’t yet closed due to malpractice suits.
The public’s interest shifted to include more medium-sized things, like responsibilities, like their jobs and their children.
They didn’t have energy left for lofty concepts and principles that didn’t involve them directly, and they’d been drained of incentive to admire any efforts made by people who didn’t really work for a living trying to tell them what their lives meant in the unlikely event that survival for them wasn’t a top priority.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Beeny‘s work has been published in 5AM, 32 Poems, Abjective, Corduroy Mtn., dogmatika, Elimae, HazMat Review, Main Street Rag, Quercus Review, Thieves Jargon, and others. Three e-chaps of his poetry have been published by Gold Wake Press.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009.