…and another short, short from the Dark Side


“You heard what James said, Dear.”

“He said a lot of things.”

The eye roll. “He said, darling, that he was an ‘up-and-comer’.

“Hmmph…at forty-five thousand bucks a pop, he’ll soon be a ‘came-and-wenter’.

“Ohh, you’re simply impossible at times!”

“Well, I sometimes feel the same way about ‘James’, you know. I mean, can’t he speak in any other word forms than adjectives?”

“He’s only trying to explain things, Charles.”

“Well, he might do a bit better at ‘explaining things’, Marsha, if he’d throw in something substantive now and then … you know, like a noun?”

“Oh, God! What do nouns have to do with art?”

“Might tell me just what the hell I was looking at, for one thing.”

“Tsk! You are simply impossible! I mean, really, Charles! James is a dealer. He knows what he’s about!”

“A ‘dealer’.”

“What’s that supposed to imply?”

“A ‘dealer’ — look, Marsha. A ‘dealer’ only means that he’s a merchant. A peddler.”

Massive eye roll. “He knows about art Charles. He deals in art.”

“And I know used-car dealers. They don’t have to know how to build them, or how to service them — or even how to drive them. All they have to do to stay in business is know how to sell them. Has James ever made a painting? James sells stuff.  That’s why he needs all those adjectives.”

“Oh, Charles! You are just…. Listen, I do know something about art myself, you know. I’m not letting James take advantage of me, if that’s what you’re implying!”

“Oh, yeah. I forgot about Mitzi.”

“Well, you needn’t sound so snide about it. Mitzi knew her stuff.”

“Right. I remember those little art-jaunts she took you and the others out on.”

“Well, we learned things!”

“I forget now — was Mitzi a painter?”

“You know perfectly well that she was not!”

“Oh. But she ‘knew her stuff’.”

“Of course she did! She took that art appreciation course at the Community Center — you know that. I remember perfectly well telling you that!”

“’Art appreciation’ — does that mean you have to ‘appreciate’ everything that any Tom, Dick, Harry — or James — shows you?”

“Of course not. But one ought to know what one is viewing. A dealer simply helps you to see what is there.”

“Like Mitzi.”

Yes, like Mitzi. She was not some ditzy blonde, you know. She was educated.”

“But not a painter. Right?”

“Oh, God!”

“Look, all I saw at James’s were walls full of paint smatterings.”

“They were paintings, for God’s sake.”


“We were in an art gallery, for God’s sake.”

“Well, I saw better stuff on the drop-cloths of house painters. I don’t think even James knew what the hell they were. Ergo, all the adjectives.”

“You just don’t know anything about modern art, that’s all — plain and simple. James was merely attempting to explain to us — to me — how accomplished the work was.”

“So, I was looking at the work of an artist?”

“Of course, silly. How else would he get his work into an art gallery? James could tell right away that he had a real artist on his hands as soon as he met him.”

“Oh. So what did all that ‘up-and-comer’s’ stuff have to do with his being a ‘real artist?”

“Really, Charles, sometimes you are just impossible.”


“Well I certainly can’t give you a crash course on art, for Heaven’s Sake!”

“Again, I ask you. What would that ‘up-and-comer’ and art have in common?”

“Charles, Charles…Charles!”


One Response to THE PHILISTINE Short Fiction

  1. Sherrill says:

    Interesting, it is all so true, 90% of the time. Sherrill

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