The Writers Voice
Favourite Literary Website
The Hand of the Master
Jasper lifted the canvas from the easel with a flourish. He
eyed it critically, turning it a little this way and that. Then he threw his
head back and, to no one in particular, shouted "Is that good enough for you,
Professor Winston. No? Well up yours!"
Whistling with satisfaction he walked the painting across the room to the north
wall -- a strange, goat-like sort sort of walk, legs backward jointed. The
cloying scent of Brut followed him from one side of the room to the other. A
skylight illuminated the north wall and he set the painting against it and
looked at it critically. He was the best judge of his own work. Only Jasper knew
the precise brush technique and the subtle blend of viridian and Prussian blue
that Picasso was fond of in the period between 1910 and 1915, and in the north
light of his studio he thought it was just about right. No dealer in Soho would
ever suspect that it was not a Picasso. Picasso himself might have been
persuaded that it was his -- if he'd been around long enough to paint a portrait
of George W. Bush.
Jasper Jones was not a forger, he had never copied a work of art. This
particular series of portraits were of world leaders the masters of the painting
world did not live to see. He learned their technique, and he could paint
precisely as they would have painted had they been living today in Soho. He
boldly signed his name "JASPER JONES" to each and every painting and made no
effort to pretend they had been painted by anyone else. In fact, he was
convinced his name on a painting gave it greater value than it would have had
were it signed by the master himself. On the other hand he was not stupid. There
had been occasions when he considered the possibility of forgery; a particularly
successful painting of water lilies might well have been sold as an original
just by signing it "Claude Monet." No one would have been the wiser.
But that was too dangerous a game for Jasper -- that way was ruin and prison.
Let someone else do that. There are too many scientific techniques to test the
authenticity of a painting. Too many simple ones as well -- cracking of pigment
-- patina -- staples instead of tacks binding the canvas to the stretcher. Once
caught, the game was over, and the forger would find himself up the river
spending the rest of his life painting the walls of prison toilets. No! Jasper
Jones was content to be an impersonator in the painting game. Why shouldn't he
be content? He was wealthier than many of the struggling masters he
impersonated, and in a strange and twisted way he kept their craft alive.
As a young student in New York under Professor Winston, and later at the Ecole
de Beaux-Arts in Paris his teachers told him bluntly he was an empty shell, all
the technique in the world -- but with nothing to say. He was singled out as a
kind of painting machine and displayed to his fellow students as a young man who
might make a good living but would never make living good for other people. He
thought of that now with a smile as he held his "Picasso" at arm's length under
"Still teaching nights, Winston? Making thirty-forty thousand a year in some
windowless art school on the west side .... lecturing afternoons to old ladies
in the public library on "Art" with a capital "A"? Professor Winston indeed!....
Professor of what?" Jasper went to the palette and dipped his brush in bright
vermilion and carefully signed the Picasso .... "JASPER JONES." The painting
would bring to a close the fifty portraits of world leaders to hang in the
Presidential Suite of the Hotel Splendide in Boston. Fifteen hundred dollars
each ... unframed! Take that Professor Winston! Getting rich is the best
Then, he would be off to Barbados .... a week or two of reflection in the sun,
and smothered in the warm embraces of the resorts' hostesses and perhaps an
honest appraisal of what he might do with the rest of his life. The Captain's
Savings Bank's series of great Pacific naval battles of World War II as they
would have been painted by William Turner, that was the next project .... and
perhaps the last. A cinch! He would breeze through that in a month. After that,
who knows! Life is a foil wrapped chocolate surprise every day.
Today, no one from that class of '56 at the Sorbonne could rub two sous together
-- and the T-shirted hippies at the Art Students League! .... forget it, they
were all doing graphics for television; taking orders from the likes of
production assistants! "Professor Winston .... Hah!"
"Vanessa," he shouted. "Call Goldberg. Get him over here in the morning .... the
"leaders" are moving out."
Vanessa, Jasper's harassed young assistant painted large and obscure cubist
canvasses in the basement. She was permitted to use the space as a studio, and
in return, she kept his studio clean and well supplied. She answered the phone
in a low throaty voice and occasionally submitted to Jasper's bizarre sexual
"You can't be finished already, Mr. Jones .... ," then, she noticed the Picasso
and gasped .... "A miracle .... really Mr. Jones, an absolute miracle! There's
no question, it's a perfect example of the cubist style of portraiture in that
seminal period that bridges the .... "
"Cut the crap Vanessa, get Goldberg over here with his frames in the morning, I
need a week or two in the sun then we're off to the Pacific Theater." He gave
her a possessive pat .... "Why don't you wash up kid, you smell like a moldy
basement .... I'll show you a miracle."
Vanessa washed up and called Goldberg. The sexual interlude which followed was
nowhere near a miracle for Vanessa. The smell of Brut still lingered in her
basement bedroom as though it was the den of some strange and exotic animal. She
knew Jasper was a user .... a user of the masters and a user of her as well. It
occurred to her that sex with Jasper was not really different than sex with
Picasso, or Monet or even Grandma Moses if she had been available this gloomy
Well he was gone now. She had the evening to work on her mammoth cubist
interpretation of the "Creation." Seven giant panels, each six feet wide and
twelve feet long, so large they were stacked one above the other on the basement
floor. Vanessa had rigged a child's swing above them in which she sat suspended
from the first floor beams. From this precarious position she could cover the
entire seven days of the Creation -- one day at a time. It was an inverted
Sistine Ceiling, so to speak. Occasionally Jasper would come down and ridicule
her. "Hah! .... the trapeze artist!. At it again? What nonsense, Vanessa. Who do
you expect will buy this rubbish when you're done?
The following morning, Goldberg, sensing a business deal, was there early. He
was a very exclusive framer, artists came to his shop and pored over the samples
of mats and moldings. They would usually throw up their hands in despair and ask
Goldberg to do what he thought best. But Jasper Jones was special .... he was a
big commercial account and merited his personal attention. Whatever the price
was, Goldberg knew Jasper would pay and pass it along.
Vanessa spent a sleepless night caught up somewhere between the fifth and sixth
day of the Creation.
"Vanessa, darling .... how is it with you? How is it I never frame nothing for
you? Jasper, I never worry, he grinds it out like a sausage machine .... but you
my dear, you are a conundrum down there in your basement."
Vanessa had no breakfast. She was cold, artistically stretched out, and, if
anyone had asked her at that moment, she was damn sick and tired of her
Creation, Jasper Jones, and Goldberg too for that matter. She pointed to the
series of world leader portraits stacked in the corner.
"There's the hotel contract, Goldberg. I think there's fifty. Were there fifty
great world leaders? .... it doesn't matter, the contract was for fifty."
Jasper arrived, looking for all the world like Aubrey Beardsley .... slouch hat,
flowing muffler and cigarette holder. "Goldberg! Dear man, how nice of you to be
early. I knew you would be .... and Vanessa, she is as beautiful in the morning
as she is in the evening .... you may take that as a compliment my dear if you
wish, although it infers that your appearance has not improved since last
Goldberg rubbed his hands together. "I tell you what, Jasper -- a big job, but I
gear up and I'm done by Wednesday. No Fed "X", no UPS, I spring for the crating
and shipping myself. $500 apiece."
"That's .... " Jasper pushed his slouch hat back on his head .... " that is
"Yes, a bargain," Goldberg smiled innocently, "and you pay me when they pay you
.... and for dear Vanessa, I throw in a freebie for you."
Jasper did not stoop to bicker with anyone, but he was savvy enough to know that
Goldberg was making a fortune, but he realized his own profit made Goldberg look
like a piker.
"You cannot frame Vanessa," Jasper readjusted his paisley muffler, "her work is
large scale .... it would be easier to frame Mount Rushmore. It has always
amused me that her talent diminishes in direct proportion to the size of her
canvasses." Jasper removed a gold watch from his gray waistcoat and snapped open
the cover. "Handle it Vanessa, you know where the world leaders are .... be
careful with the Picasso, it may still be damp. Are my tickets waiting at
Kennedy? Good." He smiled for the first time this morning; and then it broadened
as he peered through the gallery window and saw his chauffeur standing by the
Lincoln Town Car filing his nails.
"Life is good, Goldberg, and getting better each passing day." He turned to
Vanessa. "Dear Vanessa, the place is yours. It would be helpful if you
straightened up before I return. See to fresh supplies . . . stretch some
canvasses, 30 by 40 inches should suffice, I think. Check on the alizarin
crimson, my dear .... the Pacific Theater was a bloody one." He flung the
muffler over his shoulder and walked like a strange predatory bird to the front
door. "Thank you all," he said. "Thank you, Pablo. Thank you, Claude, Thank you
too, Vincent ... I don't know where I'd be without you!"
When he was gone, Goldberg shook his bald head and turned to Vanessa. "A most
distasteful man .... a Schlemiel. How can you stand him, Vanessa? He is a man I
would not wish on the daughter of my worst enemy."
"A place to work, that's all. I've had the entire basement to myself for months,
there's no way I could have put the 'Creation' together without that basement."
Goldberg sighed .... "Pitiful. May I use the phone, Vanessa? Thank you."
Goldberg called the trucking company to pick up the paintings. "In twenty
minutes, excellent, I'll be at the front door." He hung up and turned to
Vanessa. "May I see this 'Creation' of yours, Vanessa?"
"You can only see the sixth day, I'm afraid. It's the top one. Six feet wide and
twelve feet long .... " she paused at the basement door, "what's wrong with me
Goldberg? I never should have started it." She was close to tears. "Where could
I ever exhibit such a thing?"
"Tut, tut my child! It is an enormous subject, no? I would not expect to see it
painted on the head of a pin. Let us go downstairs and see your 'Creation'. We
can schmooze, eh? .... a heart to heart. There must be something we can do."
"Gros Gott!" marveled Goldberg as he stood in awe at the foot of the 'sixth
day'. Let me see, let me see .... that was the day He put man together, no?"
"Yes, His work was done on the sixth day. On the seventh day, He rested."
"You have used a cubist style. How clever of you! It is probably closer to the
truth than Michelangelo with his goyim Adam. Goldberg was agitated. "I must see
these together, Vanessa. How can that be done?"
Vanessa had intended the six panels to be viewed together in a tight circle. The
seventh panel would be black and be hinged as a door. Each of them would stand
on end and the viewer would stand at the axis of the circle. in this way the
entire creation would surround him. She explained this to Goldberg, who began to
bubble with excitement.
"Kingsley," he shouted. "Kingsley at the Guggenheim! He would do this! It would
draw enormous crowds -- miracles could occur, Vanessa! You have a gold mine
here! I must see the others .... can we see them all together here?"
"I don't know, maybe up in Jasper's studio, that's the only place with a ceiling
high enough to stand them on end."
Goldberg was beside himself. "Good! The men with the truck. They'll be here any
moment. They can bring them upstairs. Do not worry, Vanessa, Jasper is in the
sun for two weeks, by that time your name will be in lights."
Goldberg continued to stare at the sixth day. It was incredibly rich in detail,
it seemed to change as he looked, and he noticed things he didn't see the first
time. If the panels lying under this one were as beautifully done .... but of
course they would have to be, he was looking at the last one! If the inspiration
had not flagged .... but how could that be, this was the final one!
"I am truly impressed, Vanessa. I had no idea you had this unique talent. Where
did you study?"
Vanessa was sitting in a folding chair tilted back with her head against the
wall. Her eyes were shut and she was close to napping. "I studied in a small
Tech school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Then, when my father died, I came to New
York and got a part time job at Fox Television. I wanted to paint so I went to
the Art Student's League uptown. Professor Winston was still teaching there, a
great teacher .... I heard so much about him back home in Bethlehem .... " She
squeezed her eyes together and ran her fingers through her long black hair. "One
night Jasper Jones came to lecture on technique, and he .... well, he got me
down here, showed me the basement. I had the idea to paint something really big,
you know -- really cosmic."
Goldberg stood shifting his weight from foot to foot. He looked at his watch.
"What can be keeping them -- the truck men, I mean." He turned to Vanessa. "You
were wrong to listen to Jasper, Vanessa. But, still .... how I envy you. I have
always envied people of talent. In Warsaw, where I was born, I haunted the
National museum. It had been stripped bare by the Nazis. Some of the things came
back after the trials .... but not the good things. The museum was a shambles,
an artistic junkyard. Only the frames were left. You could walk through the
galleries .... nothing there but frames. The Germans had cut the pictures out,
rolled them up and shipped them home, all the Caravaggios, the Botticelli's.
That's how I got into the framing business, did I tell you?" Vanessa seemed to
have fallen asleep.
"Vanessa, what is that light over the stair?"
She roused herself and stood up. "Oh, that's the front door -- someone's at the
Goldberg seemed reinvigorated. "It's the truck men, the truck men!" He started
up the stairs .... "Come, Vanessa! Your life is about to begin!"
The panels barely fit in Jasper's studio. Each of them interlocked with its
neighbor and the seventh panel was hinged to the sixth. It served as the door
which sealed the entire sweep of the Creation in a cylinder almost twenty feet
in diameter. When the door was closed, the only illumination was that which came
from the north skylight.
Goldberg gathered Jasper's portraits in one corner of the studio, "Now, then,
here are the paintings -- there are fifty. My assistant will be waiting for you.
Mind the little one, that's a Picasso .... what am I telling you! Picasso! What
do you know from Picasso? Anyway, mind the little one. It may still be wet ....
don't shmear, okay.? Now go!" He mopped his brow and turned to Vanessa, "now my
dear --- it is time to see."
Vanessa unlatched the seventh panel and they stepped inside. It was nearly
eleven a.m., and a soft spring light filtered down from the skylight above.
Somehow the space they stood in seemed larger than it should have been, they
felt surrounded by a measureless emptiness. Just left of the door could be seen
the separation of matter from the void, dark from the light, and the land from
the sea. Numberless stars were forming from swirling luminous gas. Blind,
groping fish appeared in the turgid sea below and fed upon each other -- some
crawled upon the dry land and fed upon the life living there. Every living thing
fed on every other living thing. The sensation of being in the center of things;
at the center of the universe, was compelling. Simon felt dwarfed and bewildered
and even Vanessa couldn't believe what she had accomplished.
tragic figure of the Creator stood watching the events of the fifth day.
It could not leave the Creation in such a chaotic state. Five
days had passed and
only the frenzy of feeding ruled this riotous and raucous
world. There must be
reason! Something must still be done. The figure searched for
a solution. It could
not seek advice. It was alone and it must find that solution
without help from any
source. Too much time had been wasted already -- other worlds
Why not something in its own image? Something to claim
dominion over this wild
world. But what was its image? It was a figure too, a cubist
figure .... nothing more.
It must be something all creatures will fear and love. The
Creator would rest now
and wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow would be another day. It
chose a cool and quiet
and garden. One far removed from the
killing fields of feeding. No turbulence
here -- a land of milk and honey.
Another day! Yes, the Creator would need another day. It
rested a bit. Just a
bit; it couldn't waste much time, there were other worlds to
work with. It
rested, and the sixth period of light began ....
Goldberg stared at Vanessa's interpretation of the first man.
The comatose eyes of Adam stared back at him distractedly, like a man waking
from a deep sleep. "My God, girl. How did you ever conceive of such a work? I am
not a person to give praise lightly, but this is an absolutely unique and
original work." He seemed to lose his balance in the dark. "Please, Vanessa -- I
need air -- I have no sense of where I am, I feel as though there is no floor
Vanessa took his arm, opened the seventh panel and together they stepped through
into Jasper's studio again. Goldberg stumbled over to one of Jasper's blue
velvet chairs and sat heavily. Vanessa was upset as well; she had only seen her
Creation one panel at a time, hoping that when she had finished, there would be
some sense of continuity. But she hadn't counted on the full consequence of it
in totality .... its likeness to the Bible's Creation had been frighteningly
"You okay. Mr. Goldberg?"
He stared back at her questioningly, looking like a man who lost something and
can't remember what it was. "The Adam .... there is something vaguely familiar
.... I am not a religious man, Vanessa. No. Not an orthodox man. My father was
orthodox. They burned all our synagogues and he would pray at home, in
everyone's way .... with supper on the stove .... while we would listen to the
radio. Papa would pray. I think he only came home to pray."
"While I can, Vanessa .... in my breast pocket. You have it? Yes, that's it ....
a small book. Look up Kingsley, he is the curator of Guggenheim. A museum of
great distinction but worthless paintings. It is a private number, very few
people are privileged, you know? Not even Jasper has this number. As God is my
witness, Vanessa, this work of yours will stand under the magnificent dome of
the Guggenheim museum! Will you dial the number for me?"
"Are you sure you're all right, Mr. Goldberg. You look pale, can I get you
something?" Vanessa had already pulled herself together. Her tiredness was gone,
her breath now came quickly, she was flushed and exhilarated. The months of work
were done and the results exceeded her wildest dreams.
"Mr. Kingsley? .... Simon Goldberg is calling, will you hold for him please?"
Goldberg took a deep breath as Vanessa handed him the phone.
"Sherman? Simon. I have just seen a most remarkable thing. A painting you would
not believe." He listened a moment, then continued. "I did not say such a thing
when I framed for you Cezanne's "Potato Eaters," did I? No, I did not! But now I
say it to you Sherman -- it is more than a painting, it is a religious
experience. People will not be the same after. I want it to be in the rotunda of
the Guggenheim under your magnificent dome." Goldberg grew redder and waved his
free hand like a conductor.
"Of course I'm excited, who would not be excited? I want you should come here
Sherman, you must see it now! What time this afternoon? Okay, no later than
that, I warn you -- it must be seen under a north skylight. You know the Jones
studio in Soho? Yes, Jasper Jones. No, of course not, are you crazy? He is not
capable of such a thing! The name is .... a shiksa, by the way -- Vanessa .... "
he turned to Vanessa. "Mine Gott Vanessa, do you realize I don't know your last
Vanessa, caught up by Goldberg's enthusiasm, stammered, "Eden."
"Vanessa Eden, Sherman .... I know, I know. Trust me it is prophetic. Come
Sherman. Come quickly!" He hung up feeling as though he hadn't said all he
wanted to say.
"I know a place for lunch, Vanessa .... West side. I cannot leave you here
alone, I must tell you how to plan for what's ahead. Your future is bright but
there are pitfalls everywhere."
It had been an inspiring morning for both of them and a kinship blossomed
between the elderly Jewish artisan and the twenty-two year old slip of a girl
who might well have created the most compelling work of art in the twentieth
century. Eagerly, they finished their coffee and walked out into the pale light
of the spring afternoon. Without realizing it, they held hands as they walked
back to Jasper's studio. It was an act of closeness, not possession. The
affection of a childless father for a fatherless daughter.
The Creation still waited under the skylight. Vanessa and Simon were reluctant
to go in again, they still felt the effects from the first experience. It was
daunting .... "If it has a down-side my dear, it is like all four operas of the
'Ring of the Nibelungen' seen back to back. Too big a subject for mortal man to
swallow." Simon winked and added, "but in the Guggenheim, where people come as
some do to Lourdes, they expect to see miracles. Perhaps there should be music
.... what do you think -- maybe we could get Andrew Lloyd Webber? I know it is a
work of art my dear, but you must admit it has elements of fantasy as well."
"Please Simon, I would just like to see this out of here before Jasper gets
The bell rang at the stroke of two.
"That has got to Sherman already. We are ready, are we not Vanessa?" Simon
hurried to the door. "Come in, come in Sherman. You are not too late." He
gestured toward the giant cylinder sitting under the north light of the studio.
"There it is! Think of all the Guggenheim money you've thrown away Sherman. Now!
With one fell swoop you will be the most envied of curators." He turned to
Vanessa. "And this is the young lioness, Sherman. From the moment this work
stands under the great dome of the Guggenheim, her name will stand next to
Kingsley was a gray man. Everything about him was gray. His suit, his shirt, his
tie were gray. Touches of silver only emphasized his grayness. His hair was a
mixture of gray and silver and as closely shaven as a tennis ball. Suspended by
a broad gray ribbon, he wore a silver monocle which seemed to make one eye
appear twice the size of the other.
"All I see is the backs of canvasses Goldberg."
"I will panel them in midnight blue Sherman .... all included in the price. Let
us dilly dally no more. Shall we see what you came for?"
Kingsley paused at the seventh panel, and turned to look at Vanessa. "Do I know
you, young lady?" He respected the professionalism of Goldberg but hated him
personally, and now he was going to view the work of a nonentity! Such a chance
to take! Would he be called on to render a personal judgment? .... so many of
them had gone awry.
"No, Mr. Kingsley. I am completely unknown to you, and to just about anyone else
you know I imagine." Vanessa reached for the door pull and the three of them
The sixth day
was now complete. All other species save that of man was
begettable. Fish begat fish, Bird begat bird and every flower of the field
contained the seed of a new flower. Only Adam lay alone -- on his back in
the middle of Eden. He looked up at the Creator. "May I call you Winston, sir?
You are the Creator, are you not? I think you've forgotten something,
Winston. I am alone here -- you cannot leave me alone, your work is incomplete
if I am left alone." The Creator could now be seen in Adam's image and
they shared a common language. Tired as the Creator was, he realized there
was still work to be done. Six days were too short, he should have set a
more achievable goal. Three people had just entered the Creation, perhaps
one of them would do. "I see them too," said Adam. "The short one with
the long dark hair -- use her, use her -- see what you can do with her."
"Vanessa, that figure .... next to Adam! that was not there
before. It is you, is it not?"
"I don't remember painting that! And look! The figure up there, the figure of
the Creator! I could never bring myself to paint his face, it .... it seemed
sacrilegious somehow. But it's the spitting image of Professor Winston."
Kingston's monocle had fallen out of his eye moments before. His mouth hung open
and his head bobbed up, down and sideways as he witnessed the six days of the
Creation. He clung to Simon Goldberg for support. "Where am I," he pleaded,
"this cannot be a painting .... it will not stand still! I feel as though I am a
witness to the Creation."
Goldberg still examined the figures of the sixth day. He was convinced the new
image was Vanessa, and as he looked at Adam he had the uneasy sensation that he
was looking at himself as a young man. Perhaps that was why it had drawn his
To each of them, Vanessa's "Creation" was a separate and personal interpretation
of God's first six days. It affected each of them differently. Vanessa did not
venture to paint God in her father's image, yet she was ready to accept
Professor Winston as her artistic Creator. Simon, in the twilight of his years,
finally saw what had been denied to him as a young man. Sherman Kingsley, with a
lifetime of disastrous decisions behind him had been offered a golden
opportunity of reprieve. Each of them, lost in his and her own thoughts, did not
see the seventh door fling open.
It was Jasper!
"What in God's name is going on here!!"
"How dare you Vanessa .... and you too Goldberg!" He slammed the door behind
him. "Is that you, Kingsley? Guggenheim finally booted you out? About time, I'd
say!" The three of them were torn between this miracle of creation, (still under
construction) and the sudden satanic appearance of Jasper Jones.
"But you are in Barbados," Goldberg stammered.
"A bitter easterly wind with impenetrable fog, Goldberg. A socked-in third world
airport. But why should I explain to you? This is my studio, not yours Vanessa
.... and you two," he stared coldly at Goldberg and Kingsley. "Sucker fish ....
leeches of the art world!" He turned back to the painting again. "So this is Art
with a capital "A" over which little Vanessa has labored so long in my basement.
This is where my "Prussian" blue has gone .... how many tubes Vanessa; twenty
.... thirty? Couldn't the Master create a universe with a little less Prussian
"You are the author of this charade? Hah! You write your Bible story badly --
you give us light on the first day and the sun two days later!" He stalked, with
his queer backward jointed gait from day one to six. "Six days, Vanessa? Surely
the Master could have contrived this little deception between the salad and the
The warm light of the spring afternoon illuminated the figure of God. Jasper
looked up at it cynically. "Hah! Winston, is that you up there? Proud of
yourself, Winston? Botched up another creation, haven't you? You're supposed to
say, 'AND IT WAS GOOD'! But you can't, can you? You know that nothing can be
good without a touch of evil."
In later years, Vanessa, Simon and Sherman could never swear to the fact they
caught the scent of brimstone at that moment. None of them had ever smelled
brimstone or witnessed a volcanic eruption, none of them were acquainted with
the odor of sulfur. Heretofore, Jasper Jones and the fragrance of Brut seemed
inseparable. But as Jasper was suddenly snatched from their sight, he was
replaced by a stench that could only have come from hell itself.
Where had he gone?
Simon was the first to notice .... "Behind you .... in the picture, Vanessa. It
was not there before!"
"I had nothing to do with this, Simon .... Mr. Kingsley, believe me!
The new figure was a goat-like Satan, cloven hoofed, covered in coarse black
hair. It stood behind the figure of Eve and appeared to whisper in her ear. Its
resemblance to Jasper Jones was unmistakable.
"Please God," said Vanessa, looking pleadingly at the figure of Winston,
"Haven't you done enough?"
"Yes, finish already," begged Simon.
Kingsley was groping for the door, "The Foundation will be in touch shortly ....
I must leave now," he said to no one in particular.
There were few witnesses to the first Creation, and none were there to write of
the events as they occurred, but it seems logical to assume that it was
accomplished with a fair degree of success. The second Creation, given a jump
start by Vanessa Eden and made up of bits and pieces lying around, was less
successful. An elderly Jewish picture framer and a devilish copy-cat painter do
not make for great casting. But then, an arthritic $35,000 a year un-tenured
professor with a limited attention span is probably a poor substitute for the
Creator. In the end we do the best we can with common clay.
After the unpleasantness with Jasper Jones was finished and a thorough search
for his mortal remains proved unavailing, Vanessa's "Creation" found its way to
the Guggenheim. Its popularity was extraordinary for a month or two. Miracles
did occur. Some crutches were left behind, many people were mesmerized and led
out of the building in a state of trance. But like everything else in New York,
the novelty wore thin.
There are still occasions, however, when a visitor, (usually from out of town)
will swear he or she sees strange figures moving inside the "Creation." Figures
which are not illustrated in the complimentary brochure.
We can only assume Professor Winston still has work to do.
Critique this work
Click on the book to leave a comment about this work