A Certain Type of Decisive

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Just your unfriendly neighborhood disaster, bringing you bi-weekly updates from the bottom of my own shoe!

Message to Readers

I like to keep on theme of being mysteriously alluring, but I'm afraid I've already come across to you as the dork that I am- I wrote a poem twice and then wrote a story about it because ran out of ideas. Maybe If I load it with enough obvious symbolism no one will notice.

Winged Victory

December 20, 2019

PROMPT: Open Prompt

3
    I wasn't what you'd call the ideal art student. Certainly not the man, either, but I think Da Vinci might've painted me anyway if I had paid him enough. That's the thing about artists, I guess, you can love their art, fantasize, theorize about it, but they're still ruled by inspiration and money like the rest of us. 
    Inspiration is a lot like money- hell, sometimes it is money, mine often is. You can find it on the street, chase it, work for it, and when you don't have any, getting some can be the hardest thing in the world. But inspiration’s worthless when you're poor and money can only get you so far without inspiration.
    The man walking across the beach with the metal detector was not looking for inspiration, but I, paint brushes in hand, was. Everybody paints the sea, everybody always paints the sea, I thought, Bob Ross can paint the sea better than I can from an empty studio room. 
    I was so distracted I almost didn't see it. 
    Painter's eyes, I guess. My mom always counted on me to find our car when she lost in the mall parking lot. But it was more than that- The human brain is wired to notice when something's watching us. I guess it kept a lot of our folks from being eaten by mammoths.
    I held it carefully, sitting down in the hot soft sand so not to worry about dropping it. The first thing I noticed was that she was beautiful. She was a marble head, sculpted and smooth, her expression looked triumphant, excited, mouth open, calling out. She looked ancient. This was not a copy of a historical sculpture, made to look old- she was real.    
I wondered how much extra credit I could get for this.
    I laid her gently on the study lab's counter and decided I'd figure it out after I finished my math homework. But I couldn't focus. I was drawn to her, like a magnet. I wanted to hold her face, to look in her eyes, to study her. 
    Before I knew it, I was studying, researching where she could be from. She was not a renaissance work as I had previously assumed, she was Greek in origin. The longer I looked at her the more details I noticed. I could see where her hand had been, close to her face, cupped around her mouth loosely. Her eyes had been carved with pupils, which was uncommon in Greek works. Her hair was moving in a single direction, as if she was standing in the wind. Every time I looked at her she looked more and more familiar, not like I had seen her before, but as if I had seen the negative space of her face, like I saw where she should've been, where she was missing.
    I knew what I had to do.

    They say money is life's great motivator and life's great motivation deterrent, but lack of it was not enough to stop me from hitchhiking my way to France. 
    The first person I met on my travels was a young pregnant woman by the water's edge at the docks. She was sitting side by side with a man and a woman, feeding the swans together. She took one look at me and stood from the park bench.
    "You need somethin' darlin'? Is it a ticket to the mainland? Because I've got one I don't need no more and you can have it. I saw you over there and you look like you need it. I just know you got someone you love waitin' back there on the other side waitin' for ya'! I just know it."
    "I do- I mean, thank you. Thank you so much, you don't know what this means to me- I don't- I don't know what I can pay you for it-"
    "Oh don't worry, if there's anything I wouldn't do for love, well," she looked back at the man and woman together, still feeding the swans.
    "Goodbye, now," she said, "I hope you make someone over there real happy, real happy, you hear me?"

    The second was a woman on her own, who drove me to Venice and told me stories. Her name was Callie and she was a singer. And an actor. And a musician and model and a communist. She told me lies and I didn't really mind. She said I didn't have to pay gas money because she made her own gas from weeds on the side of the road,  just had to help her pick some when we stopped and tell her a couple of my own stories when we started again.
    "My theory," she said, "Is that it took a lot of effort for God or Allah or whoever's up there to make the world, to make us, and as humans, it's our job to make up for that by making more things. I have built houses and I have painted sunsets, I've grown a garden and I've published a book, I have sung and danced and fought and I'm not done yet- I feel like my hands were made to make things, to build, like I came out of the womb with callouses in all the right spots to do everything- and that's what I plan on doing."

    The third I met was a soldier, a woman named Alala with her hair slicked back and tied in a low bun. She was cool and calm, but she was looking for a fight. She said she’d give me a ride in her plane, anywhere I wanted to go if I talked with her for a while. 
    “A debate team champion,” she said, “The minute I stepped into school they wanted to send me straight to the top- but I said no, no sir, I am doing what I planned on doing since the day I was born and that’s fight for my country- or some country anyways. I doesn’t matter to me much one way or another, as long as everybody’s a little safer for it- you can try to change my mind about that but by God, you won’t- but I’d love to see you try.”
    I went with her- I was desperate and poor, like everyone that does. She said her plane was free, but it wasn’t. She took my ideals from me, stole everything I believed in right from under my feet. I was 30,000 feet up in the air with nothing to stand on except flimsy beliefs and the fact that I was still moving forward. 
    I only cried a couple times.
    Getting into the museum was easier than I had thought it would be. If your giant marble head goes through the metal detector, the security guards honestly don't care. They just won't let you take in your opened water bottles. 
    His name tag said George, but his partner called him Greg. He was oily and old, with a grey and unconvincing comb-over. He took one look in my backpack and handed it back to me.
    “Is this a bomb?” He asked, expressionless and monotone.
    “No?”
    “Is it food?”
    “No-”
    “Is this alcohol?”
    “I’m 19-”
    “Alright, go ahead.”
    There were too many people; I knew I would be stopped as soon as I touched the statue. I didn’t want to stray to far while I waited for the museum to close, but it wasn’t everyday you were in the most famous museum in the world.
    I wandered through the halls, almost running, I had to see it all- going faster and faster, desperate to see everything ever painted, sculpted, spat out and put in frame. Everything was a blur, a dreamy haze of color and emotions that I couldn’t feel. 
    And I stopped, so abruptly it shocked the children nearby, who were making fun of Diogenes. I was looking at the recreation of “The School of Athens,” but I saw my reflection. No- not a reflection, but my own image, a small painted form of myself, wearing a toga and a laurel wreath in my hair. I was holding the head in my arms like a child, but looking straight out, as if I was staring at the painter.
    “There,” I said, ushering the children over. “What do you see? Do you see the figure painted there?”
    “Where?” she asked, in a heavy American accent, squinting at the spot where my finger was. “You mean that guy?” 
    “No, no, that’s Protogenes, I mean the lady in the indigo, in front of him.”
    “You mean the pillar? Lady, that’s just a column, there’s nobody there.”
    The tourist crowds had faded out when the museum closed, and now we were alone. I had hid inside a storage closet, emerging again early in the morning. I climbed the staircase leading up to her, stair after stair as her figure kept getting larger. Logically, I knew she was eight feet tall, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying to approach her in the dark.
    "Whole, you will be whole again," I whispered.
    I got to work.
    Alarms echoed through the halls, faraway shouts, too, but my work was important. Wood glue and white glue, duct tape and scotch, spray and stick, bubble gum, rubber bands, paper clips and staples- I was almost done- I was almost done.
    And police came pouring into the room, guns drawn, ready to battle my stapler to the death, but it didn't matter, I was done. In the air, you could smell glue and taste victory. They dragged me away, into their cars and wherever they went, but I couldn't feel it.
    It had been warm, the marble, the skin. When I touched it, it gave way to my fingers. And I reasoned, if the statue's turned to skin, then maybe I've become a statue. My skin is made of marble and I'm not going anywhere.
    And in the morning, Jean-Luc Martinez would stand and stare. He would marvel and he would cry, openly weeping at the masterpiece restored by my hands.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace has regained her head, and she was calling out again. She was silent, but she was echoing through the halls, singing a song of triumph that no one could ignore for a moment longer.
    This is a brand new kind of renaissance.

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  • December 20, 2019 - 10:21pm (Now Viewing)

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3 Comments
  • A Certain Type of Decisive

    Yes! It's an ancient Greek statue of Nike, the Goddess of Victory. It is winged figure missing both arms and her head. There are several theories on what her hands might’ve been doing and what her head may have looked like, but only a portion of her hand has ever been found. I wrote this for a school project and if you look closely, I followed the theory of basic human components (love, war, art) through the people she met. I left it pretty open, so they could also be interpreted as Ares and Aphrodite.


    10 months ago
  • Loser

    I was not particularly into art, but this story has so piqued my interest that I am now. Is the Winged Victory of Samothrace a real piece?


    10 months ago
  • Jasmine_K

    Okay, I am literally in love with your style of writing.


    10 months ago