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Art Dealers

by BP | Score: 5900

The water at Ridgewell Spa fell from the faucets like lazy rain. Dripping across our shoulders, steam rising from the heated floor, in any other setting the air would feel hot and fetid with the stench of a bog, but here in the sauna, there was a humid freshness to it. A cleansing heat that felt like it sucked any and all toxic vapors from your pours and discarded them upward, carrying them to some spongy abyss where they were deposited and, in turn, cleansed themselves, before evaporating into the air.

That was good. Because if I had to listen to Tony jerk me around for another second without it I would put his face into the porcelain until one of them broke into a thousand wet little pieces.

"I'm telling you, she's nervous."


"She just is."

One of Tony's many failings was that the spoken word presented an insurmountable obstacle to his ability to operate as a functioning human. Why spill fifty words of edifying clarity when you could bumble through three and dig yourself deeper.

"People are never just something. Known or unknown, they all have a reason. Whether they accept those reasons is none of my concern."


"Do I look like a therapist, Tony?"


"I said do I look like a fucking therapist."

A thought got caught between his brain and his mouth. Somewhere around the eyes. They glazed over like a gagging man before the end. I felt my fist tighten and in the moist air, it let out a wet squelching sound.

The bit got unstuck.

"No. No. I know. It's just." He glanced around the empty spa, as if I were some fucking armature who didn't insist on meeting in private. "People have been going missing."

"People are always going missing."

"No, no. I mean, people like her. Dealers."

This complicated things. Not least of all because of what it meant I had to do to Tony. "Why is this the first time I'm hearing about it."

Another bit of undigested thought made its way through his brain. I followed it's path from the confused furrow of his brow, to the wide, eyebrow raising realization of his eyes. By the time it made it to his mouth he should have known there was nothing he could say, but thinking was never Tony's strong suit.

Four art dealers dead. New York. Florence. LA. Paris. If you didn't read the papers cover to cover you'd never knew they existed, let alone had had their lives cut short. And even if you did, virtually no one had made the connection. Who would? Art was dead so anyone associated with it might as well be too.

Tony was placed delicately in the trunk of his sedan then driven off to the marsh where eventually someone would find him, but like the various art dealers no one would care.

No one cared about people like Tony. No one cared much about anything.

Veronica Saffron had made a name for herself in the art world the way most had, by strutting around with a lot of money and acting important enough no one dared considered ignoring her. Culture types. Tell them you're important enough times and eventually they'll believe it.

I found her at a showing in Cambridge. Small, and elegant, but austere enough not to considered too bourgeois. Most shows of this size were all the same. Local talent. Diverse. Community-oriented. Small stepping stones toward an invitation to the MET where those quaint little ideals would be discarded and replaced by a glittering Versace shawl that cost more than most of these people's apartments.

The pieces on display were inconsequential. An eclectic collection of paintings, sculptures, and photos. Some were of the local scenery and people, others were more abstract. Veronica stood by a table, her long blonde hair billowing down her shoulders like a golden era Hollywood starlet. Veronica Lake, perhaps. Grace Kelly if she decided to let her hair out. Had she been born in the 30s with even a modicum of talent she might have starred alongside Alan Ladd in some hardboiled noir. Instead she was here, laughing with local artist struggling to break through into a life that no longer existed.

Beside her, a smaller, over-caffeinated mouse of a woman nodded her head rapidly as she explained the various injustices bestowed upon her by her absent landlord.

"I don't need any sleep." She joked. Though the weariness behind it betrayed how close she was to a complete breakdown.

I busied myself with a painting adjecent their conversation. A portrait of a elderly woman. Grandmotherly in her features. The artist had taken great pains to accentuate the deep grooves of her face. Dark little valley contrasting with the curls of white that sprang from her head. "Strength" read the title card. She had captured it.

"Thinking of buying?"

I took my time acknowledging her, opening my stance enough to show that I had heard her, but was still considering my answer.

"I don't know," I said, my eyes still on the painting. "I rarely come to these because I can never make up my mind. I always feel like I'll either buy nothing or all of them."

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Location A spa
Letter Use the letter D
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Character A popular art dealer
Event An important deal falls through
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words

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