There are precisely two types of people in this world. The first are those daring few showcasing tasteful erotic photography on the walls of a small art gallery located in the sort of affluent coastal California “community” where everyone drives the latest model luxury vehicle, grows their own pot, and insists on charging their rocks by moonlight. (For the sake of legalities, the name of this particular town escapes me at the moment). Meanwhile, the other sort aren’t complete idiots. And as a man we’ll call Harold stood there in a mostly empty art gallery, staring up at a clock hung between a pair of before-and-after photos of a sticky motel room, he took solace in the fact that while his idiocy was on full display, at least nobody was around to witness it.
“Hey,” a voice said, shattering the silence and dragging Harold kicking and screaming back into the harsh, unflattering light of his own failure with a thundering lilt.
Harold turned to a pink faux hawk in horned-rimmed glasses and a pantsuit, started to scream something about phoney capitalist elites sucking on the teat of artistic integrity, then thought better of it. “Hey, Brennifer.”
“Yeah,” he lied. “I think so.”
Brennifer looked to the empty gallery, then back to Harold. “Wow. Really?”
Harold looked at Brennifer for a moment, wondering if the dead-eyed woman across from him sold either scented oils or pills when she wasn’t failing to sell other people’s artwork for money. Pills, he thought. Definitely pills. “Have we sold anything yet?”
She shook her head, Nuh-uh. “But if it helps any, I’ve curated worse showings than this.”
“No. This is probably the worst.”
Harold considered this, then briefly imagined himself running through the gallery’s glass storefront and cackling his way down Main Street until finally succumbing to blood loss. “Thanks, Brennifer–”
“I didn’t finish.”
Harold shook his head, Nuh-uh. “I was going to say, ‘Thanks, Brennifer, for stomping on the shattered remains of my hopes and dreams.’”
Brennifer hung her head. “Oh.”
Harold turned back to the clock. “It’s fine. I didn’t want to have to carry home what little self-respect I had left.”