by Mark Van Proyen
It was ten minutes after 4 p.m. when I once again arrived at school two days after I met with Theda, making the fourth day in a row that I took the train into town. Earlier, I had made arrangements to meet with Kathy in the lobby so that we could get her up to speed about her TA responsibilities, which I thought would take about half an hour. That would leave us with plenty of time to hit the opening reception for the Propositions in Space exhibition. I assumed that arriving early and then leaving soon after that was the best plan, allowing time to see the show, make some innocuous small talk, and disappear when I was sure that Theda had registered my pretense of enthusiasm. With any luck, I would be on my way home before the late-arriving hoard of freeloading students converged like hungry piranha upon the drink and snack tables.
But with less than an hour to go before the show’s opening, white paper still covered the gallery’s windows, and there were sounds of last-minute chaos emanating from behind its closed doors. Periodically, they would swing open, and either Toby or Rhoda would pop out and run up the stairs, only to rush back down and inside with some relevant piece of equipment or information. Meanwhile, two men wearing white shirts with pink bow ties were covering a table with a black tablecloth so that wine, chips and overripe crudité could be served in the lobby just outside the gallery.
I noticed that Photobitch had parked her media cart under the metal stairs leading up to the new administrative offices, and curiosity led me to step over to give it a closer look. Its lower shelf supported a new Macintosh computer, which was padlocked to the cart, while a monitor, keyboard and digital projector were situated on the top, along with a pair of audio speakers, pressed into service as paperweights. I stole a glance at the papers underneath and noticed some outstanding layout work printed on expensive-looking paper. It was Photobitch’s resume, with a top page that read:
“‘Russett Vodavich is an artist, filmmaker and writer based in San Francisco. Her work addresses questions of post-coloniality, gender, identity and historical hegemony, integrating an essayistic, documentary practice with video projection and installation. She reworks the question of experimental cinema by employing multiple screens and fractured time sequences. These are often supplemented by large-scale photographs combined with text that restage familiar media stereotypes to reveal the character of their operation as cultural constructions.”
The resume went on to show that she had received an undergraduate degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley, and soon thereafter earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the same institution. A long list of solo exhibitions staged at obscure university art galleries in Nevada, eastern California and western Canada completed the second page. Undoubtedly, if Vic were to read this, he would in all seriousness, ask if post-coloniality had something to do with recovery from a surgical procedure.
I turned to greet Kathy, who seemed to appear from out of nowhere. She was wearing a red and yellow Arizona Sun Devils baseball cap with a matching vest featuring Hopi design elements.
“Sorry I am late, I had a doctor’s appointment, and it went a bit long.” From a spacious tote bag emblazoned with an NCSAD logo, she produced a long plastic box held together by a stout rubber band. “Here are the slides that you asked me to pull from the library—all in order and set to be loaded. I also scored the quiz that you gave on Monday—a few of the students didn’t do very well.” Kathy seemed to be looking to me for some sign about how concerned she should be about poor student performance.
I was not surprised at Kathy’s news, as the quiz was designed to be difficult in order to scare the students into better preparation for later exams, which were designed to be easy. “Maybe you could meet with those students and find out if they have learning disabilities or language handicaps?” No doubt, once the students discovered that there were special dispensations available to those who had such problems, a quick epidemic of said difficulties would ensue, making the fair distribution of grades an absolute impossibility. But I didn’t care, because that very same epidemic would provide me with a perfect alibi if there would ever be an official inquiry into inflated grades, which was a topic of perennial “concern” that was somehow never addressed by the school’s administration. Freedom of academic speech was the much-cited stumbling block to any initiative pointed toward rigorous grading, or any other exercise of professional responsibility, said freedom adding up to nothing more than a teacher’s right to dispense undeserved self-esteem to anyone who would choose to direct student loan dollars toward their particular cults of personality. Thus, the path to universal academic happiness was paved: a perfect balancing of the contradiction between the school’s high-minded mission statement and its revenue-oriented business plan.
“Thanks for doing this…now, on Monday, we are going to start with a review of Mannerism and focus on Caravaggio’s Madonna of the Rosary. Then we move ahead to the middle of the century, focusing on Vermeer’s Allegory of Painting and Velasquez’s Las Meninas.”
Kathy was quick on the uptake. “I figured that from the slides. You’ve got a lot of detail shots of Las Meninas—are you going to make the students read Foucault?”
“Who?” I watched as Kathy’s jaw drop with shock and misapprehension. After a dramatic pause, I went on to say, “Just kidding. Of course, I am not going to make them read Foucault —the textbook will do. It’s pretty easy to explain how the painting functions as a system of mirrors that critiques the mechanisms of representation and power by merely examining the organization of its pictorial elements. Besides, we have to remember that most of the students are freshmen and need to get familiar with the painting before they can hope to tackle The Order of Things.
Kathy looked up at me in perplexed silence, so I gave her further instruction. “What I need you to do is make appointments with the students to go over the term paper assignment, and to caution them about my highly developed skills at ferreting out all forms of Internet plagiarism. It might be best to meet with them in groups of five or six and record who showed up and who participated. That record might come in handy later in the semester.”
Kathy seemed relieved as if to agree that my answer was sensible. Reaching inside her tote bag, she produced a black notebook containing a calendar. “How much time do I have?”
“I think that you should get everybody focused well before spring break. Then, they can decide about getting the assignment done early, or ruining their week off.”
While making an entry in her notebook, she agreed. “That would work for me too—my final review is April 20. And I would like as much time as I can have to prepare for that.”
Just as I was about to tell her that it would be okay if she needed to skip some of the art history lectures to finish up her review presentation, rather abruptly, the paper covering the gallery windows came down, revealing a brightly lit interior that looked like a monumentally scaled aquarium containing surreal specimens extracted from the ocean depths, or from the covers of 1950s pulp science fiction books. Standing on the room’s expanse of grey carpet were Rhoda, Toby, Pepo and Photobitch, as well as a dozen other people dressed in casual business attire. I assumed that they were the other artists in the show, or more likely, our mystery curator with her posse of assistants mixed with some early arriving trustees thrown in for good measure.
I checked my cell phone and noted that it was 5:25. Then, I turned my eye to the street, toward the outer door of the lobby to see Vic entering with a brisk stride, followed by Ayalet, Tammy and Greta. Out on the street, I could see Tony, Mule and Ben chatting with some other people who were hastily finishing cigarettes before entering the building. Some were also dressed in business suits, leading me to guess that they might also have been members of our Board of Trustees or some other money people that Theda had rounded up for a sales pitch.
I turned back toward Kathy and asked if she wanted a plastic cup filled with cheap wine, freshly poured by uncomfortable looking men wearing pink bow ties.
“I can’t, doctor’s orders—messes with my medication.”
At that moment, I grew momentarily curious about whatever it was that caused Kathy to need medication, but I decided not to press the question. Instead, I turned toward Vic and asked if he was ready for a drink. He was. Kathy turned away and placed a few snack items on a small paper plate.
Vic looked over at Kathy as if to ask if he was interrupting anything, and when she shook her head, he then turned back to me to ask, “Did you meet the new curator yet?”
“No, I’ve been standing outside talking with Kathy about her TA duties. The gallery has been buttoned-up tight, up to about 30 seconds ago, when they pulled down the window paper.”
At that precise moment, the gallery doors flew open. Standing at the threshold were Toby and Rhoda, who were both attired in dark, smartly cut pantsuits. Playing the officious host, Toby made a proclamation: “Right this way everybody—sorry, but we can’t have food or drinks inside the gallery.”
While Vic finished his wine, and while Kathy picked at crackers and crudités, I decided to walk on ahead into the gallery to pretend some interest in the art contained therein. That proved to be rather tricky. Next to the wall, opposite the door, four video monitors sat on tall plywood boxes — one painted red, another yellow, the others white and blue. They displayed a looped scene of the same young woman bouncing on a small trampoline, the only differences being the primary colors of her scanty attire and matching backgrounds — hues that also matched the color of the boxes on which the monitors sat. Nearby was a simple metal chair set on a low wooden platform next to a white wall, with a large chrome thumbtack set upon its seat. A plaque on the wall informed that the piece was titled Fall of Byzantium, executed by one Balso Packard in 2001; in other words, about 15 minutes before the show opened. I rolled my eyes for a long second, then looked back toward the multi-colored video monitors, where a slightly built woman in a vintage cocktail dress was standing. Because of her unkempt straw-colored hair, I immediately recognized her as the bouncing figure featured in the quartet of videos, so I walked over to make some conversation.
As I approached, I noticed a tattoo on her shoulder, which was an uppercase M contained in a circle, the famous logo of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As I approached, she turned toward me, making it easy for me to ask, “Are you one of the artists?”
“Yes, this is my piece. Its called Chroma Bounce.” Looking down at her name tag, she said: “I’m Rachel Meggido.” She had glassy grey-blue eyes that blinked at alarmingly rare intervals.
“I’m Jason Fowler—I teach art history here at the school. Are you a fan of the Metropolitan Museum?”
Rachel looked puzzled, so I pointed at her tattoo. She said, “Oh, the M stands for Meggido. I would never wear the logo of any museum. What museum did you say…?”
“The Metropolitan Museum in New York. Your tattoo looks just like their logo. I was thinking that maybe museums had started branding artists as a part of some kind of viral marketing ploy, but I guess I am mistaken.”
“I live in LA, and I have never been to New York. I go to Las Vegas a lot, but this is only my second trip to San Francisco. I guess I should get out more, but my kids and my job keep me busy. But I really like San Francisco!”
I was stunned by the thought of any artist never having heard of the Metropolitan Museum, but, rather than pressing that point, I chose the change-of-subject option. “What do you do for…your day job?”
“Oh, I work in the film industry, like everyone else in LA. I met Anita at a baby shower, and she found out that I was an artist, so she came over to my studio and put me in her show, just like that. And now, here I am!”
“Here you are indeed. Is your piece an homage to Joseph Albers, or maybe Barnett Newman?”
“They were painters whose work focused on color relationships.”
“Are they dead?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Well, I got my idea from working with blue and green screens—I thought, why not red and yellow screens, too? Actually, these started as experiments for video shoots. It was Anita who encouraged me to put them in an art show. She also suggested the title—which I liked.”
Suddenly, I spied trouble. Near the door, with eyes intently focused on me, stood the woman whose name I never bothered to remember, because it sufficed for me to always think of her as The Barnacle. I moved around to the other side of Rachel and said, “See that woman behind me standing by the door wearing a green sweater? I am trying to avoid her—let me know if she starts moving in this direction.”
“Is that your wife?”
“Ugh, no! I don’t even know her name. I call her The Barnacle. When she sees me at art openings, she always walks up and tries to psychically attach herself to me so that I might do something for her so-called career. She does this to almost everybody, and for that she is routinely shunned. I think that she must be some kind of nut job or masochist.”
“Well, get ready, because she’s walking over here right now. Three … two … one.”
I felt a sharp tug on the back of my sport coat. I turned around quickly to hear the Barnacle speak. “I hope that I’m not interrupting… I was just wondering if I could get you to come over to my studio to see what I am working on.” Turning toward Rachel, La Barnacle said, “Hi, my name is Janet Bogash. I’m a painter.”
She and Rachel clasped hands, but an awkward pause made it seemed that Rachel was waiting for me to introduce her to La Barnacle.
“Oh, this is Rachel Meggido.” I gestured toward Chroma Bounce, adding, “This is Rachel’s work.” I felt like I was doing an infomercial.
That particular piece of information seemed important to La Barnacle, as could be surmised by her quick question: “How did you get into the show?” There was an insulting tone in her voice that implied two things. The first was obvious disapproval of Chroma Bounce, and the second was redolent of a rather shameless fishing expedition seeking actionable social connections that could be exploited to her advantage.
Before Rachel could answer, I said, “excuse me, I have to go and talk to Vic before he leaves.” Turning to Rachel, I said, “nice to meet you.” I ignored The Barnacle.
As I stepped away, the Barnacle again tugged hard at my sport coat, insistently hissing, “when are you coming over to my studio?”
Harsh words were required, so I snapped them out loud, clear and dripping with malice. “Don’t hump my art leg!” These helped me break free of her grasp and seemed to scratch some deep masochistic itch on the part of the person to whom they were directed, and even if they didn’t, I was beyond caring. I noticed that the gallery was filling up fast. I also noticed that a group of faculty, including Vic, Pepo and Photobitch, were gathered around Theda, who was wearing a coffee cream-colored version of her Buck Rogers flight-attendant-of-the-future outfit. Nearby, Kathy was writing something in her notebook, while Tammy, Greta and Ayalet were standing near one another in tight caucus. I drifted toward Theda, momentarily pretending interest in a group of large, garishly colored photographs. These featured poodles with rainbow-colored fur
standing up on their hind legs, balancing small reproductions of paintings by Mondrian, Kandinsky, Pollock and Rothko on the tips of their respective poodle noses.
As I slipped up behind Vic, I noticed that Pepo was holding forth while Theda and several of the others stood around him in a semi-circle. He was wearing one of his white t-shirts, emblazoned with the words Truth ? Fact. A few feet behind him were a formation of five freestanding plywood figures wearing similar garments that sported phrases like Quant Theory= Death, Para ? Meta, and of course, Bread > Circus. The typography was all black Helvetica italic. The craftsmanship of the plywood cuts was barely passable.
Pepo had positioned himself at the center of Theda’s attention, which seemed both rapt and undivided. When Vic had noticed that I had surreptitiously joined the group, he said, “Pepo was just giving us the good news about his novel getting published.”
Adopting a tone of mock panic, Pepo chimed in as if he was picking up a theatrical cue. “But the news is not all that good! Westerna Press assigned me this editor who seems like she is fresh out of an undergraduate comp-lit program…I doubt if she is even 25 years old. She covered my last draft with all kinds of stupid comments, like ‘your characters seem so two-dimensional,’ or ‘try to show your readers rather telling them what is going on,’ as if everything that I write needs to be produced with a built-in screen adaptation lurking behind every paragraph. The worst was where she wrote, ‘why are all of your female characters so unsympathetic?’ as if my male characters were all somehow taken from the Golden Legend! And who made sympathetic female characters a requirement, anyway? After all, they are only puppets in a prose play, little more than mouthpieces for philosophical positions. She is utterly blind to the fact that I am going for an allegorical effect—like Kafka in some ways, and that my book is set up as a kind of parable, also like Kafka—I doubt that she even knows what a parable is.” Pepo paused to catch his breath and, in a more subdued tone-of-voice, said, “the worst part is her assumption that the characters need complex interior lives; I don’t know why—I guess because she likes 19th-century novels. I mean, really, this is the age of the network. Everything that we do is always in concert with complex, multi-party systems and bifurcated operators. Meaning, no one has any time for anything resembling a complex inner life, and that everybody is doomed to be a kind of caricature of who they think they are—or who they wish they might be. We see it everywhere—discrete identities giving way to relational identities, and that is the real story of our time. I am trying to make this part of the book’s point, but I want it to be subtle. If everyone doesn’t get it, that’s fine! The most important thing is that I am trying to advance the form of the novel by moving it into new territory.”
Vic couldn’t let Pepo get away with being that pretentious, so he offered his own recommendation. “I think that you should write it up so that the estrogen network would want to make a made-for-TV movie out of it. I can see it now — she stood at the foot of the stairs holding the basket of clean laundry, and its fresh scent took her back to the sweet moments of the previous year, before the accident that changed everything.'”
I wanted to laugh at Vic’s snide cleverness but remained silent because I didn’t want to offend Pepo, Theda or anyone else. Pepo seemed not to want Vic to get the upper hand, so he tried to go him one better. He changed his stance while his face started to twitch. He thrust one leg far forward while placing his fists next to his collarbones. He started flapping his elbows like a bird while violently jutting his chin back and forth, all the while lumbering around in a tight circle. In a tone dripping with sarcasm, he started to chant, “Bwak bwak, you characters are two-dimensional; bwak bwak, your female characters are unsympathetic, bwak bwak; show your readers, don’t tell them, bwak bwak! bwak bwak bwak.”
The spectacle that Pepo was making of himself was quickly getting pathetic. Still, I noticed that Theda had a broad, approving smile on her face, making her look like a dotting auntie beaming over a toddler’s recitation of I’m a little teapot. At an opportune moment, I asked an innocent-sounding question that had less to do with getting an answer than about restoring some dignity to the embarrassing moment. “What’s your novel about? Does it have a title?”
Pepo suddenly snapped out of his chicken-dance trance. Composing himself, he matter-of-factly answered, “It’s called the Love Song of Hegemony Brisket. It’s about a serial killer who hunts and kills clowns. Porn clowns to be exact.”
Fortunately for Pepo, Toby chose the ensuring moment of awkwardness to walk up to Theda to audibly whispered in her ear, “we have a pretty good crowd, and most of the Board is here…it might be Come to Jesus time.”
Theda gave a pious nod. Not bothering to excuse herself, she lurched toward the middle of the room, with Toby, Rhoda and a few others following along in what might be thought of as a procession. Toby produced an empty wine glass and a small spoon, taping them together to gain the crowd’s attention. After the room settled down to a quiet hush, Theda spoke: “Thank you all for coming out tonight, especially in such discouraging weather. My name is Theda Vohn der Pahter, and I am the new president of the Northern California School of Art and Design. We all know that tonight is a very special night because we are opening the inaugural exhibition at the new Rectal McBrown Gallery, which is home and headquarters to our new and exciting program of Exhibitions and Public Lectures. I hope that you are all enjoying our inaugural exhibition titled Propositions in Space, featuring six artists whose work reflects upon or otherwise interrogates the realm of the social. What I would like to do now is introduce the curator of the exhibition, who as our good fortune would also have it, has just been named our new Director of Exhibitions and Public Lectures! Please join me in welcoming Anita Boby!
Toby and Photobitch led the ensuing round of polite applause, which subsided as a short woman with vertically teased black hair walked to the center of the group. She was a bit heavyset, covered by a shapeless geometrically cut frock made of vertically striped black-and-white fabric, making her look like an ambulatory bar code. Looking around at the crowd of about 100 people, she spoke with a loud, sour-pitched voice that resembled a screech owl undergoing torture by a dental drill. “Thank you all for coming out. I am delighted to be named as the new Director of Exhibitions and Public Lectures, and I look forward to getting to know all of you in the coming months. I would be happy to answer any questions about the exhibition.”
A long, silent pause ensued during which the attendees looked at each other to express silent gratitude that the horrible screech had subsided so quickly. Then, without introducing herself, Ayalet stepped forward with a determined gusto and spoke in a deeper, slightly more gravel-saturated version of the tortured screech owl voice. “I teach in the Painting Department and, I guess you may not know this, but it is the largest department in the school, both undergraduate and graduate. As I look at this show, I don’t see any painters. I want to know if you are going to show painting because it would be unfair to students if all you showed was…this kind of thing.” She paused and said, “sure, it’s great, but it’s not serving the students. I think that we need some paintings in here so that the students will have role models that they can relate to.” The room fell silent, and the seductive smell of confrontation started to fill the air.
Anita waited patiently before speaking. “Well, I am sure that you know that the world of contemporary art is a large and complex place. But what I want you to know is that my task here is not really to serve the students in relation to their studies, at least not directly. I am here to present the most challenging contemporary art that I can find. If I am successful, the exhibitions program will truly serve the students by showing them what the most challenging contemporary art looks like, first hand. Of course, I welcome everyone’s feedback, so if you know some painters who seriously engage in making challenging contemporary art, then, by all means, put me in touch with them. Just two weeks ago, I was in Belgium, and I saw some great work there…”
Suddenly Theda spoke up. “It seems to me that we need to have this kind of policy conversation at a less festive occasion. Perhaps…”
At that point, Ayalet became agitated. In a quaking falsetto, she rudely interrupted Theda. “Do you know who I am? Please! I was just asking a simple question. I have worked here for over 20 years. All I want is a simple answer. Is that too much to ask?”
While Ayalet was speaking, Ben, Mule and another member of the Painting Department named Grant Hogarth walked up behind her, looked at each other, and then, on cue, started to bark. “Boo roo roo roo roo roo! Boo roo roo roo roo!” The room exploded into a collective fit of loud and scurrilous laughter.
Tammy walked over to comfort Ayalet, taking her arm to guide her away from the mocking crowd. She looked back and shot dagger glances of reproach at the trio of mischief-making brown-snouts, who were catching their breath after their moment of adolescent hilarity. I myself thought that Ayalet’s little diatribe was a remarkable exercise in poor timing matched by even poorer taste. Still, she did have a point. Propositions in Space seemed to represent only the art of pissing-on-the-corpse-of-art, and however “challenging” or “edgy” it might appear, it represented the worst possible set of options for students trying to find their way into the world of professional self-expression. But then, so did the output of the school’s faculty, so there was no use making a scene about this particular exhibition.
I noticed that Kathy was standing by herself, so I started to step in her direction, only to be diverted by Vic, who was standing next to Theda, Hoagie (that being our preferred nickname for Grant) and Photobitch. Two other men were standing next to them. As I walked up, Theda said, “Jason Fowler, this is our board chair Dave Cutler,” pointing to the older and taller of the two men. He was bald, and his skin had a waxen grayish cast. Eyeglass frames cast from an ornate plastic composed of several swirling colors complimented his loose-fitting Italian-cut business suit with a dark gray necktie. He reached out to shake my hand. “Hi, nice to meet you. I have heard good things about you. You will get an official letter from my secretary in a few days, but since you are here, I thought that I would introduce myself and welcome you to the Board.”
Theda clapped her hands together while breathlessly gasping “congratulations!”
I was momentarily at a loss for words, but I did manage to thank Dave for the information. I turned to Hoagie: “So, you are now on sabbatical? I just finished mine.”
In a suave, northwest London accent, Hoagie replied, “that’s right—hope that all of you can make do without me. How was it—your sabbatical, I mean?”
“It was good.” How could it have been anything other than that?
Dave jumped back into the conversation to say, “I want you to meet one of the artists in the show.”
Dave turned to the clean-cut man standing next to him. He was about 25 years old and clad in a loose-fitting suit of expensive-looking Italian cut, its fabric an iridescent light blue. He was one of four African-Americans in the room and the only one who was not a student. His outstretched hand came toward me while he said, “Balso Packard.”
I responded with slow incredulity. “Sure you are.” My greeting sounded more sarcastic than I intended, but the handshake of reluctant cordiality was nonetheless consummated. Then his other hand came forward, holding an exhibition announcement featuring a picture of a nylon camping tent set up in the middle of an art gallery. When I saw that the title of the image was Twilight of the Idols, I bit my lip.
“I am having an opening at Camilla Ruthvern next week. I hope you can come. The show is about nomadism.”
Prolonged silence was relieved when Theda chimed in. “Jason, I hope you are planning to come to our annual Board retreat in March; it’s going to be at the Henry Irving Hotel. We’ll be laying the groundwork for next October’s accreditation visit, and your input will be valuable.”
I remembered that the Henry Irving Hotel had been featured in a disturbing 1970s movie about conspiracy, murder and surveillance. “What part of March will it be?”
“Saturday the 15th, all day long. There’s going to be a dinner and dance the same night, so please come to that as well.”
With Dave Cutler standing there, I decided to turn the volume of my pretend enthusiasm. “Sounds like great fun!” Then I turned to Balso. “I will certainly come to see your show.” This made Cutler smile in a way that clued me into the nature of their relationship. Undoubtedly, a laudatory notice directed at the work of his young protégé would be the harbinger of short-term benefits pointed in my direction. Then I turned toward Vic to ask, “are you going to the retreat?”
For a split second, Vic made a face suggesting that his mouth had suddenly filled with hot vinegar. Then regaining composure, he came forward and said, “Why sure! Wouldn’t miss it.” His sarcastic tone gave me the feeling that he was going to do everything that he could to miss it, even if it meant bribing a doctor to attest to dire illness.
I looked back into the gallery to survey the crowd. The Barnacle was still attached to an uncomfortable-looking Rachel. Kathy was heading out the door with some of the other students who were all clutching skateboards, while Pepo was doing whatever it was that Pepo did when curious onlookers were present. Theda turned to Dave and said, “let’s find Anita and go get some dinner.” Dave nodded as they both walked away, but after a few steps, Theda turned around to say, “Good luck at the UAA conference!” Meanwhile, Hoagie spied Ben and Mule standing near the poodle photos, so he wandered over to their part of the gallery.
Vic said, “you know that blond woman over there with the tattoo, the one that you were talking to? I’m pretty sure that she is, or at least was, a porn star, and not one who only did the classy stuff, if you know what I mean. I think that her nome de felch is, or was Amanda Dagger.”
“She told me that her name was Rachel Meggido. But you are the expert on these matters. She did say that she was from LA and that she worked in the film and television industry. You won’t believe this, but she has never heard of the Metropolitan Museum! I’m not kidding!”
Vic was not the least bit surprised by my revelation. Confident that we’d resolved the issue of Meggido v. Dagger, he changed the subject. “Broken Frame? It’s only ten after six. Let’s leave Pepo to his adoring fans.”
# # #
Illustrations: Mark Van Proyen