Friday Fast Fiction: One Cold Beer


DSC_1306Roland yawned in the subway and on the sidewalk packed with tourists. He was tired, bored and on his way to cover the opening of sculptor Serge Reno’s latest work. Roland was thinking about his 11 p.m. rendezvous with Melissa, an intern reporter, when he reached the museum. The line was already a block long. Reno was hot.

He relished passing all those who thought he might be cutting in. He held his press pass up like a badge of honor.

Inside he found himself nodding at the signature piece, “One Cold Beer.” A life-sized figure of a barefooted-man in a white t-shirt and red boxers, was bent forward at the waist with an arm extended into an opened refrigerator, empty save for one beer bottle on the top shelf. A ghoulish light from the refrigerator fell on the man’s face, frozen with a crazed look.

Roland shook his head: why is his work so popular? As people filed out of the room, he asked for opinions of the piece. Most said they loved it while a few went further to say the focus was the way the light hit the man’s face, exposing his oversized teeth—making him resemble a wolf. Roland liked that critique, so he made it his own.

Outside the museum he saw a barefooted- man with a white t-shirt and red boxers arguing with the security guard at the front door.

Roland laughed and continued the trip back to the office where he quickly filed his story. An hour later he was at a corner table with Melissa when his cell phone went off.

“I got to take this—it’s the editor. Roland here. Yeah, I saw the exhibit, didn’t you get my story? What?

Melissa watched Roland nod continuously. Finally, he hung up and pressed the palm of his hand against his forehead.

“What’s wrong?”

“Some nut claims he was the model for Reno’s new work, in fact, he claims it was his idea.”

“What’s the big deal?

“TV got the story and I didn’t.”

Roland hesitated—he was going to tell Melissa he’d seen a man who was probably the model outside of the museum, but at the last second, he opted for, “How about another beer?”

“One cold beer,” she replied with a smile.

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