How A Career Can Muddy Up A Painter’s Dream Forest


Ghost Fish Flowing Above Benzene Stream 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 X 20″

A Very Short Story I Wrote Just Now Before My Second Cup of Coffee About My Fall From Grace As A Painter

Finally! I have been contractually released from my indentured servitude. I am no longer working for the big guy in the sky. Holiday perks were actually fewer than any hair shirt day of the week, and I began to dread plain oatmeal. The constant walking was hell on the feet, and the heart attack trumpet sounding off the frequent Armageddon drills was making me schizophrenic. Enough! I couldn’t take it anymore. So I literally got down on my knees and begged Penance Peter the overseer to chisel out my frontal lobe with a rusty fork. As usual, he would have nothing to do with my begging and pleading (I swear he actually got off on it). So I went over his head to the palace on high, ran fearlessly forward into the blinding light, straight up to the throne of gold blazing and called out demanding my release.

“Why should I let you go?” said the thundering sky surround sound.

“I want to be a painter—” I called out.

“You are.”

“…who can sell a pain—”

I woke up standing in a beautiful white gallery with all of my paintings hung on a wall. Each one had a red dot stuck under the title, and many tall, thin, young-looking people dressed in black and jewelry and holding drinks were smiling at me. A silver-haired man approached and shook my hand.

“Hello Ron. I am Larry Beelzebub Gagosian. Welcome to Hell. Do not walk to the door. Do not stop smiling. I have an appointment scheduled later for you with Paul Allen and David Geffen. I want you to talk about nothing but cheese and a dollar that you found on the sidewalk today. Do not sniffle, but stick a finger in your belly button from time to time. You will be a millionaire by midnight.

“Finally! Thank you Mr. Gagosian!”

“There’s one caveat,“ he said.

“And what is that?” I asked.

“Every painting from now until you die must have those colorful clouds spread on in exactly the same fashion.”

“Do they have to be the same color?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

“Same arrangement”

“No. You may turn them upside down, elongate or compress, and of course you are free to choose any size of canvas we stretch here in Hell.”

“It’s a deal!” I cried.

“Okay. Great. Start talking about cheese…”

The End.

Remember, only 3 days left to bid on a heavenly piece.




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