The Artist

He was an Avant-garde artist named Skuzzy Drake.  He was opinionated, poor, and always intoxicated.  He fit all the stereotypes.   He had a string of women, a few friends, and a boyfriend who loved him.   With all his faults, Skuzzy was deeply committed to making art, but his idea of “art” was not traditional or acceptable.  His boyfriend, Mark Pinskey, supported him in every way.   Skuzzy tolerated Mark but never really loved him.   His main interest was his art.   He produced “bladders” of various sizes and shapes: bladder paintings, mobiles, and sculptures.   Skuzzy believed he was bringing something new and alive into existence.   Mark developed a tumor and Skuzzy detailed the insidious growth.  He saw Mark as an art project.  After a year, Mark died and Skuzzy had a show in an established gallery: “Bladders & Tumors.”  The loss of his lover never really affected Skuzzy;  there were always other men and women willing to take Mark’s place now that he was “established.”  Skuzzy’s life was changing.   For a few years everything seemed perfect, then Skuzzy crashed.   There were too many products in his life, too many faceless people. He missed Mark.   It was as if a wrecking ball smashed into his brain.   Skuzzy stopped working, stopped eating — he thought about his loss.  He was being devoured from the inside.   One night he had an amazing vision: he saw Mark.   He began to believe Mark still existed, living in another dimension.  Skuzzy became obsessed with finding his lover.   He worked on creating a new artistic vision: a machine that would take him to Mark.   He realized that all the art he ever created was part of the machine.   He was always interested in bridging the gap between alternate dimensions.  The last step was to create the box that contained everything.  Skuzzy realized he could never build such an enormous box, it would have to be shrunk.   The smaller the box, the more energy it could contain (because matter would be converted to energy).  The idea was crazy, but that didn’t matter to Skuzzy.   He built the box, the final piece of the machine, in his mind.   He memorized each part.  He put images of his art in the box in his head.  He shrunk the box until it was only a dot of light.   Skuzzy put himself in the box — the box would transfer him to the place where Mark still lived.   Skuzzy was lying in a fetal position when the authorities found him. Half his body was twisted inside-out as if he was trying to crawl inside his head.

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