Artistry of the Portrait as a Young Man

Posted on March 31, 2011


This little puppy’s 879 words, and is a response to Chuck Wendig’s weekly flash fiction challenge (this one’s called The Portrait) over at terribleminds. I recommend highly that you give his blog a good read, it’s quality stuff. As I’m sure you can tell, my take on this challenge is called “Artistry of the Portrait as a Young Man”, which is a play on James Joyce.

A now, without further ado:


You know, I’ve seen some crazy shit in my time. To be fair, it’s probably not that much different from what you all go through– to be quite honest, when they think nobody’s watching them people are way more fucked than you give them credit for.

But you already knew that, didn’t you? You sick fuck.

It’s not really my place to judge, though – I’m just as culpable as you of depravity and perversity. It’s how I ended up this way in the first place. No regrets, though. Never look back – that’s my motto. Okay, I lied. It’s not a motto. I actually physically can’t look back; I’m sort of fixed in the one direction. Being a portrait’ll do that.

Hold on, can you shine me a bit? There’s a smudge a bit above my eye and it’s terribly uncomfortable.

How did I get this way, you ask? Well, that’s a rather long story for another time entirely – a grimmer tale, filled with intrigue, betrayal, and moral decay; makes for a much better story than that poofter Dorian’s opium smoking and shopping around for pearls, I can tell you that. But it’s not the time for that; I’ve been watching a pair of very attractive girls banging each other into the wall while rolling on E all day, so I’m hanging about in my happy place. The noises these people make during sex! I’m actually pretty sure they’ve covered all the animals’ calls from one of those children’s books on the sound each one makes.

The high-as-a-kite lesbian says: “Oh my god let’s cover our pussies in apple pie and scissor!

Or maybe that’s just a college thing.

So yeah, this is one of my better gigs; I’ve had quite a few by now. I don’t tend to stick around any one place for very long – the novelties of my sepia flesh-whiskers, gaping maw and startlingly snappy suit – I look gooood – wear off pretty quickly, and inevitably I get tossed onto a pile at a garage sale, pawned off on eBay, or let go at an antique shop (which is where I was most recently put up before these two frisky nubiles purchased me on a whim).

One of my longest gigs was at a, uh, ‘vampire’ coven. That one was one of the worst. I say that not because it was boring, as it was certainly entertaining in a rather ‘oh, that’s so sad and pathetic but I can’t stop laughing and I’m crying now help I can’t breath’ way, but because it was uncomfortable, itchy even- I molded a little bit due to the humidity from all the whiny bitch-tears in the air.

I swear, these people taking brooding to a whole new level, and it’s not a particularly good one. And this was before that Twilight hit. When that trash came along, it got exponentially worse very quickly. I think the age of the ‘vamps’ in the coven about halved when that happened, and I got to see way less pale, sickly sex. I’m still not sure if that last part is a good thing or a bad one.

As I recall, I was actually stolen from that disgusting place by a mischievous college frat-boy, who decided to break in on the coven’s off hours (read: noon) and poke around the place. I suppose I must have struck him as a particular novelty that he could take back to his frat house to show his friends. They were so very heartened by his misdemeanoring that they hung me in the living room; I think I had a plaque underneath me, too, but I never got to read what it said. Probably something along the lines of “oh, we stole this, aren’t we so clever and edgy ha ha we’ll regret this when we all drop acid and it scares us so much that we brown the entire bloody floor”.

Mind you, that’s only conjecture. I’m sure you’d have something to say on the subject but this is my story and it’s been so very long since I’ve been able to have a conversation with someone, even one as dim and unfortunate-looking as yourself.

Now, I managed to end up here when I don’t know, the spirit took these two lesbians while to offer an exchange for some of the product they had one them – cocaine, I think – for something in the room. That they chose me tickles me a bit, because there was actually a 19th century wild-west snuff-photo series on the wall across from me that I always fancied.

So they picked me up and carted me back to their sex-and-drug den, and well, here I’ve been.

Now, you’re not the first stranger I’ve seen break into a house, but you are there first one I’ve seen that talks to portraits like myself. I suppose it must be a mental illness thing; would you say that’s about right?

No? Well fuck you. I’m smarter than you – you’re probably just undiagnosed.

Wait – the fuck are you doing with that lighter? I will kill you if you –

Sweet Jesus that burns you son of a bitch I will harvest your motherfucking soul goddamnitfuckfuckfuck


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