Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shock Value


Red Writing Hood prompt of the week:

An art opening at a lavish downtown gallery. A car crashes through the plate glass window. The driver's door opens, and an eight-year-old girl steps out.

I stare, stunned, as each piece of glass crashes to the floor. It is deafening.

There is a moment, almost a breath, between complete silence and my gasp of surprise and fear. The world slows down, my body slows down, and I observe.

Two women start to rush in concern at the little girl, but they stop as the lights go off, and the gallery is masked in darkness.

A shrill scream cuts through the air. I feel a tension in the crowd that is bound to release imminent chaos.

A spotlight suddenly appears! It is shining right on the little girl, highlighting her dark appearance. I am struggling to understand the scene before me.

My fear begins to shift toward confusion. I look around. The art patrons are doing the same. Then, we all stare at the captivating figure of the girl before us.

A small smile starts to play at her lips, like she just can’t resist it. She is wearing a black tunic, black leggings, black ballet flats, and a smart little black beret sits atop her head.

An unseen announcer cuts through the air, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! I present you the guest you have all been waiting for! The star of our evening! The genius behind our art show tonight, Provocation! She is an artist and a creator, and she will change the way we view art FOREVER! I give you SAMANTHA CELESTE!”

Before anyone can think of whether they should applaud, a waiter appears in the spotlight. Each movement is graceful. Each movement is carefully orchestrated and heavy with purpose. He keeps one hand behind his back and holds a tray out to the girl. Without even looking at him, Samantha lifts the glass of sparkling cider, takes a sip, and then throws the glass down. On the floor, glass shatters against glass.

There seems to be a thousand separate and distinct reactions in the crowd. Some gasp. Some nervously laugh. Whispers are in the air. Some simply stare. Surely, I think, some try to hold back tears, not even understanding why they may cry.

Every event of the evening has been an assault on my own senses. I notice my first cohesive thought since the window crashed around us, “What grand behavior at such a young age.”

This is when the applause begins. And gets louder. And more confident. People begin shouting.

“Bravo!”

“Brilliant! LIVE ART!”

“Genius!”

Lights slowly fade on, jazzy music begins again, waiters circulate.

I grab two glasses of champagne off the nearest tray, chug them down, and head for the exit.

Samantha Celeste walks among her admirers, soaking in every compliment, expecting every single one.

27 comments:

blueviolet said...

You had me captivated from beginning to end. The bravo in this post goes to YOU!

Young Wife said...

Great post!

Christy said...

Hi! Found you through Flog Yo Blog. I love your story. It's great!

cristina said...

I panicked for a second thinking this was due today instead of tomorrow and I'm not anywhere near done with mine.... and then realized you're just an overachiever, haha.. j/k... you did an awesome job and I really like the pacing of the story. you told it so well.

Aging Mommy said...

Oh I loved how you made this so very different! I love how you end this too.

Tenille said...

Love that last line, great post :-)

Lori @ RRSAHM said...

Brilliantly done, that was awesome!

Kristy said...

Thanks so much for the comments! I had fun with this - well it was a challenge a bit, but then I was so pleased with how it turned out. My favorite line is the last one as well. My husband's favorite line is: Surely, I think, some try to hold back tears, not even understanding why they may cry. He laughed out loud at that, which I found interesting. I was trying to convey confusion at that point, but it made him laugh too.

ournextchapters.com said...

Fantastic post! Loved reading this...

The Drama Mama said...

This is fantastic. I love that it was part of a live art exhibit.

Angelia Sims said...

I like how they were unsure of how to react. I think I would have downed some champagne too. Crazy, what a twist.
Great job!

:-)

Ashley said...

Great job! I would leave too! What a bunch of nuts that would stand around and applause!

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

I enjoyed your description of the waiter and the reaction of the crowd. It def gave me the notion of being a spectator to everything that was happening.

Stopping by from the red dress club.

Nancy C said...

Very cool. I also wrote about it as a possible performance piece, although we went in different directions.

Your details help capture the art world scene so nicely.

Mommy Wis(h)dom said...

"I feel a tension in the crowd that is bound to release imminent chaos."

I love this line. Great job!!

Veronica said...

This is amazing! Love your take on the prompt.

Jessica Anne said...

Great job! You definitely captured the confusion that I know I've felt when watching performance art. Loved your take on this.

Stacey @ Entropified said...

Ah!! Well done.

My oldest son at college had a class last semester (it was a theater/art history type class) and one of the subjects was this live art thing. He was not impressed. :)

Kerri said...

Wow! Great job. Love the last line...it captures the characters true personality in such a few words.
I sure am enjoying these writing exercises every week!!

Kristy said...

I love all your comments! Thank you! It's always fun to see people "get" what you were going for.

Cheryl said...

I would totally be chugging that champagne! I think you captured the confusion/emotion of the weirdness very well.

Jessica Nunemaker said...

I liked that line, too -- about some crying and not knowing why. It just struck me as interesting.

Over from SITs. :)

The Empress said...

This very scene happened to me once, in college, and it was just like this.

You captured the bewilderment and unsureness of it all.

Ericka said...

i didn't even think to write the eight-year-old as the artist - very interesting take!

Kristy said...

The Empress - Do tell more! CRAZY!!!

kathryn said...

Wow! This was FABULOUS, sweetie! How did you even dream of this?

This entire post was mesmerizing...beautifully scripted!

Venassa said...

Wow I love it. Can't wait to read more of your writing.