Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today marks week 23 of the 52 week writing challenge!
The prompt for 11th June is ‘Art’:
This week, the prompt is related to the #FlashFicHive challenge on Twitter, run by Anjela Curtis: http://anjelacurtis.com/flashfichive/. The challenge was to write a story inspired by a GIF. If you want to join in, details are above and on twitter: https://twitter.com/FlashFicHive
The GIF I chose is:
I aimed for no more than 1000 words. I got 874.
My Attempt: Graffiti isn’t art
The painted eyes never tired, closed, nor slept. At the end of the day, the passersby dwindled, but the harsh words clung to the pastel image. Vandalism, not art. Every day brought new people. They rushed by, shuffled by, hobbled along past the wall where he lay. Their open mouths spat accusations and vile bile.
‘Graffiti isn’t art,’ an older man grumbled as he tugged at the hand of a small child.
The graffitied man’s nose twitched. Another day, another ignorant human.
‘But grandpa…’ the child whined, head tilted towards the wall that he tugged the old man to a stop in front of. ‘It’s pretty. My teacher says art is pretty.’
Oh, a believer. Interesting. The crooked man leaned closer, ears pricked. His shoulder bumped against a ladder propped against the wall.
‘Pretty ugly if you ask me,’ a council worker called from the top of the ladder. ‘S’all coming off at any rate.’
The image on the wall gave the ladder a nudge. It trembled beneath the worker’s feet. Pressure washer in hand, the man had no way to steady the ladder. He crashed to the ground in a heap.
On the wall, thin lips twitched.
‘Ow…’ the worker complained. Thick fingers ran through thin hair, but when he drew them away, they were bloodless.
‘You all right there boy?’ Grandpa asked. He dropped the child’s hand and offered his own to the council worker.
‘Jus’ stunned is all,’ the worker replied as he accepted a hand to his feet. ‘Thanks.’
‘Welcome,’ Grandpa said. He rolled his eyes at the small child, who wandered with slow steps to stare at the graffiti. ‘Harvey, come away from there.’
Harvey shook his head and moved towards the wall, hand outstretched and eyes glassy. The painted man winked. Harvey blinked and glanced back at the others, but grandpa stared at him with the same impatient expression.
‘Awesome,’ Harvey said to himself with a smile. It fell when the council worker turned the pressure washer towards the wall. Hot tears pricked at the corners of his eyes. ‘You can’t get rid of it! You’ll hurt it.’
‘It doesn’t have feelings, kid,’ the council worker said with a laugh as he turned to the boy’s grandpa. ‘Got your hands full with this one.’
‘Don’ I know it?’ Grandpa replied. He hobbled towards the boy, and a weathered hand reached out to ruffle Harvey’s hair.
‘You told me we’re never supposed to kill!’ Harvey protested. He turned wide eyes, which shone like the river struck by early morning sunlight, on his grandpa. ‘It’s the law.’
‘The law only applies to the living, kid,’ Grandpa said with a sigh. ‘You’ve been to court with me, you know how these things work.’
Harvey’s lower lip trembled. ‘But grandpa, it’s not fair!’
‘When you’re a hot shot lawyer, change it,’ Grandpa threw back with a gesture at the graffiti. ‘Until then, law says it ain’t art.’
‘Come on kid, even you have to admit this one’s creepy,’ the council worker said as he gestured to the spray painted man. Top hat. Fanged teeth. Pale skin.
‘The eyes moved!’ Harvey yelled. He sucked in a breath as the eyes twitched on the wall. ‘See, it’s alive!’
He grabbed his grandpa’s hand and pulled him closer to the wall.
‘I don’ see nuffin,’ Grandpa said. ‘Head out the clouds, kid, or you’ll never go far.’
Harvey’s eyes flitted to the wall, where, inch by inch, pastel fingers shifted. ‘But grandpa…’
‘But nothing,’ Grandpa replied as he tugged Harvey away. ‘Time to go home.’
Harvey craned his neck back over his shoulder. Wide eyes watched as the council worker advanced with the pressure washer.
Painted fingers curled into claws. Sharp nails lashed out of the wall. The worker shrieked. Harvey span on heel and pulled away from his grandpa.
The worker clutched his stomach, and his other hand shook as he pointed at the wall. ‘It tried to kill me!’
‘Why did you hurt him?’ Harvey yelled at the wall. He gestured to the council worker, who lay on his side. Very real blood seeped through his clothes and onto his fingers.
‘Self defence,’ the graffiti said with a smirk, voice low and full of gravel. ‘He’ll live.’
Harvey bit his bottom lip and looked between man and art. Grandpa had his back to him, fingers frantic as he dialled 911. The pressure washer lay broken, discarded on the path.
He shrugged. ‘Well, he was trying to kill you. Self defence it is.’
‘You’ll make a good lawyer one day, kid,’ the painted man hissed as he shifted back into place.
Harvey grinned as sirens cut through the air. ‘It’s a promise.’
No worker dared go near his wall again, and so the graffiti remained. Harvey went on to become the best lawyer New York had ever seen, with a soft spot for cases involving graffiti.
Only when Grandpa died, and a painted effigy of him went up on that very wall, did he finally believe his grandson. Now, his pastel eyes stare for eternity, never tired, never closed, out onto the street that he and Harvey walked the day the graffiti fought back.
Thanks for reading! I enjoyed writing this immensely. I was going to kill the council worker, but decided against it. He’s just doing his job after all. Graffiti, art or not? It’s always been a pretty big debate. What do you think?
Next Sunday’s prompt:
The prompt for 18th June is cakes. I’ll be delving into my abysmal baking skills!
If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 18th June, and leave a link in the comments below this post so that I can read it 🙂
If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂