Friday, March 04, 2011

Discovering Carrie

by James Jarvis
excerpt from my Offline Journal Of The Damned

    Carrie walked down the narrow steps to the apartment security door, punched the big red magnetic release button with the bottom corner of her art portfolio, took a quick, shallow breath of stale Los Angeles air and stepped out onto the pale pavement. Something would happen today. She was sure of it.

    Gray-graveled stucco walls bracketed the apartment complex. Randomly sprinkled shards of cemented glass crowned the top of the walls. Movie posters, rap band advertisements, disc jockey ads, subculture stencils and all sorts of base commercial art crowded the walls like a Robert Williams surrealist cartoon montage.

    "Too many artists, not enough walls," Carrie said to the empty bus stop bench where she stopped for a moment looking up the busy street for suspicious movement. She looked and no one looked back. No one ever looked back.

    "Too many galleries, not enough showings. Too many shadows, not enough me," she sighed.

    Stepping into the Jim's Chinese Mexican Doughnut and Eggroll Shop on the corner, Carrie ordered today's doughnut-of-the-day and decaf from the ancient Korean woman behind the counter and settled into a shadowy corner table near the condiments tray to read the arts and entertainment section of yesterday's newspaper.

    "This group of work represents his movement toward more boldly narrative painting," she read aloud to the lumpy eggroll painted on the plate glass window.

    "Whether rendering in pencil or ink these intimate portrayals of famous actors, musicians and current pop culture icons or whether celebrating in lavish color the heroes and villains from today's courtroom dramas, Ben Bright has been acclaimed as one of today's evocative figurative artists. His 6 p.m. showing at the Blue Star Gallery February 21st until March 15th promises to be the 'Electric Koolaid Acid Test' of the season."

    " Let me in to your fucking smug little mens club with your fucking smug little bowel movements and I'll show you narrative," she sneered and gasped in immediate shock of recognition as she realized what she had just said out loud. No one looked up from their doughnut-of-the-day. 
Embarrassed, Carrie scooped up her portfolio and stepped quietly out of the shop. She lost her appetite. Today's doughnut-of-the-day looked too much like her bowel movement analogy.

    The 212 arrived on time as usual and Carrie sank into her usual seat behind the usual bus driver.

    "Take me to the galley," she commanded the bus driver in a forced cheerful tone, but he was too busy checking his time schedule to pay attention.

    The usual strangers sat in their usual seats. No one looked at Carrie as she got on the bus just as no one would notice when she got off. No one noticed that she had misspoke "galley" for "gallery" or that she had even spoken at all.

    At the next stop, a middle-aged, middle-eastern woman got on and sat next to Carrie without really looking at who she was sitting next to and without really caring. Carrie stared outside the bus window at the northbound LaBrea traffic.

    "Sometimes movie stars and TV personalities drive up LaBrea." Carrie said to the woman.

    "I saw Keiffer Sutherland driving his girlfriend one time. He was in his convertible."

     "Someday, when I am discovered, people will be looking out of buses to catch a glimpse of me," Carrie said as much to herself as to the mute woman beside her. She got off at the Melrose exit and weaved her way towards The Blue Star. Something would happen today. She could feel it.
She was going to become The Visible Woman today, The Queen of Bingo, only with happier endings than Ralph Ellison envisioned. She didn't know how yet, but she was sure today was the day.

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