Monday, 19 March 2012

Revenge of the Decorated aRT School: Part Eleven

Reena still hadn’t moved from her apartment. She continues to think. To be stabbed or bloodily beaten would somehow be like a vacation from her life. How neurotic.

Maris thinks she’s hot stuff. At least for now. Maris is so on all the time. She wants that high known as success, she is a hardcore addict and Reena is her stuff. And Reena likes to be her stuff right now. She makes Maris so happy that she could kiss the world. When Maris is happy she is the best party in town, a walking party. She is vulgar, frank, naked, visual. A fully decked out operator, power-perfect. Maris fucks with Reena’s head and makes her do things. Perhaps one day Reena will kill Maris, no holy shit that would be stupid, more likely become her lover and then kill her.

Holy shit, how often does Reena imagine murdering the ones she loves. And them murdering her. Do people do this to Reena in their minds too? Why is it that we all don’t go around with guns, like Mexicans in a Peckinpah film? Imagine that. People just shoot each other differently now. With cameras, for example. A shift of attention is like throwing a bomb. I love you and I hate you are little bombs.

Holy shit, Maris was downstairs. Why is it that Reena jumped into some pants and a t-shirt, splashed some cold water on her face and buzzed her in? Nobody could have been more manic and effective than Maris Parings. Maris was a production machine of today, a think tank in ticking heels. Wielding her yoga-toned arm, reaching in. So it happens: Maris shows up. So this is your place.

Maris eyed Reena. She put her face close to Reena’s and breathed her in like smoke. Reena had no idea what Maris was really up to but something in her was definitely responding. Like a quaterback in the field, she was tuning in to the woman’s urgent, coded play calling, and her zen, invisible to the viewing audience and to the opposing team. Maris was pacing the sidelines with her clipboard face. Reena was out there with her radio helmet.

Maris was leaning against the kitchen wall, staring at some snapshots of a summer vacation Reena had taken with her ex and some other friends last year. Her eyes took in the views of bodies and sand, the sunburned boredom of these moments, trying to decipher something there. Somebody had scribbled all over the photos with a Sharpie x-ing out eyeballs and adding cryptic thought bubbles over the heads. “Cape Cod?” Reena nodded.

Reena put on some coffee. The gasket was worn out and the thing wailed like a wounded animal as it began to percolate. The Hasidic neighbours’ six children were making ceiling-thunder from above with what sounded to Maris like wooden shoes, if not hooves. Maris sniffed her armpits, confessing that she hadn’t bathed in days.

Reena took this as her queue and walked into her small bathroom. She filled the tub with hot water and silky bath bubbles. As the water flowed, Reena light candles all around the bathroom, and put on some quiet music to set a relaxing mood. The darkness also hid the fact that, like the rest of the flat, the bathroom was quite decrepit. 

Reena turned off the water, and walked back into the living room, the ethereal calm washed over Reena, forcing her nerves to ebb away from her body.

She took Maris by the hand and guided her up out of your seat. Maris followed surprisingly obedient, still holding hands, to the bathroom, Reena opened the door for her. The room had become warm and steamy; the candles providing a soft glow, and the water drips gently once against the backdrop of the music.

Reena begins to slowly undress Maris, unbuttoning her shirt from behind, and sliding off her smooth shoulders onto the floor. Reena wanted to kiss the back of her neck, but hesitated. Suppressing her desires, she unzipped Maris’s pants, helping them to the floor as well. Maris stood still for a moment, breathing slowly. Now completely naked, Reena guided her to the warm, bubbly water, and held her hand as if assisting her in.

The heat and silkiness of the bubbles slowly slid over Maris’s body as she lowered herself into the water; Reena let her soak for a while, just relaxing in the stillness. Reena turned and folded a towel on the floor, and knelt next to the tub, and slowly began to massage her neck and shoulders. The bubbles had created a light oil that helped her hands slide softly as she slowly kneaded her muscles. Maris began to moan slightly as the tension left her body; Reena let out a soft sigh and began to kiss her shoulder softly and then whispered in her ear. “Tell me what to do.” Reena then kissed her ear, sucking the lobe very gently. “Join me,” Maris said, not as a question, but a statement. Reena lets her mouth form into a slight smile despite herself; she didn’t want Maris to see exactly what she wanted so instantly. Reena rose slowly and slid her shirt off over her head. Maris watched intently as Reena then slid her pants onto the floor, and then climbed, slightly awkwardly into the bath behind Maris.

They don't say anything. Hands slowly sliding up and down, across wet flesh. Suddenly they begin, tearing at each other, passionate, violent almost. Water begins splashing between them and over the side of the tub. Maris begins clawing hard and desperately against Reena’s back, her voice rising to screams of pleasure. Maris could hold on no longer, and unable to help herself neither could Reena. For a few minutes they lay in the hot water on the edge of consciousness. Then suddenly the magic spell had broken and it was all over. Maris got out of the tub and dried her skin briefly. Pulling her clothes back on she walked out the flat with not so much as another glance to Reena. Who had sat up in the tub slightly, Reena wanted to call Maris back. To scream at her for some sort of acknowledgement, explanation of what was happening. But her voice wouldn’t let her. Instead, as the door clicked shut she sank back into the bath. Water pressed in on her eyes and eyes as she let her head slide under, and for, what seemed like an age, the world had disappeared around her and she let her mind replay the events that had just taken place... 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Revenge of the Decorated aRT School: Part Ten

Kevin pushed through the remaining items in the stack. There, at the bottom was Pulse. The pages of the magazine were not cut in the expected rectangular shape but in a half circle, and the cover was made out of soiled woven plastic that Kevin discerned to be a recycled fragment of a Mexican shopping bag. The inner pages were unusual as well: one article, for example, about the Pop artist James Rosenquist was printed on magnetic paper and accompanied by small magnetic cut-outs of his imagery so that the reader could recompose the artist’s famously incoherent paintings at will. Another piece concerned a recently discovered cache of thousands of photographic negatives shot by the notorious underground artist Jack Smith. Instead of illustrating the article with printed images, the magazine presented one of the actual negatives and admonished the reader to find a darkroom and print their own. Despite its eccentricity, it was clear that a tremendous amount of effort – and money – had gone into the magazine’s design and production. Kevin glanced at the cover: Volume 2, Issue 4. “Why the hell didn’t I know about this before?” he wondered.

It was a point of honor for Kevin that despite his lofty position in the art world he did not read art magazines. He found the standard batch of periodicals – Artforum, Art in America, Art News, and so on – to be a depressing waste of time, filled with poor reproductions and what Kevin liked to refer to as “other peoples ideas.” He preferred to encounter art directly, and spent countless hours at artists’ studios, courting people who had no standing at all in that strange hierarchy of the anointed, so assiduously cultivated – typically by word of mouth – by his colleagues, gallerists, and collectors. While other curators had their noses buried in the latest issue of the flashy London-based Frieze, Kevin was observing the newest trends in Mid-Atlantic performance art at some dive bar in Baltimore or driving across South Dakota to test his hunch that something exciting was brewing amongst the Sioux.

But Pulse was different from other magazines. Kevin had to admit that many of the articles were about artists unfamiliar to him. One particularly fascinating spread concerned a collective called The Lady Garden, which occupied an old warehouse on the Thames River, further down from Kevin in Reading. The photos showed a space in which every available surface was covered with a tangle of detritus: stuffed animals, bicycle parts, giant pom-poms, underwear, windshields, brass instruments, ship’s wheels, flags, plastic ponchos, old computer screens, food packaging, rag-dolls, and so on. The inhabitants of this bizarre interior were themselves costumed, wearing brightly coloured knit sheathes that each ended in pointed hoods. Intrigued, Kevin started to read the article, only to find in place of the usually dry erudition and forced wit of the standard art review, a weirdly emotional apologia written by one of the artist’s mothers.
            “Benjamin was given every opportunity,” she wrote. “We even offered to send him to art school, once we realized that he was creative. He wouldn’t do it. ‘Art school is for losers,’ he told us. ‘Everything I need to know is on H.R Pufnstuf,’ I honestly cried when he said that. And to think he could have been the next Thomas Kincaid!”

Kevin, not one to dither, picked up the phone and dialed the number for the Pulse editorial office listed in the front of the magazine. “Hi,” said Kevin, “I’m calling from the Studio 4 Museum of Art. I was just reading you wonderful magazine and came across an article on The Lady Garden. It looks really great. I was wondering if you could possibly give me their contact info. I’d like to go see them.”
            “Who is this?”
            “Kevin Forrester. I’m the Curator of Contemporary Art.”
            “Oh,” said the man. There was a pause. “My name’s Sam. Sam Morrigan,” Another pause. There’s something you may be able to help me with. Do you know Warhol’s cum paintings?”
            “I know his ‘piss’ paintings. I didn’t know he’d made any with cum.”
            “Yes. I’ve recently acquired one and I need to find out if it’s genuine. I mean genuinely Warhol’s, you know, seed. Would you be able to tell?”
            “I don’t think so.”
            “Of course not. Um, would you like to see it?”
Kevin hesitated. He was not particularly interest in Warhol, despite the general consensus that the renowned Pop icon was one of the most important artists of the twentieth century.
            “If you come over, I’ll give you The Lady Gardens email address,” Morrigan bargained.

Kevin agreed to meet that very afternoon and said goodbye. He was increasingly excited about his new artistic bright new artistic prospect. “This stuff makes everything else I’ve chosen for the Biennial look ordinary,” he thought, scrutinizing The Lady Garden images in the magazine. “Even the Emilys are tame compared to this. Yet, this could be just that final kick in the pants the Biennial needs.”

Kevin heard his computer ping and he saw that his assistant had emailed him again.

            - We need to work on the checklist today. The loan forms have to go out by the end of the week. -
            - Didn’t I send you the revised checklist already? –
            - I’m coming in there and we’re going to go over it line by line until it’s done. –
Kevin looked at the clock on his computer: 11:30. – How about we go for an early lunch instead. My treat. For The Lady Garden. –
-       Okay. But when we come back you better help me! –

Kevin let Donna choose the restaurant, hoping she wouldn’t suggest Tartuffe, where the prix fixe lunch menu would set him back a couple hundred bucks. Tweed had taken him there once, when he’d first arrived at the museum. Throughout their four-course meal, two waiters hovered nearby, swooping in with their special little crumb utensils each time an offending morsel alighted upon the white tablecloth. The only other diners that afternoon had been a pair of ancient ladies whose perfume had the pungent aroma of overripe bananas. Looking around him at the floral wall-paper, the floral upholstery, and the floral carpet, Kevin had felt as if he’d been buried alive in potpourri. There was also a risk that Donna would select Soup ‘n’ Burger, the one and only greasy spoon on the Upper East Side of town Kevin was puzzled by the diner’s popularity: despite the “B” rating they’d received from the health department, the place was always mobbed. “Well?” he asked as they stood on the corner of the street. 

“Panini Vanini,” Donna announced. Kevin was relieved. This little bistro served delicious foccacia sandwiches and housemade lemonade. But the place was known primarily for its remarkable interior. Swathed in exquisite turquoise silk, it resembled the inside of a sultan’s tent. On a previous visit, Donna, in one of her more generous moods, had patiently explained that the décor was intended to suggest the 1930s dress designs of the great Italien couturier Vanina Vanini. “Yeah, the inside of a dress,” Kevin had said. “No wonder I always see Peter Merton here.”

They got there just before the noon crush and were seated without a wait. Kevin ordered his usual sandwich, the “Veronese,” and a lemonade. Donna, shrugged and ordered the same. “May I suggest you try the ‘Toscana,’ Signora?” offered the waiter. He held out the menu and pointed to the suggested item on the menu.

Donna took another look and said, “As a matter of fact, yes. That does look much better. Thanks, I’ll have that.” She gave the man a warm smile, which he returned.
            “I think they like you,” said Kevin when the waiter had gone.
            “No, seriously. Why else would they come onto you like that?”
            “Reccommending a different sandwich. That’s a come on?”
            “Sure it is, in Italy.”
            “I have a partner, you know. You always seem to forget that.”
            “Yeah, in Oregon. That’s a partner?”
            “They come out here a lot.”
            “Then how come we’ve never met?”
            “Why should you have met?” Donna countered, “You think I should bring them to work and keep them under my desk in a little basket?”
            “Well I hope you’ll at least bring them to the Biennial opening. I’m sure it would blow their mind.”
The waiter brought their lemonades in tall glasses with pink straws.

Donna raised her glass. “To the Biennial,” she said. “I actually think it might be okay.” Kevin knew that coming from Donna this was the highest of praise. Kevin touched his glass to hers and took as sip of the perfectly sweet-sour drink. “ I know,” he said. “ I wasn’t sure myself until last night. There was just something about the energy of the crowd – after I showed the Emily’s video anyway. But I don’t think it was just their work that people loved. It was the cumulative effect. That’s what great curating does, makes sense of things that might not make sense on their own.”
            “Getting a little full of ourselves are we?” Donna teased.
            “Maybe,” Kevin admitted. “ But I deserve to feel good about myself. Doing the first Studio 4 Biennial that’s not going to be panned is quite an accomplishment.”
            “You and I know this will be the best Biennial ever. Let’s hope Luella Cross, Barry Rotz and Frank Chickadee think so too.”
            “They will. They will,” assured Kevin as the waiter arrived with their Panini’s.
            “They better, or I’ll have my posse take care of them,” Donna replied, chewing.  
After they had finished their sandwiches and lemonade Kevin glanced down at his watch, “Oh fuck is that the time! I have to do, I’m going to be late to get to Pulse.” Kevin jumped up from the table, throwing some notes onto the table, “I’m sorry Donna I really need to run now, I can’t miss this chance.”
            “No the list! You can’t run from me now. You promised after lunch.” Donna stood up as well, moving to stop Kevin from leaving.
            “ I promise we will do it tomorrow morning. You have my word Donna.”
The weather had changed dramatically since they had been inside the café outside the air was green and gumball-sized raindrops fell like little liquid turds from the roiling sky.  Kevin hurried across Whiteknights Road, darting between cabs, buses, and limousines. There was an electric flash, a bomb-like crack, and the sky let loose a deluge. Misjudging his step, Kevin planted his foot directly in a water-filled gutter. Rather than seek shelter under the awning of the BP garage, he ran across Wokingham Road to the address Sam had given him, a decrepit wooden fronted building, The Three Tuns Kevin shook himself like a wet dog and drew his fingers through his hair before stepping inside. The doorman, an extremely short—one might even say midget-sized—man with a striking magenta-dyed comb-over, led Kevin wordlessly through the foyer, which was decorated with a series of Boucher-esque vignettes. They entered a small, wood-paneled elevator. “Lady Garden,” said Kevin as the doorman, now serving as elevator operator, pulled shut the metal gate. They rose with a quiet rush to the penthouse floor. When the elevator stopped, the doorman-elevator operator gazed down between his shoes and Kevin wondered why he wasn’t opening the door.
“Do you think the 1954 Columbia recording of Callas’ Tosca is her best? Or the 1960 EMI?” the little man asked with deliberation. Kevin wondered if this was some kind of test. He knew the opera, but such subtle parsing was beyond his ken. The doorman-elevator operator interrupted Kevin’s nervous silence, “Because Sam said he can only listen to the 1954 but I just heard the 1960 on WNYC and it sounded pretty good to me.” He opened the metal gate. “Tell him I said so.”
Kevin stepped into a corridor that smelled reassuringly of soap and old books. He turned to ask the doorman-elevator operator which apartment was Pulse’s but the elevator had already gone, its descent measured by a little bronze arrow above the door. He walked up and down the thickly carpeted hallway looking and listening for tell tale signs of the magazine’s office. Finally, he knocked hesitantly at the door marked P-4. “Yes, I’m coming already. Keep your dick in your pants,” responded a thickly accented voice. The door opened and a large dog bounded out, leaping up on Kevin wantonly. “Thumper! Stop that! Keep your dirty paws off him.” A young man stepped out of the apartment and wrestled the dog, a poodle-like breed with a coat of silky white curls, into submission. “Oh, I’m so sorry. He got his dirty paws all over you.” The man said as he met Kevin’s eyes with a broad smile.
“That’s okay,” said Kevin, brushing off his black trousers. When he glanced back, the man was gently petting the panting animal. Their eyes met again and Kevin felt strangely disarmed by his guileless grin.
A door opened at the other end of the corridor
Ari, haven’t you taken Thumper out yet? Christ! Do you want him to shit inside again?” The man who spoke was oddly dressed and his graying hair stood out at angles as if he’d been sleeping.
“I’m going, Sam, I’m going. Keep your dick in your pants.” Ari winked at Kevin conspiratorially. He attached the dog to a leash and rang for the elevator.
“So, you must be the fellow I spoke with this morning,” said the older man as he led Kevin down the corridor. “About the Warhol.”
“Yes, my name’s Kevin. Kevin Forester.”
“Good, come in, before that little elevator troll shows up.” Sam led Kevin into a spacious vestibule and closed the door. “Did you notice the size of his hands?” he asked.
“The doorman?” asked Kevin.
“No, no. Dogboy.”
“Dogboy?” Kevin paused, wondering what Sam was talking about. “Oh, that guy. No, why?” “They are huge,” said Sam, standing up on his tiptoes for effect. Sam appeared to be in his 40s. While not unattractive, his skin was sallow and he had dark circles under his eyes. He wore what looked like a Bavarian hunting outfit, gray wool trimmed with green felt at the collar and cuffs. Kevin followed him into an astonishing room. The walls were covered in silk brocade, alternating stripes of blue and gold overlain with a pattern of over-sized, decaying sunflowers. He scanned the walls: Miro, Dubuffet, Rothko, even a small Picasso set into a frame that seemed, oddly, to have been made entirely of ping-pong balls. There were Bierdermeier tables covered with dozens of outrageously fluted Art Nouveau vases, Louis XVI chairs upholstered in a sumptuous fabric adorned with sinuous marijuana leaves, and an enormous Ionic capital which supported a plexiglass and nylon sculpture that Kevin recognized as an extremely rare late work by the Russian Constructivist Naum Gabo. The robin’s egg blue ceiling was covered with hundreds, if not thousands, of hand-painted red roses.
“I had Dogboy paint those,” said Sam, “I timed him. One minute per rose, no more, no less.”
“Who is this, Marian Anderson?” asked Kevin, indicating a photograph of an elegant black woman. The frame was draped with small white Christmas lights.
“Desdemona Draper, the woman who raised me. My nanny. She passed away this year. It was a terrible loss.” Sam sighed. “Can I get you something? Vodka, gin, marijuana?”
“No, thanks,” said Kevin.
“Well, I hope you don’t mind if I indulge,” returned Sam. He lit a small pipe and inhaled. He held his breath then exhaled a grey-blue cloud. “I never smoked a puff until a couple of weeks ago. That ne’er-do-well Ari turned me on to it. I can’t believe I’ve spent my entire life without getting high. You sure you don’t want any?“ He held out the pipe.
“Okay, a little,” said Kevin, not wanting to appear impolite. He lit the pipe and inhaled shallowly.
“But you came here to see the Warhol didn’t you?” said Sam abruptly. Kevin nodded. Sam opened the dark door of an Elizabethan armoire and took out a small canvas. He handed it to Kevin.
The work, if one could call it that, consisted of a brownish stain dribbled across the surface of an off-white ground.
“There’s so little of it, isn’t there?” observed Kevin.
“Somehow just what one would expect, assuming it’s really his. But that’s what I need to know. I asked Gerard Malanga and he said that it’s probably someone else’s, that Andy never had an orgasm as far as he knew. Maybe Joey Dallesandro?” Kevin wished that he could summon some long-forgotten art history class or hazard a deduction based on connoisseurship and years of close looking. But this one was beyond him.
“Aside from DNA testing, I just don’t think you can be sure. Still, with Warhol authorship, as it were, was always meant to be somewhat in doubt. He left silkscreens lying around the factory for anyone to knock off a print or two. Maybe he did the same with these little canvases.”
“You mean anybody could just jerk off onto them?”
“Well, yes, perhaps.”
“I bought it for a hundred and seventy-five thousand. I don’t think I’ll keep it unless somebody can prove to me that the spluge is Warhol’s. I have no interest otherwise.”
“The bottom line is, you have to love it,” advised Kevin. During their conversation he had noticed an old-fashioned medal pinned to Sam’s jacket. It had an aureole of yellow ribbons and a central blue medallion on which Kevin could discern a finely painted image of an animal covered with strange, multi-colored markings.
“What’s that?” ha asked, pointing to the medal.
In a low voice, Sam replied, “The Knights of Taredd.” He studied Kevin for a hint of recognition. Seeing none, he resumed, “A league of like-minded gentleman, dedicated to a free and independent Cornwall. A noble and, I must say, pointless cause.”
“I rode my bike there once,” offered Kevin.
“I’ve left my entire collection to the Municipal Museum of Launceston. So don’t get any ideas.” Sam took another hit. “Speaking of museums, how are things over there in that concrete mausoleum of yours?” he asked.
Kevin wanted to ask about the Boucher drawing but the pot was making him paranoid. “What does he mean by ‘mausoleum,’” Kevin wondered. “I’ve only been there a year and I’m still figuring it out,” he answered discreetly.
“You can do better than that, Darlin’. I want dirt. When are they going to fire that dreary man, what is it...Twill, Twine?”
“Tweed.” Kevin was not about to let on that only that afternoon the director had indicated his position was becoming tenuous. “He’s not that bad. Not as bad as people think.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth Kevin regretted them. “He’ll think I think people think he’s bad,” Kevin thought.
“Really? Do tell.”
“He’s actually got quite a bit of integrity.”
Sam regarded him skeptically. “What about that tits-and-ass wife of his, a beard if I ever saw one?”
“She’s nice. Kind of a free spirit.”
“Free spirit...” Sam repeated absently. He returned the putative Warhol to the cabinet. “Can you sit for a while?”
“Sure,” replied Kevin, though he was feeling increasingly uncomfortable and wished he could flee.
“And you, Darlin’?” asked Sam after they had settled onto a couch covered with a worn and faded tapestry. “You’re a tad young to be the curator of the Studio 4 Museum, no?”
“I started early,” explained Kevin. As he recounted the story of his success in Sacramento, Kevin began to feel more like himself. In fact the pot was finally paying off, giving him a sweet tinge of euphoria.
“So you did the placemat show? Brilliant!” exclaimed Sam.
“Wow,” said Kevin, “I didn’t think anyone saw that show, let alone someone from New York.”
“Darlin’, you under-estimate yourself. I happen to know for a fact that the decorative arts curator from the Met made a special trip out to Sacramento to see it. I couldn’t go myself—I never fly—but I have the brochure.”
Sam lit the pipe, took a hit and passed it to Kevin. “What are you working on now?” he croaked.
Kevin described the Gullah quilt show, which Sam said sounded, “impudent but delightful.”
“And the Biennial, of course,” Kevin added.
“Of course, that’s right. That’s why you want to get in touch with The Lady Garden. You’re not thinking of including them, are you?”
“Why not? I mean...I have to see the work first, but, in principle, sure.”
“Well, they don’t really make art, do they? It’s more of a lifestyle project, I guess you could call it.”
“The final Biennial checklist is due next week. If I’m going to add any more artists I have to do it right away. I know it’s going to be a great show, but I just need one or two more knockouts.”
“You must be some kind of masochist to take on the Biennial. Everyone will hate it no matter what you do.”
“Then I have total freedom, right?”
Sam furrowed his brow. “Yes, I guess you could see it that way. Like Pulse. I start with the assumption that everyone thinks I’m insane then I set out to prove them right. There’s a lot of power in being reviled.”
They were interrupted by the sound of someone entering the apartment. Suddenly Thumper was upon them. He leapt onto the couch where Kevin was sitting and lapped at his face, exuding a distinct fecal odor.
Ari appeared at the French doors. “Oh, don’t let him do that. He ate shit in the park.”
Kevin pushed the dog off of him. “That’s okay,” he said, not wanting to seem overly fussy. In the light of Sam’s apartment he had a much better view of Ari. He looked to be in his mid-20s. Muscular but lithe in a panther-ish way, he exuded a Mediterranean sexuality, like one of Picasso’s early teenage models. He leaned in the doorway with his hand on his hip, a pose that struck Kevin as self-consciously alluring. Thumper began humping Kevin’s leg.
Kevin checked the time on his cell phone. It was already 7:30 and he wanted to catch Farscape at 8. “I better be going,” he said standing and brushing off his slobber covered pants.
“I’ll walk you out,” said Sam.
Kevin nodded politely at Ari as he passed and was startled to feel the young man’s hand firmly grab his ass and squeeze. He hurried out of the apartment without looking back.
“You like him, don’t you?” asked Sam when they’d made it into the corridor and stood waiting for the elevator.
“Sure. He certainly seemed to like me well enough didn’t he? I’ll just have to wash my face when I get home.”
Sam looked puzzled. “Not the dog, the Dogboy!” he clarified.
“Oh, yes,” conceded Kevin, “An attractive specimen indeed.”
Kevin noticed that the door to the apartment he’d first buzzed was open, as were several others along the corridor.
As if reading his mind, Sam explained, “It’s all mine.”
When the elevator door opened the miniature attendant took one look at Sam and launched into Cavaradossi’s aria “O dolci mani mansuete e pure.”
“I’m going to send you a little gift,” said Sam to Kevin as the elevator door closed.