Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

McDonalds Glenview on Waukegan Road

The painting closest to the front of the store features an impossibly thin girl holding her heart to the sky in worship. Is she a nun in the making who is offering her heart to God? Or is she a goddess extending the heart of God up for mass adulation? Blue dominates a ruddy red hue in this vision.

In the other picture, ruddy red dominates a minor blue chord. The image appears to be two people shaping the center of focus. Or are these two saplings bent in the wind?

A dark blue-gray woven pattern on paper imitates a fine cloth pasted to the wall perpendicular to the creamy brick.

The man in the corner booth where the two walls meet sits below a third water color. The blue and ruddy red both are strong, but a blue border – light blue on three sides and deep blue along the bottom – dominates. A tall female form in ruddy red dances despite her single leg. She balances on a board upon two wheels or barrels.

The man wears a gray-blue sweater that matches the wall so that with a squint, he disappears from the neck down, except for two floating hands holding the Sun-Times.

Above the neck, he wears a scraggly gray beard like a man retired young or unemployed. A mustache matches the beard both in scraggles and color.

His face is long, thin and bony with a straight, patrician nose. His wire frame glasses are the size and shape of military issue from the long ago Nam-era.

Bushy eyebrows hide behind the glasses as do the color of his eyes. His ears stand in close bass relief against the side of his head. His hair is full on top and trimmed business-like on the side above the ear.

The paper holds his interest for a time.

He shakes the paper to set the pages straight, tosses his coffee cup, and dons his navy blue jacket as he leaves the booth and the paintings behind. He places his hand carefully into the jacket to take comfort in the feel of his loaded Glock 31. The man doesn’t have far to travel or long to wait.