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hs44150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 44

Rebecca’s room at the Art Motel was small with white walls and white furniture and had the anonymous sterility of a real hotel room – or a hospital. Yoshi explained that all of the guest suites at the Art Motel were part of each artist’s canvas, to paint or decorate or do with what they liked. Yoshi said Rebecca would find the first of her five-hundred dollar weekly stipend in an envelope in the dresser to spend as she wished. “Buy materials for your work, or paint for your suite or spend it all on a fabulous dress!”

The door to Rebecca’s room was ajar. A young man walked by, stopped, and peeked in. Rebecca slid open the top drawer of the dresser and reached for the envelope.

“There’s no Bible in there, if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Rebecca jumped back. The envelope dropped to the floor. The man stepped inside the room and picked it up, then handed it to Rebecca. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just saw your door open.” He held his hand out. “I’m Devin. I live down the hall.”

She shook his hand. “I’m Rebecca.”

“I know. I was really looking forward to meeting you at the salon, but things went late at the site – I’m doing this installation in the park and I’m totally behind. But I wanted to meet you. I’ve seen some photos of your dolls – they’re incredible. Did you bring any?”

“No. Yes. I mean, I brought one for Yoshi.”

Devin looked around the room. On the bed a black carry-on bag lay open. Black sweaters and skirts spilled over the sides. The bottom half of a Russian nesting doll sat atop the pile. Devin pointed. “Going in a new direction?”

Rebecca reached for the doll and worked her hands around it. “No, not really. I’m not sure yet.”

“That would be totally amazing – a doll, within a doll, within a doll. But your dolls.” He paused. “But I completely get it if you don’t want to talk about it. I’m the same way about my art.” He winked at her and she blushed. “Hey. Have you checked out the TV?”

“Not yet.”

Devin grabbed the remote and sat down on the bed. “Come here. You’ve got to see this.”

Rebecca gathered her open suitcase and clothes and moved them to the closet. She placed the half matryoshka doll on the small chest of drawers, then sat on the corner of the bed. Devin zapped the TV on and began flipping through the channels. On one, there was a steady, close-up shot of a woman ranting. On another, there was a kaleidoscope of news images painted in blinding neon colours bouncing to heavy techno music. On another, they found a series of fake commercials designed to evoke emotion for the most banal objects: shoelaces, a coffee grinder, a canister of aerosol hairspray. It was all soft focus and sweeping ballads, children playing, the crinkly smile of a toothless old woman. Devin set the remote down and settled in to watch.

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke