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hs48150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 48

Devin was in the kitchen, thumbing through a paperback copy of Gravity’s Rainbow when Rebecca made her way down for breakfast. The kitchen at Yoshi Oba’s Art Motel was enormous and modern. Six nights a week – all except Thursday, salon night — there was a cook. It was the responsibility of each of the artists to sign up by noon for that day’s dinner if they’d be attending. There was always a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option. But for breakfast and lunch the artists were left to fend for themselves, albeit with access to fully stocked cupboards and a refrigerator that was equally packed.

Devin pulled out a chair at the extra-long red Arborite table for Rebecca to sit. He pushed a plate of buttered toast in front of her. “Eat,” he said. “There’s jam, too, if you want it.”

A couple of the artists Rebecca met the previous evening mumbled hellos as she munched on the toast. Some read newspapers, but most flipped through oversized European magazines, the kind printed on heavy glossy paper that were impossible to hold and read comfortably in bed. At the far end of the table, the tiny girl with the short, bleached hair and large ears was engaged in an intense conversation with a stocky man with a goatee and glasses and hooded bangs he repeatedly pushed out of his face.

“They’re not pants, they’re pantaloons,” the girl was saying. She pointed to the billowy white knickers she wore.

“Okay, pantaloons then. They’re still not going to work, Stacey. There’s nothing sympathetic about pantaloons.”

“I know,” the girl said. “That’s the point. That’s the challenge.”

The stocky man crossed his arms. “I just don’t see it.”

“Hey, Dev,” the girl called out down the table. “Whatddaya you think? Pantaloons in the show? Pantaloons not in the show?”

“Definitely in,” Devin said.

“What about you, Rebecca?”

Rebecca looked surprised to hear someone say her name. “I don’t know. I guess it would depend on the show.”

“Ah-ha! It would depend on the show. Exactly. Thank you,” the stocky man said, and raised his coffee mug to Rebecca.

“Jimbeau and Stacey are collaborating on a fashion show for the big Art Motel showcase,” Devin explained. “It’s a multi-disciplinary performance,” Stacey corrected. “I’m doing the clothes, Jimbeau’s shooting it. It’s like this total sensory manipulation of emotion through the staging and the music and the—”

“People are going to cry,” Jimbeau cut in.

“Sounds like it’s going well,” Devin said sarcastically.

Stacey rolled her eyes at Devin. “Don’t you have a ditch to go dig or something?”

Devin brushed breadcrumbs off his hands and stood. He walked over to Stacey and kissed the top of her head. “As a matter of fact I do. Care to join me?”

Stacey shoved him away playfully. “Not a chance. I’m off on a button run.”

Devin shrugged. “Your loss. Rebecca’s coming with me. Right, Rebecca?”

“Mmm-hmm,” Rebecca said, covering her full mouth with her hand.

“That’s nice,” said Stacey, her tone suddenly cold.

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke