SILVER STAYS GOLDEN
a short story by Dan Sinclair
The “coffee shop” is no shop. Tis but a scene. A scene Silver wished she never saw from the fully functional '80s-arcade-game table tops to the bright pink-and-black-striped plaster walls littered with torn pages from '60s Playboy magazines to the mindless full-grown children, who sit suffocating in skinny jean. It equals up to nothing more than a tired joke.
Laughing as obnoxiously loud as she can, Silver thinks to herself: Fucking Los Angeles. God, how I love thee.
Oh, and as for the douche sitting across the table from her, if by “horrible,” he meant “brilliant” and/or “border-line genius,” Silver would have agreed with him wholeheartedly. But since “horrible” actually meant “horrible,” fuck this smug and/or pretentious hipster scum and his ridiculous wire-rimmed glasses because true artists are never appreciated in their time and he should fucking know that.
And just why on earth would someone spend $13 on a cappuccino? Only those wishing to sell their colorless, vapid souls, Silver. Them and only them.
And why the heckiest of heck are her latest prints, aka the last six months of her life, spread out covering the Dig-Dug screen between the artist and the guy with condescending smile if he’s not interested? Well, guess what, Mr. Smirk? Silver’s not interested in you.
She yawns, but he doesn’t get the hint. He continues to go on about his loft in Los Feliz, list the bands he saw before they were famous and to name-drop his semi-celebrity friends ad nauseam.
She rips a loud fart to see if it makes a difference. His verbal diarrhea ceases from spewing for almost a full second before he asks when she’d been to Catalina last.
“Fucking burned it down, man.”
He smirks again. “You’re a walking/talking cliché, aren’t you, doll?”
She farts so loudly this time the lady behind them groans her displeasure and leaves her Pac-Man table for a Centipede by the bathrooms. Silver winks and gives her a thumbs-up. Mr. Smirk just sips cappuccino.
“You are aware you smell like shit, right?”
“You smell like Wal-mart.”
He sips from his oversized mug again. For a second, Silver wonders how it tastes. She never drank any other coffee-related item aside from black coffee in her life. Then she doesn’t care about anything.
Smirk. “You probably shit onstage, too, huh?”
Big smile. “I don’t do performance art.”
Smirkier smirk. “It’s all performance art.”
Bigger fucking smile. “Nope. Actually none of it is.”
He laughs an unnaturally high-pitched laugh. Sounds like a cell phone ringing and his iPhone vibrates right on cue. Without a word he picks up the phone and leaves the table to chit-chat. She just shakes her head as he goes away.
Fucking performance art? Your life is performance art!
You see, Silver paints. Paints with her mind, her body and her soul. You can perform her hairy snatch, Mr. Smirk.
The long-haired weirdo sitting alone at the Q-bert in the back looks out of place, and this somehow soothes Silver. He types away on his laptop and she wonders if he’s a real writer or just completing an online dating profile or some shit. Fuck. Did he smell her fart? Whoops. She certainly hopes not.
Why is she here? And here today of all days that have ever existed? Why would she be here any day of any days?
The answer to her questions sits back down across from her, mentioning something about Justin Timberlake’s assistant being a horrible dancer, but how he’d hit that dirty shit again if he was drunk enough.
She burps. “And you’re, like, some sort of Gene Kelly, I’m sure.”
Mr. Smirk is insulted. “But she’s JT’s assistant. She should know how to dance.” And before Silver can shake her head, he adds, “Who’s Gene Kelly?”
No need for head shakes. She’s just not going to acknowledge another silly sentence that come out of that butthole at the bottom of his lame face.
But said butthole opens again. “So, Silvia, if you really want to be in my gallery…”
Oh, fuck off. “Silver.”
He’s shocked. “What?”
“My name is not Silvia or Silva or Selma. It’s fucking Silver. “
“That’s not a real name.”
“You’re not a real person.”
He laughs at her again. “Artists don’t say anything original these days, do they?”
She laughs back, louder and more obnoxious so that everyone in the so-called shop can hear. “No, we don’t. None of us.”
Thriving on the extra attention and glowing with appreciation, Mr. Smirk waves to the surrounding onlookers. The aspiring actress at the counter with an old Batman T-shirt waves back. He blows her a kiss. He then grimly motions to the guy in the back. “Fucker too busy to turn around and join the party?”
Silver doesn’t answer. She takes her prints from the table and slides them back into her bag. He sips more of his expensive drink.
Then he says, “So, you’re in.”
She stops for a second and looks to him. “In what?”
“My gallery. I got just the spot in the back of the place. By the window.”
Silver stands tall, or as tall as 5’3” can possibly stand, and reaches across the table, slapping the oversized mug from his hands. It shatters into a million pieces on the ground, but spills not a single drop of liquid. It was empty.
Mr. Smirk doesn’t even look alarmed. He starts to clap enthusiastically.
Silver extends her middle finger to him. “The world is my gallery.”
He tries to laugh, but it won’t come out. He starts coughing violently instead, so violently, in fact, it scares some of the others sitting nearby.
Silver turns around and heads for the door. She doesn’t care if he chokes to death. Far better people died much worse deaths and no one even knows it.
Seeing not a soul in the shop on the way out, Silver exits hell and proudly returns to her gallery.