So next week, I’m attending an assemblage art workshop taught by Michael DeMeng, one of the coolest assemblage artists working today, a guy who does really weird rusty grimy sculptural stuff, all of which is generally devoid of cupids, babies wearing crowns, grumpy small girls with pasted on angel wings, and the word “dream” and “imagine” applied at random intervals.

(This is why we’re going to New Orleans—days not in-workshop are full of tours, including the classic Voodoo Museum, Haunted House, and Cemetery Tours. Yes, it’s touristy. No, I’m not bothered by that. I AM a tourist, no point in pretending otherwise…)

The workshop revolves around putting together an assemblage “apothecary kit” so we’re all bringing art supplies and various bottles, and a box to alter. (Or maybe altar.) I found a nifty little box for $2 at the flea market, one of those tacky wooden decorative boxes you generally find in the back aisles of TJ Maxx. (Given what’s going to happen to it, I’m not laying out large sums.)

It is covered in truly horrific art of cardinals.

Now, all of this will be altered, of course, but since I knew the cardinals were getting covered up, and I didn’t want to waste two hours of a workshop waiting for matte medium to dry, I went ahead and covered the majority of the offending cardinals with my go-to surface—torn paperback pages from one of the worst horror novels I have ever started and not bothered to finish.  (“Prey” by an author who shall remain nameless because nobody deserves to google themselves and then discover that their book was so bad somebody views it as only suitable for a painting surface.) I have a certain horror of defacing books, as so many of us do, so I had to find a really BAD book to shred for art, and this was that book. I have used it many times, and it’s about half the length it was to begin with.

So I was happily yanking out pages and slathering them down, when my eye happened to land on a page that had just been sealed to the box and the phrase the moist beckoning lips of her vulva assailed my eyeballs, and I realized that I had just decoupaged the graphic and mediocre sex scene from somewhere around chapter six onto my box.

Ah…hmm.

I turned the box a few times, learned a bit more about the narrator’s genitals, caught a fragment of a discussion of birth-control, saw the heroine’s tongue compared to a porpoise, (I know nothing gets me in the mood like having my body parts compared to small whales!) and set the box down to go make a cup of tea and settle my nerves.

Um. Well, then.

This surface exists only as a painting ground, and surely it will all be covered over by…err…faux grime and grunk and so forth. And only I—and now you, O Best Beloved!—will know the secret of the apothecary’s kit.

As long as nobody at the workshop looks too closely.

  • reply Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey ,

    “the secret of the apothecary’s kit”

    Isn’t that one of the adventures that John H. Watson, M.D. teased us with, along with the giant rat of Sumatra and the notorious canary trainer?

    • reply Korbl ,

      Clearly the box wished to be covered in something amusingly embarrassing.

      • reply Chris/zeldaar ,

        It’s okay…sorta. Crichton passed away a couple of years ago, so he’ll never know.

        I’ve got that one on my bookshelf. meant to read it but never got around to it.

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