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Beautiful Blood

Bruce, a laid off machine operator, artist
living off his 401 K and sales of his vivid
surreal paintings (and sleeping on a cot behind the Gallery)
two days before Christmas hosted a salon for artists
w/ Rum and Coke.
The stranger with a firm handshake named Frank
contemplating one of Bruce’s works to maybe buy, joined in.  
It got louder as things do around a bottle, Frank bitter
railing about custody problems then, because this is America,
flashed a handgun and began firing.
    Bruce danced out of there—one shot put out the lamp
two more ricocheted off walls behind him
    ran to the tattoo parlor across the street
called 911 and the SWAT arrived
tear gas, shouts to surrender then BANG
and quiet.

    A few days later, in the Gallery
Bruce had a new piece on display
“Have you ever heard of yin and yang,” he said
“Something good comes of something bad and light
always conquers darkness...”
    His new piece had a strange rusty hued background
“I got rid of the cot and used brushes to clean up the mess
    —four canvasses worth—
all I could think of doing
    was creating art.”