Critique (Flash Fiction)

“Well?” Brian stood in front of the painting with his arms crossed.

Bob stood next to him in silence. He didn’t know what to say.

“Does it move you?” Brian asked. He marched to the canvas. “Can you feel the hate and anger pouring from the surface? Can you see the rage?” He flung his arms in wild movements. His t-shirt was stained with paint, and he wore his skinny jeans. He took a few steps back and knocked over a coffee holding some brushes.

Bob squinted. “Well, I can tell you were pissed off.” He kicked at the cat rubbing against his leg. “I mean, yeah. It looks cool.”

Brian huffed and stared. “Cool? Fucking cool?” He threw his hands up in the air. “Does this look like a car commercial to you?”

Bob smiled. “You could use it for trucks maybe.”

“No!” Brian howled. His voice filled the one car garage. “This isn’t commercialized, marketing bullshit. Look at it! This is emotion in its raw form. This is pain and agony and torment and rage.” He spread his arms in front of the large canvas. “Do you honestly not see that?”

Bob shrugged. “I don’t know, man. It just looks like a bunch of black paint.”

“You’ve got to see beyond the color.”

“There is no color,” Bob said. He lit himself a cigarette. “All you did was smear black everywhere.” He took a long draw and exhaled a blue cloud. Brian shook his head. “And this,” Bob said, stepping forward. He pointed to a section in the upper right. “Did you punch the canvas?”

“It’s called passion,” Brian said.

Bob laughed. “What the fuck, man?”

“I’m an artist, Bob. You know that.” Brian picked up a dirty sheet and tossed it over the canvas. “Is there anything constructive you have to say?”

Bob shrugged and sucked on his cigarette. “Maybe you should try smoking more weed.”

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