BREAKFAST OF CHAMPS
“It’s unfair,” Marcel proclaimed over his morning coffee. “What’s unfair?” Smith asked, his spoon of oatmeal halfway to his mouth. “You leave the city with your little toy in your pocket, and I have to drag canvas, an easel, and a box of paint.” Smith pushed back his plate, sensing the start of a serious argument. “You know...” He hesitated, trying to think of an intelligent response. “Before I get all my junk set up, you’ve already taken your photos. And for me that’s only the beginning of several hours of work,” Marcel carried on. “I don’t know...” “Or in the studio. I break my back for days, working out a nice chiaroscuro on the face, and you come, set up two lamps, click and you’re done.” “It’s not that simple...” “Don’t interrupt me. It’s not even one click, it’s click click click click click click, and then something gets chosen later. Even a monkey could do that.” “Are you trying to offend me?” “Then you sit yourself down in the darkroom – or God forbid, by a computer – you put that funny little piece of plastic in the enlarger or printer and bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang – artwork after artwork.” “Excuse me,” Smith tried to defend himself, “but it’s not exactly bang, bang. Every print requires individual dodging and burning and...” “Oh stop,” Marcel interrupted him. “dodging, schmodging. Totally automated work.” “Would you mind explaining what’s gotten into you? And why first thing in the morning, over breakfast?” “And even if you sell your little clicks, then what? You go to the darkroom and make new ones. You don’t lose what you’ve done. Your baby remains with you. And me? I can go to a gallery from time to time and look at my paintings. That is, if no one has bought them, because then I can only just try and remember what they looked like.” “Well, there’s always the museum.” Smith tried to diffuse the situation by making a little joke. “Anyway, you’re acting like a girl.” “Is this funny to you?” “No. I just wish you all the best.” “And you call yourself an artist?! You drudge, you!” Marcel’s face was becoming purple. “Get out! Leave my home!” “But it’s my home too.” “Leave! Get out!” He grabbed a fork from the table and threw it at Smith.