I’m sitting in one of the big yellow armchairs on the impossibly green lawn at the Cooper-Hewitt reading the Tao te Ching. Okay, it was actually a Sujata Massey mystery, but whatever. The point I’m trying to make is that I was sitting in this strangely enormous plastic easy chair in this oddly intimate public space, when a small boy-maybe about eight years old, but he’s Asian and I’m from Pennsylvania, and for all I know he was twelve-anyway, this boy walks up to me from I don’t know where and hands me a fish.

It’s a nice-looking one, maybe about 8 pounds. He’s carrying it in both hands, holding it out in front of him like a heavy coat draped over his arms. He walks right up to me and makes solemn eye contact, then places the fish carefully in my lap, as my mouth flaps open in speechlessness. Then he quickly backs up and then turns on his heel and walks toward the gated exit to the courtyard. The traffic hurtling south on Fifth Avenue seems far away, and I can distinctly hear birds calling to each other in the carefully groomed, one might almost say sparkling, trees.

I lurch to a standing position, struggling out of the Brobdingnagian chair. The fish slides from my lap onto the grass where green clippings jump like iron filings onto the scales, magnetic with slime.

“Hey!” I shout, and the boy turns his head almost placidly, without breaking his stride. When he sees the fish on the ground, though, his expression turns angry-no, fearful-and suddenly I think this boy is not 8 years old at all. He is old enough to understand and fear the consequences of things he can control, and also systems and events far beyond his influence. God, this boy may be older than my father.

The boy breaks into a run, his legs sinewy and too thin for the childish white tennis shorts he’s wearing.

“Come back here! Somebody stop that boy!” I begin screaming as the boy bursts through the fancy wrought-iron gate and onto the sidewalk. He darts across Fifth Avenue, causing a cab to rear-end a BMW sedan, and disappears over the wall into Central Park. The guard sticks his head out of the little guard house and gawks. Then he sticks his head back into his little kingdom and vanishes.

The crowd on the Cooper-Hewitt lawn is staring at me with undisguised curiosity for about 5 seconds. Then they go back to their espressos and their newspapers, and I am left completely alone with a faint stain on the lap of my cotton sundress. And this fish.



Joined December 2007

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 1

Artist's Description

A strange gift. Or is it a prophecy?


short trout

Artwork Comments

  • deliriousgirl
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10% off

for joining the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.