The Pick-Up Artist

How best to describe the night I lost my soul. It’s not like the tales. There are no contracts; there is no scent of sulfur. No doubt. Only euphoria. Only the realization that, for all your life, perhaps you’ve been fighting on the wrong side.

How best to describe my temptation. He is like golden rain, an ox, a beguiling goose. Through soft light I see him and nearly stop dead, mouth agape. We meet in the bar, sit together. I touch him, and still cannot not quite believe he is real.

“Dion,” He says in greeting.

“Uh, Um, I…” I stammer, losing myself in his smile. His teeth, blinding white, his lips pursed with soft fullness. I feel myself tumesce, and struggle to keep in control.

“Joe, right?” He says with a soft laugh. “Roanne said you were a little awkward. Cute, but awkward.” His eyes flash with subtle hunger. “She wasn’t wrong.”

I don’t know what to say to that, my heart is thumping. My mind races with doubt. So I don’t say anything. I sit, and order a drink. A Long Island Tea, tall and strong, my head buzzes with its potency and his dangerous beauty. I still don’t know what to say, but feel I should say… something. So I open my mouth, foolishly, I was so foolish then. Understood so little of his world.

“She told me you were an… artist? Do you paint, or…”

“No,” He flashes that brilliant grin again, “Nothing so facile. My canvass is people and I… am my own brush.”

“What does that mean?” The buzzing in my head grows louder. Is this really just the drink? The bar around us contracts and grows silent, people frozen in their reverie. The world is just us, only we move forward, water rushing through ice floes; wind hustling through a field of quiet flowers.

He doesn’t answer right away. Instead he moves his hand onto mine, bends his head to his ear. “It’s not well put in words. I should show you.”

He doesn’t wait for an answer. That I don’t pull my hand away is answer enough. He pulls me up from the bar, away from the frozen smiles and predatory glances of those around us. They think they know what we go to do, that they understand us through their own sordid lens… but they do not. Then again, neither do I.

His home is close, just a few short blocks that pass in a whirlwind. By the time we get inside, the sparsely furnished interior is beyond my notice. All I see is his eyes, his smile, his callous hand soft around mine. I am a captive, but of my own will, my own curiosity of what comes next. He pours me a drink and we sit down.

“So…” I begin, an ill-fated attempted to regain control. “You’re an artist. Of people.”

The haze around me grows louder, the shadows in the dim light loom and grow and mutter words I cannot quite here. We are alone, and yet… I look on his walls and see the paintings. Abstractions of light and dark. Sketched blotches and hard lines, random curves and violent paint-strokes. Despite the madness, the forms hidden within appear almost human. One canvas remains blank, a painting waiting to be made. A void desperate to be filled.

He answers my question without acknowledging it. “The body is my canvas, the soul my compensation.”

He takes the empty glass from my hand and sets it down. I do not remember finishing it.

“What does that-”

Instead of answering my question. Indeed instead of letting me finish. He kisses me. He… feeds on me. I pass into him and vice versa.

“It means, you are mine. And I am yours. The sculptor belongs to all his works.”

“But what-”

I feel hot, fuzzy. I begin to fade. I can… no longer feel myself

“It means, do not resist. My art is a quick art.”

“What-”

“Watch, feel, and perhaps you will see. It is already beginning.”

He kisses me again, and finally I stop fighting. Soon our clothes are discarded. And flesh touches flesh. We continue to explore each other, though with every touch I feel a change. Our legs entwine together, coil into one and slowly… slowly, I am pulled into him. The ultimate coitus. I float from my self, now no more than wriggling, disappearing flesh, and onto the blank canvas. I am man made abstract. I am his art. I realize that our passion has bound us, forever, and regret enters my soul.

But also? There is joy.