Painted Dream

[WP] Everything can be a prompt if you’re creative enough. (This wasn’t actually a published [WP]. Someone made this statement, and I responded with the story below…to help them prove their point)

…said the valet as he stepped between the reporter and the celebrity. In the midst of their interview, they begin looking back and forth between each other and the valet while internalizing the same question; Where’s security?

The valet pulls a set of keys from the breast pocket of his vest, then spins them on his index finger. The keys change in the spin, becoming a pen as he’s walking away. He raises the pin as if to sign the air but shakes his head.

He spins the pen on the top of his hand and turns his palm up as it changes again, becoming a can of spray paint. Looking at the can, he nods appreciatively, then leans over and swings his arms across his body then back out like an umpire calling a runner safe after sliding across home plate.

After the gesture, the valet now has a spray-can in each hand. Using his thumbs, he pops each lid off in turn, sending them tumbling into the air where one changes into a leaf and the other a feather, both of them getting carried away from him in an unfelt wind.

To start, the valet spays one can towards his face, causing a pair of safety goggles to form over his eyes. He shifts to the other can, spraying in an oscillating manner, and a breathing mask forms over his mouth and nose. Next, he alternates each over his body where his vest and slacks become a gray jumpsuit with rubber booties over his feet.

Safety first, he thinks, spinning the cans only to pop off a different colored top while releasing an additional feather and leaf.

He looks back at the air as he appraises something that only he can see. After playing out the image in his mind, he sets to work. He sprays each can in wild zig zagging patterns, and the paint fans forward in oscillating waves, the individual droplets drifting towards the industrial zone across the canal. The specs of paint look as if they’ll continue to drift away and apart, soon to be just another part of the city’s increasing air pollution concern.

But they don’t.

The flecks of paint begin sticking to the air as if some unseen canvas is standing between the painter and the smog engine. The paint cans twirl rapidly as leaves and feathers continue to peel up and behind the painter. After a time, the various color changes start to depict a landscape where the sky is actually blue. A variety of flowers begin to freckle the lush green meadow that emerges.

He adds various trees, a pond with a fish mid-jump, a sunrise beyond a hill, and a great white elk standing atop the mound with the sun at its back. Lastly, he pants a rope bridge from his gravel parking lot that leads over the canal.

With that done, he gives the painting a nod and turns around to find all of the leaves clustered and suspended in the air while all the feathers had formed birds that were frozen above. He spins the cans again, popping the lids off two different colors of brown. He sprays up into the leaves, moving back and forth as branches form and make connections to all the leaves. The cans trace back to the ground as the trunk takes shape and roots sink into the gravel.

Another spin and he turns the cans back on himself. The safety gear fades away as oversized glasses and a floppy sun hat take their place. A button up shirt, comfortable shorts and slip-on shoes replace the jump suit.

He flings one of the cans over his shoulder, while spinning the other. The birds behind him gain motion and the painted tree starts moving in the same unfelt wind. The other can sprays and forms a hatchet in his hand before he looks back towards his landscape with a smile.

He tosses the remaining can towards the painting and the lush landscape gains motion. The fish falls to splash back into water, the flowers sway with the grass, the tree leaves rustle, and the white elk turns his gaze towards the dreamer.

He reaches up to his hat, making sure the now felt wind doesn’t carry it away as he walks towards the sunrise. He passes into the painted place, crossing the bridge, and stopping long enough to use the hatchet to separate himself from the world he left behind.

The bridge falls away and he tosses the hatchet into the canal as the songbirds fly across to follow him. A moment later, the landscape separates into flecks of paint, moving away from each other while growing smaller. In a matter of seconds, it’s all gone.

The celebrity reaches up to rub at the back of his head before turning back to the reporter. “So are we still talking about cleaning up the city?” asks the celebrity. “Or should we talk about what just happened?”