A Painting IRL (Part 2)

Read A Painting IRL (part 1)

The next day started with a ridiculous scream from the Curator. Yes, there was someone named the Curator, strange if you ask me. He didn’t even mention the maker of his name, while always demanding the names of our makers. In any case, the scream woke up all the paintings in my gallery, and the next one, and the next one. Everyone was super confused. “What in the blazes has happened?”, asked the beautiful fairy beside me. She had a hard time keeping her eyes open. Being the newbie, I kept quiet. As if to answer in my stead, the Curator came running out of the door in front of me and collapsed at my heels.

Cambridge St, looking towards the Argyle Cut Julian Ashton, 1901 watercolour and perncil on paper 53.9 x 36.5cm Gift of the New South Wales Government 1902

“Hey!” was all I could muster. The Curator looked up. Could he hear me? His eyes were dripping water. His eyebrows were scrunched up to the extreme top of his forehead. The fairy kept asking, “What is the problem, old man? Why are you bawling your eyes out here?” but there was no reply. I could estimate why but was not able to find the right words. Finally, I blurted out what I remembered: “Idiot!”

Justice and Police Museum, Sydney

Another senior person clad fully in a black dress and top hat came near the Curator and asked, “When did you notice it was gone?” and the reply was “Today morning, I saw the door open, but the guard was nowhere to be found, and I had the sinking feeling something terrible had happened! I checked all the ten galleries, and in this one, the Geobaldar was missing!”

“Not the Geobaldar!” the top hat man was shocked. His voice didn’t reach his eyes though. Something about this new man seemed off like he was waiting to get out of there as soon as he could. But I could also feel he was sincere toward the Curator, making him rooted to the spot.

An hour passed before a third man with a baton came, clad in khaki clothes and a weird mustache. He had a notebook in his hand, in which he was scribbling away while the Curator was describing whatever he had seen since the morning. By then the Top Hat man was gone.

Man in Top Hat c.1900 by Pietro Scoppetta

“When did you arrive at the museum?” the Khaki man had an annoyingly monotonous voice in stark contrast to the Curator, who answered in a shaky high-pitched growl, “Exactly at 8.”

“And describe everything for me. You reach the front porch. Did you see anything suspicious?”

“I saw the door wide open, which was completely out of the norm. The guard was supposed to keep the door closed till I arrived.”

“Pray tell about the guard. His name, age, address.”

Police officer

As if on cue, the guard from last night rushed into the corridor, stopping exactly at the back of the Khaki man. “You can ask him yourself, Officer Joffer!”, the Curator pointed at him, jumping up and down. Officer Joffer turned around and grabbed the guard by his collar. Nothing seemed to surprise the Khaki man. In the same monotonous voice, he asked, “What is your story? Why did you leave the door open?”

The guard had terror in his eyes as if he had seen death.

It turned out, I was not far off.

“I will tell you everything, Officer! But first, please come with me. Danvers is dead, right behind this building!”

The Dead Man by Manet

“Danvers? DEAD????” the Curator screamed again at the top of his lungs. “Not DANVERS! I just saw him 10 minutes ago. He was with me since this morning, and he just left for his commitments before you arrived, Officer! WHAT in the name of Jesus is happening here?”

The Officer named Joffer shook his head in the front, asking the guard to lead the way. All three men went through the door, leaving it wide open yet again. The maidservant who was cleaning the hall sighed and looked right at me. “Rough day, huh Sydney?” she muttered, and went to cleaning again. I waited, staring at the door, hoping the men would come back soon. The place felt very creepy when deserted. The fairy, apparently exhausted at their conversation, wailed, “Those imbeciles won’t even let have my beauty sleep!” and then went on to say some un-fairy-like things I won’t repeat. All the while, I was thinking, there must be a way the criminal could be caught, but what can I do? Sit back and watch like I was destined to do my whole existence?

Sydney AKA Me

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