A Call of Love

Photo by C. A. Bridges

It’s not so bad, being murdered, when you know you’re going to become part of something greater.

Wasn’t fun, of course. Hurt like a mother. But at least Matthew killed me quickly. No taste for pain or torture or anything like that, he’s not a monster. Not that kind of monster.

He was simply an artist who needed raw materials to express himself in the manner that would make the most impact, and those materials happened to be inside me at the time. No hard feelings.

It may be presumptious to call him Matthew without his permission but I think, considering the brief-yet-intimate nature of our meeting, I am justified in it.

And now I am ensconced as a permanent objet d’art. A masterpiece, if I may be so boastful. As part of a brilliantly executed work of metal and bone I am now far more meaningful to the world than ever I was as a part-time fry cook. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, fry cooks are essential, but…

Now, I change people.

I see them come into his gallery. They look around, amused or aghast or both at his other works. Matthew believes in the macabre as a way to shock and surprise, you see. He says he uses “found items.” His little joke.

Visitors marvel at his craftsmanship and wonder at the “fake” human remains in sculptures such as “Nor Shall Death Brag” (cunningly reworked wrought iron and bits of a jogger from Casselberry), “Defeated and Inglorious” (intricate golden latticework interlaced with the finger and toe bones from a veteran who had been collecting door to door for Wounded Warriors) and “The Tinge of the Finite” (an entire baby’s carriage woven from human hair and coarse twine, in which lay a battered antique baby doll and a small pile of rib bones; Matthew knows this secluded playground).

And then they see me.

“A Call of Love,” is what he named me. It’s from a Herman Hesse quote but he’s never said the whole thing where I could hear it. I am raw, rough, barely emerged from the living body. I have been reduced to a skull but I am looking upward, forward into the destiny that lies before me. I am pierced by metal rods, surrounded by metal circles, but I am triumphant. I am medicine. I am science. I am the acceptance of death and the embrace of the unknown.

I mean, I think I am. I’ve only ever caught glimpses of myself in reflections here and there and I don’t actually know what the Hesse quote means. But people seem really impressed with me. Lots of them take pictures. You know, I’ve even seen people I used to know come in here and take pictures of me? It’s kind of cool, like being a celebrity.

They didn’t recognize me, of course.

But everyone who looked at me and moved on walked a little more slowly, a little more thoughtfully afterward. It is no easy thing to be reminded that you will certainly die. His art is that powerful.

So you see, being brutally murdered by Matthew isn’t so bad, in the long run. I don’t want you to think there’s no upside. This is all very new to you, obviously, and I’m sorry for your loss. From what I can see of you, that must have really hurt. But I also saw him bringing in boxes of gold filigree earlier today and I think he has something very special in mind for you. You’re so lucky!

Your body will cool off soon and he’ll give you a nice acid bath, and then he’ll work his magic and you’ll come alive!

Metaphorically, I mean.