The light was harsh

on its sole object

a painter in a hard back

stiff metal chair.

Somewhere in the dark

sat the questionnaires.

Folded hands and

mechanical voices.

"You are here

of your own free will?"


"You are here

to answer a query

of the school board

that employs you?"

"Let me go."

"We are not here

to threaten or cajole you."

"Let me go then.

Let me go..."

"This is only a

few days of your life.

We ask you and

you instruct us."

"This is reality,

not a Kafka farce!"

"Who is this Kafka?

Is he on the campus?"

"He is a painter,

(thoughts like vapors

in these harsh times)"




"Are you comfortable?

Do you need water

before we go on?"

"My glass is near empty

but it tastes too bitter."

"It's only the drink

we all must share."


[The painter suddenly

shoves the glass

onto the floor.

It lands with a clang

unbroken, unchipped.

Water gushes out

in a line like a knife.]


"I'll have some more."




"Again we are not

here to hurt you.

Help teach us

and then recess.

The students require

stable voices.

They need to see

that we, the staff

have no divisions.

Or how could they

respect our message?"




"For our records

where is your dorm?"

"My home is the same.

My address the same."

"The address you confess

is 202 Lane?"


"Where is your studio?"

"What is a 'studio'?"

"Painters paint

in a studio.

You sleep and paint

in this place?"

"But that's illegal

for a teacher

that teaches students

how to paint."

"You sleep and paint

in this place?"

"I sleep and prepare

my lessons in this place."

"Are lessons on paper

or primed white canvas?"

"Is that not

against the prospectus?'

"Confine yourself

to answers not questions.

As you know

State University

is responsible for

everyone's safety.

Students and teachers

are under our roofs.

Dean and Board

are instructed

to maintain

and protect all dorms,

or be liable

for prosecution.




Your room IS

one we protect.

Campus Patrol

said something's amiss.

Instructed the Dean

to search for danger.

Found these paintings

hidden in walls.

Hidden in walls

at 202 Lane.




These are works

shocking to us.

Shocking to all

that's right and proper.

Hateful to see

by anyone's children.

Not in accord

with our curriculum.

Not in accord

with teachers guidelines.

Not in accord

with sanctioned textbooks.

Counter to all

the bylaws approved of.

Counter to what

is by us acceptable.

Students and faculty

have risen in accord

to publicly accuse you

of painting these works."


"May I see them?"

"Why and what for?"

"To identify

who may have done them."

"Do you now confess

you know of instructors

that have used paint

to oppose the faculty?"


"Do you now confess

you yourself

have used paint and brushes

to oppose the faculty?"


"Why would you request

to see abominations? ...

Your curiousness

is not here fitting

for such an august

Board of Regents.




And so again

we ask you now,

did you paint

these illegal works?"




"I am hungry.

I am thirsty.

I work for the school

of my ancestors.

I am tired

of telling the truth

over and over.

Let me go.

This night is long."




"We are not here

to condemn what's mandated.

Are we not

now in accord?

Are we not

a single team?

Are we not

here to serve?

Students of the state

with proven tactics."

"May I know

who is out there?"

"We told you before.

We are the people.

We are the group

that's been authorized."

"Have there been

others on staff

that have done

those despicable deeds?"

"Never before

to our knowledge."

"How are they punished,

those who breach rules?"

"Again none before

to our knowledge."

"What would happen

to whoever is found

that painted these works

that can't be shown?"

"This is not

a tactics course.

The governance here

is taken care of

without worry by

anyone enrolled."




"Who is now

teaching my class?"

"Always more questions!

Perhaps more answers?"

"No he's right

to care for his classes.

The message is the same

so a substitute is there.

He'll teach the lesson

for this date.

Your students will not

miss their instructions.

"I know not

about this art.

Why ask me

who painted these works.

Know of no one

who paints to provoke."

"Yet there are rumbles

outside of the campus

that a new movement

of utter contempt

is infecting

all that is good. 

We must stop this

at our front door.

We must uproot it

within our house."

"Why would anyone

paint against what's good?

Isn't what's now

the best of all worlds? ...

[end of interrogation session]


[One hour later -

new mechanical voices]


"For our records

where is your dorm?"

"My home is the same.

My address is the same."

"Then you are still

at 202 Lane?"


"What do you know

about 'new' painting?"

"What is that?"

"What do you know

about the art revolution?"

"What is that?

And how do you know

about these strange things?"

"Again we will ask

and you will answer ...


[the glass is gone.

the water has dried].







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