Installing the couch photos I learned four things.
1– I’m no Meg Ruffman with a power drill.
2– It’s an exhibit in a museum, an exhibition in a gallery.
3– I thought you only needed a bag of nails and a hammer to properly hang photos. Apparently, a magic formula is also handy, which has something to do with math and therefore will constantly be just out of my reach.
4– Gallery walls only look like ordinary walls. They’re actually lined floor to ceiling, side to side, with plywood, which means you can hang anything you want anywhere you want anytime you want and as often as you want without the whole thing falling down.
Which brings me to the idea of a possible mystery thriller, which I may as well write since I’ve been making notes about the comings and goings of people that visit the upholSTORIES show… and I have all those spare minutes between people (i.e. future characters) wandering in.
So here’s the outline, the who, what, when, where, why and how of my soft furnishings potboiler in progress… (SFPIP)
Who— The guy on a downtown heritage walk who takes a wrong turn and accidentally finds himself in a gallery surrounded by couch photos and couch memories and when asked if he has a couch memory of his own he chuckles like Errol Flynn and says oh, yes, he has, but it’s not something he can tell me. Har har. He does tell me he’s 86 and that his wife has Alzheimers and it’s hard for him, he doesn’t know how long he can continue taking care of her. I sit on the edge of a coffee table as he talks. He sits back comfortably against the cushions on a striped couch.
—The two women who hold glasses of white wine as they tour the exhibition and say what a great place it would be to have a dinner party.
—Three grey-haired women with walkers who, by the time I get there, have been sitting on the couches a while. They eventually totter off, having established it’s already 3 o’clock. They leave the cushions alarmingly askew.
—A man who tells me that after he left the chaos of the former Yugoslavia and moved here, the first thing he did was buy a couch from Leon’s.
—And the woman with the long white blonde hair, visiting from Manchester, who doesn’t say or do anything particularly memorable… she’s just so lovely.
What— A dinner party during which it’s suspected that the soup course has been tampered with. There is what looks suspiciously like a trace of gesso, a dollop of resin and a practically-impossible-to-see splash of Castilian brown in the otherwise scrumptious vichyssoise. The party is held on the eve of an 86 year old heritage walker’s birthday, in his honour. But will he make it to midnight? (Therein lies the mystery.) And I don’t mean will he stay awake that long… (therein lies the thriller).
When— The dinner party takes place in June. The weather is unseasonably warm, torrid even. The night is young. There is a full moon. Love is in the air. Or not. There is soup. There is definitely soup.
Where— A swanky gallery in a swanky town.
Why— Why a mystery thriller? (Because the world can never have enough mystery thrillers. Obviously.) Or why did someone tamper with the vichyssoise… in which case I’m hardly likely to tell you now am I…
How— Who knows. But based on the title you can guess it will have something to do with those genius gallery walls.
Look for it at better book stores everywhere.