~ a short story

On a wall behind a food truck at Sixth, a half-finished face garnered the attention of a group of kids. Street art, a hand-drawn mug upon red and black brick. They poked at it with greying, cinnamon chalk, marring its minor features. From the beginnings of a smile, with eyes wide, a stretching face faded away into nothingness. The thing was a forehead without a chin. Out of the shade of his mouth came a speech bubble; within it, nothing was written. The face in its half-ness resembled a cartoon character’s head, bald like Charlie Brown’s but with Spongebob’s manic eyes and chattering teeth. Amidst an incomplete whole, it was nearly impossible to render the gaze as delighting or fearful. There was no telling what he might be saying, or screaming. Unquestionably, the aura within the animated countenance was violence, a not-so-hidden animus for the world or its creator. Maybe the absences were the art; maybe the unfinished business of this character was the intention from the artist. A self-portrait? An imposition of a fading will upon an unwelcome world. At any rate, the drawer was gone from this work, now graffitied upon by the children from the neighborhood, making it their own. ~