SERIAL ARTIST

BY HADLEY MONROE

That hacking bag of wrinkles downstairs damn sure wasn’t any help, and the dude looking to score in the third-floor stairwell wasn’t about to give directions. Good thing Jack stands out, even among this crowd.

This kind of place doesn’t take credit and definitely doesn’t ask questions.

No maid service. No surprise there – his sheets look like they haven’t been changed in a month. Or maybe those aren’t his stains.

Jack’s dirty clothes were smeared with the same brown and rusty red that half-filled the reeking open jars on the table beside his latest “masterpiece”. His mama would have come undone if she’d seen the defilement on the designer labels she prized.

How many times have I tried to tell him? Blood and shit do not make money in the fine art world. Much less on human canvases.

I met Jack on the stairs. You can’t imagine the questions in his eyes when he saw me there.

How in the hell had I tracked him down in that flea bag motel two towns over? Did he lose again?

The game was done. I didn’t have to send the head thumping down the stairs for him to know I’d finally claimed my third prize – but I did.

I winked in triumph and laughed as he raced up the stairs to see how I’d improved his art.