Controlled Monetization

Avatar Author: Les Orchard I'm a serially enthusiastic, caffeine dependent {web,mad,computer} scientist and {tech,scifi} writer. I work at the Mozilla Corp. (where they make Firefox), and I live in Livonia, MI, USA. I was once a refugee from Fic... Read Bio

I took the pills. Like everyone else, I took the pills and I sent in the hair and the piss to prove I took the pills. I’d figured something out, though: I could stop taking the pills for the first half of the month, then double up at the end. I still passed the tests; no one knocked on the door.

Thus, for twelve weeks a year, I spent whole evenings in the crawlspace. I cracked open the cache of brushes and watercolors under the light of a single incandescent bulb. I let the shapes and hues out to play, each season informing the work. Winter’s frigid breath demanded sharp lines and angles, while the steam bath of early August suggested lazier curves and smears.

When the knock finally came—more of a bang really, with the door splintered and wrecked—they found fifty canvases under the house. An audit had been prompted by a neighbor’s tip.

The institution at which they dumped me was clean and well-lit. The pills stopped: Painting was encouraged—sales kept the place open, nicely funded by the rich and the dull.

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Comments (7 so far!)

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  1. Avatar g²LaPianistaIrlandesa

    “A clean and well-lit place,” huh? I’m thinking stark boxes, and forced artistry. An oxymoron if I ever heard one.
    Thanks for entering. ^^

  2. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    who was the oppressor? it seems the institution was a gallery or school..

  3. Avatar Les Orchard

    Thanks for reading!

    The jackbooted oppressors I had in mind were a vague mashup of industry & government, with shades of 1984 and Anthem or Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Those are the first things I reach for when I think of oppressors :)

    And, if (almost) everyone’s on anti-creativity drugs, that makes for a nice slice of artificial scarcity in pretty things to exploit for taxes and profits.

  4. Avatar uselessness

    This is fantastic, I love where you took it. Was that “clean and well-lit” line an intentional Hemingway reference?

  5. Avatar Les Orchard

    Thanks! And, huh, I have to say I hadn’t read that Hemingway story until just now. I probably just randomly soaked up that phrase somewhere.

  6. Avatar Stovohobo

    I like the form of pills—its been done, but a lot of stuff has been and it works well. The second sentence is great to me for some reason. Good character POV and style.

  7. Avatar lisaG

    I love the idea that the rich and high ups would have a sort of creative black market.

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