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Art & Culture

various essays on, well, art and culture

Bookbinding & Conservation

lessons learned from this profession


Gallery Man
North Dakota

'Jim Downey' Stories

mostly true stories from my

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Iím at -7.13/-7.33 on The Political Compass.  Where
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Published in Legacy Online, January 2003

The Continuing Adventures of GALLERYMAN!

(Mild-mannered bookbinder James Downey, in an ongoing quest to bring great local art to the people of Mid-Missouri, adopts the personae of GalleryMan when the aesthetic need arises.  This is another episode in the continuing saga...)

"So, what's the problem, Roto-Rooter Guy?" asked GalleryMan.

"Well, sir, you've got this problem with the main drain for this building.  Technically, we call it a 'plug'." "Ah," said GalleryMan, stroking his beard.  "That would explain the cesspool that has formed in my basement.  Very unaesthetic, though I imagine that there are some museum venues that might be fooled into considering it an 'installation.'  Certainly, the fountains that erupt in the sinks downstairs whenever someone flushes could be considered entertaining."

"Uh, right."

"So, whatís The Plan?"

"First, we need to find the access for the clean-out," said Roto-Rooter Guy.  "Then, with my marvelous, magical Snake, I can unplug the plug."

"Right.  Well, thereís this fitting down here in this secret crawlspace . . ."

GalleryMan uncovered a secret trap door at the back of the gallery, cleverly hidden beneath the throw rug just inside the back door.  Stepping down several crude wooden stairs, GalleryMan pointed at the drain fitting.

"Hmmm," said Roto-Rooter Guy, looking at the drain fitting.  "Thatíd work, but maybe there's a clean-out outside that's more accessible."

Climbing out of the crawlspace, GalleryMan said, "The secret trap door is difficult to move. I'll leave this open, in case we need to get down there.  But be careful, that's a long drop."

"No problem," said Roto-Rooter Guy, stepping out the back door.

While Roto-Rooter Guy searched for the elusive clean-out in the snow covered parking lot, GalleryMan carefully arranged chairs around the open trap door.  'Having a customer fall in the secret crawl space would be most unaesthetic,' thought GalleryMan.

"I found it!" exclaimed Roto-Rooter Guy, sticking his head inside the back door.

"Excellent!  Soon my cesspool installation will be no more!" said GalleryMan, stepping out the back door to see the discovery.

"All we have to do," said Roto-Rooter Guy, carefully unscrewing the cap of the clean-out with a crowbar, "is just open this up, then I can use my Snake to foil the evil plug that is causing the fountains in your basement.  Here, run this extension cord inside and plug it in for me, would you?"

"Certainly!"  said GalleryMan, carefully taking the extension cord and going back inside.  It snagged as he was coming in the door, and GalleryMan turned his attention to see the cause of the snag, forgetting for a moment about the secret trap door being open . . .

"Arrgh!" screamed GalleryMan as he stepped backwards into the secret crawlspace, disappearing from sight.  There was a series of dull thuds as he bounced off the crude wooden stairs, then a crash as he landed on the stored lumber at the bottom of the stairs.

"Are you OK???" asked Roto-Rooter Guy, who heard the screams, thuds, and crash, not to mention the mutterings emanating from the secret crawlspace.

"Yeah," said GalleryMan weakly, struggling to get air back in his lungs.  With a gasp and a moan he continued, "I think it's only a few bruised ribs.  I've had worse.  The gallery business is full of risks unsuspected by the public at large.  And besides, you have to admit that was done in a most spectacular and aesthetic fashion. Like a bit of impromptu performance art."

Roto-Rooter Guy looked at him.  "Sure you didn't hit your head or something?

Be sure to stay tuned for more episodes in the continuing adventures of GalleryMan!

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all work © James T. Downey, 1993-2006
photos © Martha K. John, 1994-2006
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