Addendum to the Art Loss Register
Heather McQuillan is part of WORD Christchurch 2020 Spring Festival
Drexel relaxed in the beat of swiping inner seams of jeans as the heft of cans tapped a pattern against his spine. In the chill air of just-before-dawn, the route to the underpass glowed oily orange.
Warning came in a muted grunt. Without losing his beat, Drexel slung with his shoulder into the crosshatches of a wire fence. The resident wino, shrugged beneath a sketchy carpet, pointed around the next corner. When Drexel saw the policeman, sans smiley-face, and a huddle of folk with flash cameras hustling around his imperfect artwork, he tugged his hood further forward.
“Bugger Bansky,” muttered the drinker and then shuffled on, a yarn flailing loose from his carpet in a rat’s tail trail.
Drexel crouched beside the shipwrecked ribs of a shopping trolley, edged off his backpack and tucked its strap around a dislocated, disengaged wheel. He had no desire to be caught red- bagged and red-handed. He thrust paint-stained hands into his pockets and padded nearer.
“What’s up?” he asked the uniform, lifting his chin towards the underpass and those hipster types with their LED lamps and thick- rimmed specs.
“Famous artist or some crap. Now piss off before I mention trespass.”
Drexel shifted himself into the shadowed concrete canvas and sidled closer. Harsh lights silhouetted his wan beauty. The missile- infant she cradled still suckled at her breast. She sirened out to him for the crimson-in-a-can that he’d abandoned, and she wept at the stenciled-on signature that stained her, that claimed her, for another.
A voice resonated by the agency of the underpass acoustics. “A deviation from his past work, a maturing. Pure genius!”
Drexel wavered half-in, half-out of the shadows.
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