High-Minded Virtues
“This will teach you to be the fourth to discard a West tile,” said Xinjinmeng.

“How was I to know you would mahjong?”, said Professor Grafenburg. “You have profited by ill fortune, no good will come of this.”


“These days, ‘good’ holds little interest to me. … Gwurf, this show is of little interest to me, as well. Seriously: soft construction surrealism? In the twenty-first century? I have seen the work of freshmen with more originality.”

 

“Naturally, I agree. Why do we remain? You find all this rather tedious.”


“Because you find it even more tedious than I, and I enjoy seeing you suffer. You lost  the bet, you must maintain the bargain.”


“My word is my bond, as anyone will attest. … Must the chain be so short?”


“Any shorter, and we might as well be wearing the same shoes.”


“Still … I know the pass-phrase to a moloka bar, just short cab ride distant.”


“We still have thirteen more paintings to appreciate.”


“But you bristle with disgust! We should away.”


“I promised a friend I would make a showing. By our presence, we create gossip. Perhaps one of these pieces will sell at a higher price, although frankly we would do the world a greater service if we started an electrical fire and let them collect the insurance money.”


“And perhaps I might die in the fire, it would give me blessed release from … what is this you dressed me in?”


“Polyester.”


“You bitch.”


“Come. This tart excuse for a blanc de noir has gone right through me. Let us powder our noses.”


“At last, a respite from these paintings. So, today, shall we use the women’s, or the men’s?”



“At this gallery, it is unisex.”


“Ach, not even a chance to discomfit some uptight businessmen in their most private of affairs? This place is hell, and you are the devil’s escort.”

  

“Thank you. I do try.”

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