A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
~ Jake Mendenhall
“Mr. Franklin…Mr. Franklin!?” The tall caretaker of the gallery stood in the doorway, dressed in a black pant-suit and her hands held firmly on her hips. “Be sure to lock these doors on your way out…”
“Yeah, Yeah, shove it, lady!” Hector Franklin, the janitor of the art gallery, flippantly swept the wooden floors without giving it any kind of care or attention. His protruding beer-gut swayed with his movements like an overweight, yet hypnotizing, ballerina. Layers of brown ash caked his mustard-stained uniform, and several specs fluttered off and floated amongst the nearby artwork. “Hey, why don’t you do me a favor, and move your ass outta here. Okay, Sugar-tits?” Hector hocked a lime-green loogie onto the floor, and the caretaker irately slammed the door behind her.
Hector stopped for a second to stare at the artwork around him. Numerous strands of curled film surrounded him. The black film was cleverly rolled into a spiraling cone. It looked like an endless forest of opaque cornucopias! Hector shoved his plump arm through them, almost ripping them down. “What is so damn special about these?”, he thought. If this is art, then my three-year-old is an art genius!
Hector grabbed a single roll with his grubby mitts and brought it close to his face. Suddenly, thanks to his carelessness, the ENTIRE display came crashing down, littering the wooden floors with black coils.
Hector snickered with a pig-like snort and returned to his remedial duties. He purposely stepped on a few pieces as he walked by. Unfortunately for Hector, the art was acting very strangely that night. The art was not going to sit idle. The art wasn’t going to let some bulbous walrus destroy it. Not…this…night.
One of the crushed coils slowly wriggled itself up off the ground. It began to flap its opening… like a mouth! Its tip became a tail, and the coil began to slither amongst the lifeless bodies of its comrades. As it passed, the other fallen coils emerged with life and followed closely behind it. It wasn’t long before every single-fallen piece had taken life and combined to form a revenge-driven, black swarm. Their target: Mount Hector! Unbeknownst to Hector, numerous spirals wriggled up his pant leg, while others secretly circled his feet like ravenous piranha. Hector noticed the swarm almost instantly as it constricted his legs and brought his fat ass to the ground.
“What the FUCK?!?” Hector veignly struggled, but the swarm had him pinned. The swarm leader slithered his way to the top of his chest and stared at his fallen prisoner. Suddenly, Hector could see many tiny razors taking shape within the opening of the coil’s “mouth” It emitted an ear-splitting shriek and dove for the Janitor’s chubby face. Other coils shortly followed their leader’s example, and drops of blood rocketed into the air.
The next morning, the caretaker walked into the gallery to behold what was left, and she recoiled in horror. A massive skeleton lay in the center of the floor on top of an immense pool of blood. A small, wooden mop was in the grip of the skeleton. On the wall behind the display of film coils was a message; a message written in blood. The message read: DON’T TOUCH THE ART…