I was at work, busy updating my blog (not this one, my other one about making money on the stock market using candlesticks and bedknobs) when Reggie came over to my desk.
"You probably just think of me as some black guy who cleans toilets."
"Yes," I said, my eyes fixed on the screen, "I do."
"Listen," he said. He leaned close and conspiratorial, enveloping me in his Hai Karate. His smoky radio DJ voice dropped an octave. "I got something to show you. Can you come with me a sec? Just a sec."
We went down to the basement boiler room. There, past the sink and shelves of cleaning supplies, was a huge poster of Christina Aguilera's huge ass.
"Yeah, her booty is so fine," I said. "Anyway, I'll--"
"No, no, not that. But--yeah, isn't it?"
Reggie reached behind a cabinet and pulled out a canvas. He blew dust off it.
"I been meaning to show you this. You like it? I painted it."
"Okay," I said finally.
"See, it's a unicorn. I did it with oil pastels, in just a few hours."
"Indeed. And what is the white thing... a thistle weed?"
"Naw, man! Look closer! It's a fairy. See the pixie dust behind her. Isn't she fine?"
"Is the purple horse about to sniff her up its nostril?"
"Listen. I'll give it to you for twenty dollars. I'm serious. I want you to have it. Put it in your place. It's a lucky charm. It'll get you laid!"
"You already owe me twenty dollars."
Last week Reggie borrowed twenty dollars from me in order to buy cigarettes. He had new teeth, which changed the shape of his jaw and face, and the color was dazzlingly white against his skin--but now he was strapped for cash.
"Exactly! So I'll let that go, and you just give me twenty now, and we'll call it even!"
"No, wait. That means I'm giving you forty for the painting."
"Naw, naw. I'm giving it to you for twenty. See? And I'll forget the debt. That way we can start off clean."
"But I don't think that..."
"Listen, my art sells for a hell of a lot more than twenty dollars! I'm doing a Last Supper for my church. My art usually sells for hundreds of dollars. I'm giving you a great deal, man!"
"You could even give this to your poor mom. To improve her luck, yeah? So yo' momma won't slip in poop and smash her face. This ol' unicorn here will look down on yo' momma and say, Watch out, white lady, don't slip in no poop!"
"Now you're talking. But I still don't see why your debt to me is rolled into the asking price. Why not just ask for forty, and then...?"
"Naw, naw, it's twenty. Look, I'll throw this in too. This is another painting I just did last week. I'll give you this one too!"
Reggie blew off the dust of another canvas and threatened me with it.
"Why is it covered in dust if you just did it last week?"
Reggie frowned. "Are you a racist?"
"Well, if believing the white race is superior to all others, then by that definition I suppose I am. But are you sure you didn't find this in the dumpster out back?"
Reggie gave me his Good Times look. "Don't you jive me, man! What have I been telling you? I'm an artist. I'm not just some guy who cleans the toilets."
"So who's the white guy?"
"Aw, man! You really are hung up on color, aren't you? I've got to educate you and get you to stop seeing people as either black or white."
"Yes, but who's the white guy?"
"It's me! That's me that's standing there!"
I squinted. "I think the skin tone is a little off."
Reggie held out his hand. "Come on. Give me twenty. Or I'll cut you."
"I better get back..."
"Wait! There's more! I have one of my girlfriend eating pussy...!"
I ran back to my desk. But Reggie was persistent. By the end of the day, I wound up buying his unicorn, his white self-portrait, his girlfriend performing sex acts, a black Elvis, and the Virgin Mary doing a pole dance with Tinkerbell for Screech and two Roman centurions in the Garden of Eden (?).
So, uh...... Does anyone want to buy some paintings?