The curator and her assistant stared at the painting, which was the size of a small bus. Finally, Hugh spoke.

“God, it’s ugly.”

“That’s modern art for you,” Amy said.

“How much is it worth?”


“And he’s just giving it to the museum?”

Amy shrugged. “I’m sure there’s a tax write-off in it for him. Shh, he’s coming back.”

They smiled radiantly at their benefactor as he approached. Marcus Harvey could have passed for Santa’s evil twin, with wispy white hair and cheeks that were likely rosy from alcoholism rather than merriment. He fixed his beady eyes on them and sniffed.

“Well, what do you think of it?” he said gruffly.

“Magnificent,” Amy said.

“Sensational,” Hugh agreed.

“Such a bold panoply of colors.”

“And the brush strokes… divine!”

“I’ve never seen such a vivid representation of existential ennui.”

Harvey nodded. “Glad to hear it.”

“Your generosity is unparalleled,” Amy gushed.

Harvey stared at it, shaking his head sadly. “Had to get rid of it. Wife said it was too ugly to bear.”

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