This Side

Todd Mrozinski and Nina Bednarksi unveiled the delicious paintings that make up the Infinite Landscapes show in the Pfister’s Pop Up Gallery as their contribution to Gallery Night and Day last night. This story was inspired by their artistry and the alchemy of their talented eyes and I read it before a friendly crowd of art lovers with writerly glee. Enjoy. 

Leonard’s shoulders relaxed as he stood next to Jenny who was warmly wrapped in the terry robe she had found hanging in the hotel room closet while they stared out the window of their upper floor suite at the infinite landscape filled with the sight of puffy white clouds, cheap a perfect V-shaped formation of geese floating and flapping peacefully on the thin rarified air, one dynamic streamlining airliner making a white line in the sky as it headed to exotic lands, squared off fluorescent lights from the city’s swankiest apartment buildings and most imposing office towers glowing warmly in the dusky evening sky, that very same light pole that Gene Kelly danced around dripping wet from movie magic showers in “Singin’ in the Rain”, the extraordinary 957th homerun ball soaring over the center field wall that Slappin’ Joe McCracken had just soundly pummeled from his mighty seismic bat he cutely called My Girl Kitty, Joey Mason and Dottie Saldina sharing their shy and tentative first kiss stolen in the cool shade of the jasmine bush that Elmer Dill had planted back sometime in the early aughts just to see if he could grow something prettier than the rows and rows of cabbage in his garden that all somehow resembled the bust of William Henry Harrison, Drum Major Sal Temple’s twirling baton spiraling through the air just ready to drop into her waiting hand so the Moosetown Leather Heads could start their woodwind heavy version of “Louie, Louie” in sharp 4/4 time with a lot of gusto right off the bat because it “Wasn’t grade A until it was forte!” as Band Director Dr. Julius Hindin always reminded the freshmen through senior corps, the rocket’s red glare and the bomb pops of freedom bursting with red, white and blue sugary flavor on a sticky and humid August afternoon when it was better to chase the ice cream man’s ding-dong song than wade in the waters of the Stockton Civic Swim Center even though all the bathers religiously abided by the posted warning that there was no “P” in the “OOL” and everyone should always keep it that way, an awkward encounter between two pretty burly insurance salesmen as they both reached for the same double thick butterscotch malt when Ricky Steven’s cracking 15-year-old tenor that would soon drop into baritone was heard announcing the order from the red microphone at Narder’s Drive-In, you know the one that was just for people who had ordered sundaes or fountain drinks but definitely not double cheeseburgers and onion rings even though those were the specialties of the house and everyone agreed that Togo’s Sweet Shack was really the best place in town for ice cream, that tear-jerking moment of Ute Franz’s triumphant ascent of that Swiss Alp that wasn’t quite as big as Matterhorn but was surrounded by all the better fondue places so was the one that really mattered to anyone who cared about cheese which was really everyone because cheese is that one thing that should be loved and cherished like a newborn baby, maybe even more so because cheese sleeps through the night and has never cried over a dirty diaper, Rayburn Jessup’s blue ribbon steer once again somehow lifting the latch on the gate that led into Tully Arnold’s soybean field so the bull could saunter into a soft patch of soon-to-be-tofu leaves for a good lay down just because it felt so nice on his plump rump roast, a hot minute when Gwen Mitchell snubbed out a cigarette and declared “That’s it! I’m done, and this time I REALLY mean it!”, the exciting final results of the recent contentious election that proved that democracy sure wasn’t perfect but it was way better than whatever system of government they were acting out during this year’s Renaissance Fair that had just moved into town for a six-month set down since the Civil War reenactors had pulled up camp and traveled North for the summer, the telecast of the penultimate match between sisters Pluto and Nirvana Thomas that forever proved that Wheaties really did make you faster and stronger if your mom made you eat them every morning before curling practice, the heaven sent puffs of white smoke announcing the legendary and universally praised selection of Pope John Mohammad Tozen Bobo Marjorie Solowitz to lead the world towards enlightenment, peace and a refreshing hip hop approach to liturgy, Tarzan swinging from a tangled vine and swooping down to within inches of the jungle floor to grab Jane gently but firmly to save her from the razor sharp jaws of an advancing King of the Forest even while his monkey Cheetah sat in a nearby tree laughing like a hyena because the world’s smartest chimp saw that there was no danger since the advancing beast was none other than the Milwaukee Lion and everyone knew that it was nothing but a miniature horse out on a weeklong bender, that one really comfy afghan that Grandma had made that had gone missing for 17 months but somehow mysteriously reappeared in the family room when Uncle Timothy showed up that one night to crash for a few hours as he was trucking across America with a load of plump limes because it was Mojito season and the Southern Californians were getting thirsty, and a few other fuzzy shapes farther away that he couldn’t quite make out because it was time to get his eyes checked again and the sun had dipped pretty low beyond the horizon.

Leonard’s smile reflected back at him from the glass of the window as Jenny slipped her hand into his and rested her head on his shoulder to complete the sixth time in his life when he had felt he might have a glimmer of what the word “perfect” actually meant.

“Nice view,” he said softly to his love. “I wonder what it looks like from the other side?”

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