• “Talk To Strangers”
  • Ariel Maldonado
  • 2017
  • CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East

This story was inspired by this artist’s entire gallery rather than just one piece. Unfortunately they were not paintings and very few of them had an actual geometric shape so it was very difficult to get dimensions.

As Alice played with her toys, she couldn’t wait for her friend to show up so that they could play together. Seven o’clock every night, right after dinner. She left the window open in case he wanted to come early before making her way over to dinner table. She sat at the table in silence, no one was home other than the typical service who tended to her while her parents were out to their usual social gatherings. She quickly ate her dinner and rushed to her room. He wasn’t there. She played for few minutes until she heard something outside her window. She peered her head out. “Nick!” she shouted. He was already walking over with a heavy looking sack. He smiled and waved. Alice backed out from the window so that he could make his way through. This was a pretty common thing for the two. It all started about four weeks ago when Alice had been looking outside and Nick saw her and called out to her asking why she looked so upset. Alice had told him about how lonely she was and when he offered to play with her she couldn’t refuse. Even if he was about eight years older, he was kind and friendly to her. He listened to her pain and sorrow. In the past she had offered Nick to live with her several times but Nick always refused. Today he had brought her toys. “Here you go, I felt that we have just played with these other toys to the fullest.” Her eyes were bright, they looked so cool. “I didn’t know what toys you’d like so I brought a few, but I think it’d be a better idea to just take you there and have you pick out your own toys,” he told her. She didn’t want to leave, she rarely ever left the house without her parents or an adult her parents had introduced her to. But she trusted Nick. “Do you want to go? If we go now, we might just make it before they close,” he said. She nodded and followed him out the window as he carried his sack. When they were pretty far from home she felt Nick get quieter and more serious, directing  her in short sentences. Soon they approached a neighborhood and her already dark vision of the night became pitch black. Nick threw the sack over her and began running. She heard a door open and shut loudly. Nick threw the sack on a bed, as Alice screamed and cried, Nick raped her and killed her. She was only ten.

More about my experience in Ariel’s gallery: When I walked in I was the only in that room. The lights were dimmed and it was completely silent. The pieces looked liked toys that were played with but for whatever reason they were not cleaned up when finished with. When I read the title I felt it wasn’t finished, like someone crossed out the word “Don’t” in front of it.

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