By Scott Garson

At first, he thought that his being made to stand guard by an empty canvas was some kind of joke, on him, on his worthlessness. He could take it. He was being paid. Then he arrived at a different idea: what if the joke was on everyone else? What if his being made to stand guard was the move that was needed to sell it? Draw in fools. Get them rubbing their chins. Finally he came to a thought that was more like a feeling, since it wouldn’t cohere. He stood guard by an empty canvas in an empty wing at the end of a day. He could be real—an actual man—or theoretical. Who would know? The guard stepped away from his place by the wall. Blinking, he tried to see into the light of the canvas, like it was a mirror.

Scott Garson is the author of Is That You, John Wayne?–a collection of stories. He lives in Missouri.

Art by Lesley C. Weston (Digital drawing)

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