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A Marketing Dilemma

A few seconds before they were about to cross the entrance, Ahiram Oblivionsky
turned with a frightful glance to his spouse; the crowd’s din that filled his ears scared
him. It was his last chance in fact to give up that dubious pleasure, although the
thought did not cross his mind yet; but that was his view on these sort of happenings.
She on the other hand answered his pleading eyes with an excited smile, as if it meant
to encourage him.
She’s the one who needs encouragement much more than me… He thought
embarrassed. Well let it be, I’ll cross the Rubicon just to make her happy.
The crowd’s tumult was growing on and on, and as they entered the huge hall he was
shaken to the core. How crowded the place is! What a huge crowd, attired in their
finest garments, cackling noisily, ceaselessly, just like a multi-head monster on the
brink of smothering me!
Nothing could be discerned except the dark, colorful wave of adorned human bodies
that ended up in brunette, reddish, fair and oxidized blond shocks of hair; a human
overflow diffusing perfume and aftershave fumes, which filled Ahiram’s nostriles up
to a sweetish nausea.
‘Good god where have we ended up?’ He muttered in astonishment, while pushing his
way shouldedr to shoulder with his wife, between curves of behinds and bossoms,
blown up bellies and bony shoulders; which kept cackling ceaselessly on, moving just
like sea waves, or clouds on a winter’s day.
‘I can’t see even one familiar face. Do you happen to know anyone here?’ He asked
his wife raising his voice, hoping it would reach her ears. At that moment he was able
to discern the sounds of a background music, which was almost lost in the crowd’s
clamour.
Sarah Oblivionsky his faithful wife was scrutinizing his face worried, before she
answered afraid he might change his mind and leave, and she’ll have to follow suit.
‘Just as I thought not even one familiar face.’ He said decisively, moving his head
from one side to another to express his disatisfaction. As if he was preparing his way
out.
‘Well we’re a bit early, many more are supposed to arrive yet.’
‘What an encouragement!’ Exclaimed Ahiram giggling. ‘Just look what’s going on
here already, how horribly crowded the place is! Do you want to tell me that you
enjoy it?’
‘Don’t start it all over again, I mean your laments.’ She scolded him in a whisper. ‘Be
patient, if we’re already here let’s wait a few more moments.’ She added blushing
slightly.
She’s getting excited already… He thought disappointed. raising his eyes above the
humam wall that englfed them.
A familiar head surfed quite suddenly before his eyes, time and again above the
chattering human wall; a greyish curl was hanging loosely down that type’s forehead,
rebelliously one might say. In spite of his huge dimensions that type was passing
rather nimbly through the crowded human wall, exchanging greetings and smiles. He
was on the move most of the time, as Ahiram watched him; emitting syllables through
a wide open mouth with a broad smile, which their echoes haven’t reached Ahiram’s
ears yet.
‘By god it must be, what’s his name…? He turned excitedly to his wife.
The crowd started to disperse at the same time, there was enough room, and that fact
was suddenly obvious quite surprsingly.
‘It’s Tsvika, yes Tsvika Fleishaker, I’ll be damned if it isn’t him!’ He mumbled
excitedly. ‘God how puffed up he became…!’ Their eyes met and it seemed to Ahiram
that Tsvika was smiling to him, or has he identified some acquaintance of his behind
me? He wondered glancing backwards. ‘I’m going to greet an ex friend of mine.’ He
told his wife, and moved to the middle of the hall towards Tsvika.
‘I could hardly believe my eyes, howdy?’ Smiled to him Tsvika with his hands in his
pockets, while Ahiram was half way yet. ‘Rami isn’t it? Yeah Rami so help me…
How are you?’ He went on lowering a glance at him from the heights of his stature.
‘Do me a favor, come to see me when it’s all over, we’re about to begin, see?’
‘But I don’t think we’ll stick to the end.” Replied Ahiram stubbornly with some
courage, which he managed somehow to regain.
Okay, leave me your phone number, and I’ll come to see what you’re doing, in the
first opportunity I’ll have.’
‘Listen I’m glad to see you that’s all.’ Muttered Ahiram embarrassedly.
‘Well it seemes that it will take some time till they’ll fix everything, and fetch us the
mike.’ Noted Tsvika with indifference, realizing he isn’t going to get rid of that certain
“nudnik”. ‘What are you doing? We haven’t met each other since you joined the
Betsalel Academy isn’t it? I mean what are you doing and not what you’ve done.” He
added challenging Ahiram defiantly.
‘What I always did.’ Replied Ahiram with a short laugh of relief.
‘Portraits isn’t it?’
‘Yes portraits mostly.’ He answered him encouraged.
‘Listen to me, this kind of degenerate art isn’t marketabe nowadays, and if I Tsvika
Pleshet is difinning what you’re doing as tolerable art, you may refer to it as a
compliment. For between us, what are you really doing, copying snap shots?’
‘Me copying snap shots?’ Repeated Ahiram; his ex friend’s last words, hurt and
humiliated him. ‘I’ve never used photos or prints, I’ve painted models or relied on my
memory.’
‘So what!’ Retorted Tsvika sending a furtive glance at the museum director and the
electrician who were getting nearer. ‘Models, photos what difference does it make,
and whom does it interest anyway? Listen to me and listen to me well, update yourself
and do it fast if you want to see me visiting you studio, capish?’ Without any intention
to wait for an answer he went on: ‘You’ll have to move now.’ He noted when the
museum director and the electrician were by his side. ‘And who’s that old hag you’ve
brought with you? He asked all of a sudden, turning his eyes towards Ahiram’s wife.
‘Your aunt?’
The electrician who was bent over the mike, burst out with wild and loud wave of
laughter that resounded all over the hall through the numerous speakers, which were
hanging all around. The museum director’s face reddened up to his hair roots, and a
broad embarrassed smile covered his red face.
‘That’s my wife.’ Answered Ahiram coughing slightly. ‘She’s been with me ever since
I’ve met her…’
‘Next time leave that thing behind you and bring along your model, capish? And if
you don’t intend to do what I’m telling you…’ He added threateningly, throwing
glances at his two witnesses. ‘Our old friendship won’t help you. That’s my phone
number.’ He went on handing Ahiram his calling card. ‘Don’t call me before you’ll
have brand new works, and move now you’re in our way.’

‘Who’s that type?’ Asked him his wife excitedly without noticing her husband’s
dejection. ‘Come on, tell me…’
‘Forget it, let’s get the hell out of here.’ He answered her turning his back to Pleshet,
ready to move towards the entrance.
‘What happened? What’s the matter with you?’ Asked him his wife surprised. ‘I want
to meet him, and if it isn’t possible right now, then we’ll wait to the end of the
ceremony…’
‘I don’t want to do the slightest thing with him anymore, he insulted me or more
accurately he insulted us!’
‘Insulted us, how, in what way? That sudden burst of laughter? I thought you were
joking…’
‘So you didn’t hear, well I’m relieved. You don’t have the slightest idea what a dirty
scoundrel he is. We studied at high school together and there wasn’t even a single
examination in which I didn’t help that lousy bastard. Come on let’s get the hell out of
here, I don’t feel well. I must breath some fresh air.’
Against that kind of argument she had no answer. When he didn’t feel well, or needed
a breath of fresh air, all was over – they had to return home. That was his privilage as
an artist, and she was the one who voluntarily took care of his health.
While driving on their way home, he kept releasing his ill humor, and satisfying his
wife’s curiosity at the same time. ‘I haven’t seen him since our high school days. I
used to get A’s in every exam, and this good for nothing became a technical college
graduate!’ He muttered with a wry laugh. ‘I remember the arguments we had. He
claimed to be the sensible man with both his feet upon the ground, the one who plans
his future, while I was in his eyes living in a world of imagination and illusions. Well
and today he’s some kind of an art negotiator with an international renown…How
come? By what right? What background has this man in art? He graduated as a
construction engineer with the lowest grades possible; his nickname was ‘the
metallurgist’, the man was the laughing stock of his college! Some two years ago he
was nominated as a temporary curator to a certain international exhibition; and all of a
sudden he became the number one expert!’
‘Why are you surprised then? He’s angry with you no doubt, for not turning to him
earlier.’
‘But how could I know? He changed his name into a Hebrew one. What’s more he
never had the slightest idea about art, he never intended to deal with art; and that good
for nothing tells me that there’s no market for my works! I’ve got to change my style
that’s what he says! After all the years that I’ve been painting to come forth and claim
that there’s no market for my works of art… Another one who would form the course
of my life! I’ve got to change my production line, to flood the market with new
products – would you believe it? Say something for god sake!’
‘Well things must have changed…
Things must have changed? Things have turned upside down, that’s what has’
.happened.’ He muttered gloomily