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Paranoia at the art gallery - Justin Boron

Clumps of people huddled around an iconoclastic George W. Bush portrait, gilded with ebullient, liturgical overtones.

It was an art showing for the cream of the Atlanta art enthusiast crop.

Art Sophistos danced from painting to painting sipping on white wine while pretentious babblings spilled from their mouths.

I was there as a friend of a friend, strictly to provide moral support for the assistant gallery director, and that was all that I was prepared to do.

The Atlanta art scene can be incredibly cruel to those who fall flat in front of the highest of expectations.

Take for example a gentleman dressed in painter's overalls named Franz who had the audacity to try and enter the show without appropriate credentials.

He received a few polite smiles at first. I turned around embarrassed by his faux pas. But when I saw him next, he was in the alley behind the gallery in a state of humiliation and defeat, panhandling for change to buy a taco at the crude looking Mexican restaurant.

Second-hand information on Franz' background revealed he had been a painter-phenom in 2001. Unfortunately, he was ruined when he was seen in New York City riding across the Williamsburg Bridge on a Segway. His excuse was a poor one, claiming his parents had denied him a Big Wheel when he was a child.

The painter's story all became superficial when the scope of my purpose for being at the show was indefinitely broadened.

In an abrupt exchange, a lady asked me to watch her drink. Before I could protest, she was gone and I was stuck with the abhorred task of drink watching.

What if someone swept by to clean up the table and threw the drink away?

Or someone picked it up, thinking it belonged to him or her.

These were questions that reverberated through my head as fear crept up my spine.

If the drink disappeared, blame would have to be placed, and I was in a unique and intractable position to accept this blame.

I was being spun. This had to be a conspiracy to humiliate me, get me kicked out of the gallery, and force me into a relationship with Franz the painter.

After all, who was I to be at this place? This was definitely the wrong gallery at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I left the drink, fleeing into the night.

I would not let theses Sophistos make a fall guy out of me.

Justin Boron covers government and politics for the News-Daily. His column appears Mondays. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 ext. 281 or jboron@news-daily.com .