In what can only be described as a STUNNING COINCIDENCE, Ben Pink no longer owes me money. Shortly after I ran the original article Ben Pink OWES ME MONEY, the man himself got in touch with me.
“I will be at the gallery Thursday, and will have a check for you then.”
Give it a minute to sink in… Ben Pink… the same guy I told you was harder to squeeze than a gorilla… owner/operator of Launchpad Gallery (new work by emerging artists, like Chris Haberman)… offering to part with his dear, beloved money. My heart actually stopped beating for a minute or two. Read it again: “…have a check for you…”
What the fuck?
So Thursday finally came, and even though it was clearly some kind of setup, I couldn’t resist. On the way over to Launchpad I came across an angry little 8-year-old that was mercilessly taunting the elderly.
“Shouldn’t you be in school?”
“Today’s Thursday, dumbshit.”
Something occurred to me… Ben Pink and his minions would be far less likely to kidnap and torture me if I was with a little kid. “Hey, you seem like a nice kid. I’ll buy you a Mountain Dew if you come somewhere with me and pretend to be my nephew.” He agreed (obviously! all kids love Mountain Dew), but insisted on payment up-front. So we walked to the store first, then over to the gallery.
Just outside the door to Launchpad, several rough looking types were betting on what appeared to be a kitten fight. One of them looked up at me and frowned. “You were supposed to come alone,” he said quietly like Edward James Olmos. He looked us up and down a few times, and after about five minutes he ushered us over to a blood-stained side door. There was a little pink bucket full of what looked like spare kitty parts next to it. A bird was perched above on the gutter, licking its beak. I started to think that maybe showing up had been a not-so-good idea, in particular bringing the kid with me, but before I could make a run for it the door slid open.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next. Ben Pink himself was sitting there on the toilet taking a shit COMPLETELY NAKED. He looked up with an amazingly wide grin.
“So glad you could make it!” he chirped. “I see you brought a little friend, I love kids! Come here little guy!”
The kid took off.
Ben: “Oh how adorable!”
Me: “So… well… about that check…”
Ben: “Nonsense, my friend! Checks are for disabled people in wheelchairs, how do you feel about cash?”
Me: “Well… whatever’s easiest…”
He reached down to the pants that were rumpled on the floor next to him and pulled out an immaculate velcro wallet. It was black. “Almost there!” He opened the wallet and smelled the inside. “I love it!” He got up and started doing what I’m guessing he might call his money dance. Completely naked.
Me: “So… uhm…”
Ben: “Where are my manners, I forgot you were even there!”
Me: “No problem…”
Ben: “Thanks for waiting!”
Me: “Sure… uhm…”
Ben: “Say the magic word!”
Ben: “Come on, say it! I love the magic word!”
Ben: “No, the MAGIC word!”
Me: “Pay me?”
Ben: “That’s two words, you big dork! Come on, think MAGIC!”
As soon as I said it, the wallet disappeared in a small poof of smoke. Ben Pink began hopping and clapping his hands together. “Check your pockets! Check your pockets!” His excitement was scaring me, so I reached in and checked my pockets. Nothing. Just the crap I had when I showed up. I kept digging around, thinking maybe I missed something. Nope.
Me: “Ben… I don’t think the trick worked.”
Me: “I mean, it was cool how the wallet disappeared, but…”
Ben: “Check your pockets again!”
I checked my pockets again. Nothing.
Ben: “Check your pockets again!”
Me: “Look, man…”
Ben: “Check your pockets again! Pleeease!”
I checked them again. Still empty.
After about the tenth round of the check your pockets game, I decided that no amount of money was worth all of this, so I just said fuck it and started to walk off. Ben Pink ran up behind me (still completely naked) and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Dude, you forgot your money.” His other hand was extended, and was holding a small roll of bills. He was calm all the sudden. “Sorry for putting you through all that just now… You have to admit it was pretty funny, though.” All I could see was the money in his hand. “We’ll should do this again sometime, what do you say?”
“Sure man…” I reached out to grab the money, but before I could get my fingers on it something hit me hard on the back of the head and everything went dark…
TO BE CONTINUED
Until next time,