“I’m just not sure if I understand the meaning of this piece, mister…”
“Chainsaw. Chainsaw McGraw.”
Chainsaw scratched at his stubble with the lengths of sharp chain that ran along the chainsaw he’d replaced his hand with. He extended his other chainsaw hand for the art critic to shake. The man took it reluctantly, shaking it delicately. McGraw frowned at the man before bringing the chainsaw to life, the chain’s sudden pull dragging the man into the running blades. He fell on it in a spray of blood and gore while McGraw turned to the rest of the crowd, pointing at one man who had his hand raised.
The man lifted his camera up a little. “Burt Diddler, Daily Felcher. Your art has been accused of being nothing more than mangled human bodies. How do you respond?”
McGraw crossed his chainsaws behind his back, the art critic still hanging from one blade. “A pile of junk gets called art these days. If I were to drop a giant deuce on the stage here, one that was twenty seven feet long, I could get a government grant. If I wrote a stage play about the coming of age of a depression-era glam rock band told entirely by pickled human fetuses on sticks, I would be given the keys to the poet laureatemobile. The only difference between what I do and conventional, accepted art is that I kill unwilling subjects and arrange their body parts in macabre displays while flaunting the police’s inability to arrest me.”
Burt sat down while another reporter stood up. “Rob Felcher, the Daily Diddler. Speaking of the poet laureatemobile, what other art vehicles have you been awarded this year?”
“Well, after five years, I finally won the Picassocopter, which I was pretty proud of. I’ve also managed to acquire the Raphaelboat, and the Davinciski. The Picassocopter has some great power, but lacks the surface-to-air missiles that make the Raphaelboat the go-to vehicle for artist-based combat.”
Rob scratched some notes down. “There was been word that rival artists have attacked your underwater bunker. Last week alone, they tried to drop an entire island down on top of it.”
McGraw grinned, sitting down and beginning to scrape the chewed remains of the art critic off his chainsaw. “Fortunately, I keep a group of mystery solving teenagers and a clever dog locked up in the basement to stop such things. I won them from a poetry contest years ago, and never thought I’d use them. Good thing I fed them every once in a while, I guess.”
“I remember that piece. ‘The Melancholy of the Woeful Anus.’ I had it read at my wedding.”
McGraw laughed, shaking his head as he pointed at a shabby-looking man in the crowd.
“Hullabaloo Jack, the door was unlocked. How do you respond to accusations that you frequently lock your doors and kick out folks who just want to waggle a little bit in a place that’s warm?”
McGraw slammed his chainsaw hands down on his lectern. “The local Waggling Kitchens provide a place where anyone, no matter how down on his luck, can find a warm public bathroom and free copies of old underwear catalogues to be used for waggling purposes. I donate to these places frequently!”
Hullabaloo Jack pointed a finger at him. “You know that many of those catalogues are fifty or sixty years old! You know what it does to a fella to know that he’s wagglin’ to a picture of someone who’s probably dead? We have pride, you know! We have dignity!”
“Guards! Seize this man!”
The iron scallywags fell down from the ceilings on ropes, cutlasses and muskets at the ready as they descended on Hullabaloo Jack. They formed a tight circle around him, wrapping chains around his wrists and ankles, taking special care not to touch his hands.
Chainsaw McGraw stepped down from his podium and walked over to Hullabaloo Jack, looking at his hands. “So, these are the very hands that can shape any image into erotica. Be it a torn shred of underwear, a strangely-shaped pile of garbage, or a carefully arranged pile of laundry, you can waggle with it. Isn’t that so?”
Hullabaloo Jack spat at him. “It took me years of training to get where I am. You’ll never learn.”
Chainsaw McGraw raised his blade, a flyer for the women’s clothing section of a grocery store hanging from it. It drew a bead of sweat down Hullabaloo Jack’s forehead.