“Don’t you love it?” She asked, entirely without sarcasm.
“It… it looks like an anus!”
“Well, sure, to you! But that’s the beauty of it – is it an anus, or is it not?”
He stared at her, mouth agape, searching for the joke. “I’m not going to spend $14,000 on a picture of an anus.”
“Well, it could also be where an asteroid hit earth. Or the top of a volcano. Or a very strange insect!”
“Darling, it’s an asshole. And those are two butt cheeks. And over there is the small of the back…”
“According to your interpretation! But you see naked women everywhere. I see some brilliant brushwork and vibrant colors.”
“Can’t we just get the other one? The respectable landscape over there?” He gesticulated wildly, exasperated, and suddenly feeling choked by his top shirt button.
“This one might be a landscape too. And it’ll match the shower tiles so perfectly.” She was staring intently at the puckered picture, with a furrowed brow, taking in every line.
“Wait, you want this for the bathroom?!”
“Well yes, that’s what we’re shopping for, aren’t we?”
“You’re asking me to buy a $14,000 picture of an asshole! For us to stare at while we we’re on the shitter?!”
“Well, if you’re going to insist that it looks like a woman’s posterior, then yes. Frankly, I think it looks more like a beautifully wizened peach…”
“A goddamn, rotten peach, what in the world….” He began to mutter incomprehensibly, even to himself.
“Well it’s abstract, dear.”
“There’s nothing abstract about it. Look at the goddamn title.”
“It’s called The Throne. That could mean anything! Mother Earth has a throne, too, I imagine…”
“I’d rather have a photograph of my own damn asshole than this $14,000 piece of crap.” He almost chuckled at his own pun, but refrained, lest she begin to think he was softening on the idea.
“Well, with enough filters, I’m sure a photograph of your anus would be quite lovely, sweetheart… if a bit…woolly.”
“Oh, now we’re talking about how kempt each others poopers are, is that it?!” He suddenly became aware of eyes on him, and looked behind him to see a very stern gallery owner staring at them over her thick-rimmed glasses.
“It was just an observation, dear, nothing to get defensive about. You know I like how furry you are.”
“I’m not going to stare at a $14,000 anus while I’m pooping.”
“Darling, you’ll be staring at your phone, and you know it. What else do you do for hours in there?”
She had a point. “Then why hang anything at all?!”
“Because I like to be inspired, dear, and this painting inspires me!”
He searched her face again, desperately seeking a sparkle of jest. But, finding none, he was defeated. “Eating prunes would be a lot more inspiring – and cheaper,” he replied, as he walked to the counter to pay.