“The Street Artist,” by Judith Janeway


I don’t do that old trapped-in-a-box routine. Uh-huh. I’m an artist. I grow a giant flower from a seed. The tourists at the cable car turnaround love it. Makes them forget how cold they are in their shorts and sandals, fog whipping around their knees.

Don’t know why the lady cop picked that moment to bust me. Came right up, her cop stuff hanging off a black belt. Made her hips look huge.

She goes, “I want to talk to you.”

Like she didn’t get I’m a mime. Talk is what I don’t do. And where the hell was Digger when I needed him? I froze in the middle of watering my invisible flower and scoped the crowd. No Digger. Fucking rat. Must still be pissed that I’d slept with Jasmine. But like I’d said, “What about bi-sexual didn’t you understand?”

The cop scowled. “What’s your name?”

A by-the-book hardass, but she’d have to play by mime rules. So I gave her my “who me?” bit and added head scratching and squinting skyward like I was trying to remember.

That got a laugh from the tourists but not from the cop. She stepped closer, hands on hips.

Just then Digger showed up in the crowd, glaring at me. He held up his hand like a gun, pointed and fired. Bang!

A mime would’ve grabbed her chest, staggered backward ten feet and fallen, all in slo-mo. But the cop just went down. Plop. And everyone screamed. Even me.



Printed with permission from Judith Janeway, copyrighted by Judith Janeway @ 2015. This piece, winner of the Spring 2015 Orlando Prize for Flash Fiction and selected by Finalist Judge Joni B. Cole, originally appeared in Issue No. 18 of the Los Angeles Review.

Author: A Room of Her Own

Share This Post On