Sign of the Times


Photo and Fiction: © Steve Lakey 2014


Jean and Hillary always look forward to their regular visits to exclusive contemporary art galleries. They’ve been to fifteen so far this year. Here they go again!

Alain, their uniformed French chauffeur, helped them out of the silver Rolls Royce Corniche, and passed them their respective walking frames and white laced gloves. He stood back as they ‘raced’ for the entrance. Everything between these two appeared to be a competition. Alain followed behind them at a safe distance, discreetly carrying the bags. There was never a dull moment with the ‘Spinster Sisters’.

Naturally, they walked around the gallery in opposite directions. Alain tactfully sat down midway between them and opened his sandwiches. He wouldn’t be needed just yet.

At the far end of the room, the sisters met, coming from opposite directions. Alain noticed them both staring at the same exhibit. After they’d studied it for twenty minutes, he knew he would soon be required. He smiled to himself, wondering how anybody would pay good money for contemporary art. Much of it looked like junk!

Jean slowly shook her head and spoke at the nearest person, who happened to be the security guard. “Caution – Wet paint! The inherent message is a sad indictment of today’s authoritarian style of government. The Nanny state in action. A crude attempt to modify behaviour using subliminal messaging.”

Hillary typically saw life differently to her older sibling. “Oh, no. Clearly, it’s representative of the caring society, designed to protect the welfare of the most vulnerable. A throwback, to a gentler, kinder age.”

The guard tried to hide a smirk, and said nothing.

The one thing the sisters both agreed on, was that this exhibit wasn’t worth two million of their English pounds. How could they ever afford it? At this point, both ladies burst into tears, and attempted to console each other.

Alain quickly appeared and presented the ladies with their handbags. They both dabbed each others eyes with tissues. But the sobbing turned to wails, as Jean dropped her bag, scattering the contents far and wide.

The nearby security guard was only happy to help, and had all the contents back inside within a minute. Unfortunately, this was more than enough time (52 seconds would have been enough) for Alain (actually Alan, from Manchester) to un-attach the exhibit, slide it into a large holdall, and leg-it out of the entrance.

Jean and Hillary weren’t far behind him, ditching their gloves and stolen walking frames at the door.

The Spinster Sisters had struck again!


The photo and story were prompted by Pixel Prose Challenge, September 27th 2014, hosted by Amanda Lakey at

For more details, click the logo.


To view the other entries in this challenge, click the blue frog.

2 thoughts on “Sign of the Times

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