Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Reluctant Messiah ~ Novel by Christmas

This is a short piece from my novel which is a Work in Progress and hopefully finished by Christmas. A good omen considering the subject matter.

It was four in the afternoon when Pilbeam had put the finishing touches to his story. It ran for five columns with the photograph. He looked over the mock-up he had asked for from the boys in composite and thought it might just have been his best work yet. The three inch question mark at the top of the page, he thought, was a stroke of genius. The by-line ran just two words and whole effect had Pilbeam smiling. He could see a Magnate award for reporting excellence with his name on it.

                A MIRACLE
The photograph that accompanied the story showed James at the centre of the sausage sizzle table with a paper plate in each hand.  There were six volunteers each side of him, some sitting others standing and James had a tea towel draped over his shoulder and that smudge. It had an uncanny resemblance to another picture depicting a meal, but which was painted a long time ago in the late 15th century.

Pilbeam sat back and studied the copy. It was good, but he felt it needed something.
"Scotty, It's Nick here. Can I see you?" Pilbeam left a message on the answering machine. It wasn't long before Scotty picked up and then made his last stop for the day at Pilbeam's desk.
"What's up?" Scotty plopped down on the spare chair as the chair held its breath and braced for a mammoth show of strength.
"Just take a good look at this photo will you. What do you see?" Pilbeam watched as Scotty studied the sausage sizzle. "Be honest, Scotty." The photographer knew it wasn't one of his best and decided to take it on the chin, all three of them.
"Well it has too much contrast over here and the dpi could do with..." He was interrupted by Pilbeam,
"Not the quality. The composition."
"Take a look and tell me...does it ring any bells?" Scotty frowned and tilted his head to one side. He pursed his lips. He squished up his eyes and bit his lip. Nothing came to mind.
"Nothing yet." Pilbeam tried again.
"What about a famous painting?"
"Leonardo  Da Vinci perhaps?"
"Nada, zippo." Scotty hated to be shown up as uneducated and shifted on the chair.
"Wait..." Pilbeam fired up his search engine and found the painting he had been searching for.
"Does it look familiar?" Scotty's eyes widened as he took in the scene. "See what I mean?"
"So this guy Leonardo painted this picture before the sausage sizzle?"
Pilbeam rolled his eyes skyward and wondered if the younger generation went to school at all.
"About the late 15th century is all."
"Oh. Pretty spooky eh?"
"Did you ever go to Sunday school?"
"Nah. We kinda didn't bother with all that sort of stuff." Pilbeam closed his eyes and shook his head.
"This," he said pointing to the the Da Vinci, "is the last supper. Jesus Christ for God's sake."
"Well there is no need to get shirty. Not everyone went to
Sunday school you know." Scotty fished about in his photographic bag for a munchie.
"No. I mean this is Jesus Christ and the last supper."
"Yeah." Scotty began to catch on.
"So our Mr Cribbs," and here Pilbeam pointed to the mock-up, "well he seems to be life imitating art, don't you think?"
"Yeah." Scotty smiled and finally got the picture.
"And you think if we printed this picture along with this one," he pointed to the mock-up page, "Do you think others will be as wide eyed as you?" Scotty looked from one JPG to the other. There was a canny resemblance.

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