SL 050117 SURPRISE PARTY - John Bellany

It’s a mystery. You say this picture was taken right before the shooting? Well, it’s obviously a fake. Everyone looks ordinary– like we did at the office– but that day they all looked very different. It was strange when they called me to meet them for lunch as if I were part of their upper echelons or an employee they were letting go. But I wasn’t. I’m still not sure why I was invited. It certainly wasn’t because any of them wanted to be nice to me.

That prissy Miss Morton had on a very tight white dress with red dots all over it and blue stockings that matched some goop she’d put on her eyelids. Worse still, she’d brought with her a little Latino dog that yip-yipped every time I tried to pick up my slippery napkin off of the floor.

Mrs. Dorbert’s generally a very sour woman with puckered up shirts just like in your photo but that day she’d taken everything off to avoid getting fish sauce all over her dress. Everything! Trovall remarked that she looked better with her clothes on but she’d already had too much to drink and just let his disapproval slide.

For some reason that flighty girl Tina from the data pool was also there, sitting in a big chair with flowery upholstery. She was wearing only her panties and bra. Lacy little bits of almost nothing. Really . . . really very noticeable.

Trovall seemed much thinner than he does at work and was wearing a tie of bumble-bee silk. He also had a pointy black beard that must have been fake because he’d only had a moustache when I’d seen him at the office not an hour before.

Mrs. Dorbert’s vibrating hat was the first indication that something else was terribly wrong. Jesus and Moses, who were standing behind her, sent me a note warning that she had taken three hazardous drugs and would compromise our entire project if someone overheard them talking or blackmailed her with pictures of their scandalous behavior. Then I saw the photographer. A terrorist. You could tell by his eyes. I immediately called the police but before they arrived everyone got up to leave and the gun . . . was just there.

“In the Queen Street Café” painted by John Bellany in 1990 at Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK