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“The people of this world are all a part of an algebraic equation. Most people who are wealthy and well off are variables, the less fortunate are numbers, and the ambitious and hardworking are the mathematical signs. The rich have a choice; they can be who they like and are thus the variables. The people who are poor are numbers; they have a definite condition and usually do not have a choice. The ambitious are the signs because they are the ones that make things happen, without them there wouldn’t be an equation. The people who are unfortunate and live in poor conditions are on the left side of the equation, the people who are wealthy are on the right. This means that the few rich equal to the numerous poor. The equal sign is a combination of luck and will, will being the top line, and luck being the bottom line of the equal sign. Will always surpasses luck.

“Math makes everything make sense. It’s everywhere. A romanticist can never be a math sign, because they do not make things happen. One may argue that a romanticist writes novels and paints intricate pictures. I say that those things do not make anything move forward. One may argue that art can inspire. Art cannot inspire, art itself is the cause to distress. Math is definite, complete, and absolute. It is a bracket, you cannot escape this bracket.”
“But sir-“
“No buts, math is absolute there is no replacement. If you want to be in this course you must share these feelings and become wholly immersed in them. Do not fall for art, it is a trap.”
“Isn’t math what inspired art? Like geometry”
“Art is a false expression. You express yourself in art. Math expresses vision, not imagination. Learn the difference.”
“It’s dark; shouldn’t you be in your dormitory?”
“Yes, but I was just thinking about your lecture this morning.”
“I think we already talked about this-”
“Yes, but-“
“Go to sleep Flanders”

“I lay awake in my room, where a bulb with compromised batteries flickers overhead. There is something about the way Professor Murphy talks, something that tells me that there was a reason behind his reasoning. I sit up on my bed, ponder the thought, and take out my easel.”

“I don’t understand why you’re so interested in his personal life”
“May, you don’t see it, there’s something that tells me this is the biggest thing I will ever investigate”
“You investigate? Hah.”
“I imagine what it would be like to be professor Murphy’s exponent, to be Mr. Murphy over Mr. Murphy, and multiply him by himself, by himself, by himself and on. I imagine it would be like a Vermeer, common, yet intriguing.”

“I’m sorry; I’m getting bored of this, if you want to go about being who you are, so be it, I won’t be beside you.”
“You don’t understand, this is what I do, my profession, we can live through this, can’t we?”
“How can you be so blind? Your life is so unstable, you earn next to nothing, all for the love of painting. Just take on something else?”
“But, it makes me happy!”
“Fine, good bye.”
“Ciara, wai- Oh good lord!”
“There is a formula you should always remember, KISS, keep it simple stupid. Especially in this course, that’s why in all your life you’ve learned to simplify, re-simplify, and simplify even further. There’s no need to multiply your troubles, math doesn’t have to be hard.”
“Hey Flanders, got a pencil?”
“Uh, no, sorry, I type.”
“Finally, you must always remember that an answer is an answer is an answer…”
“Hey, sorry about laughing at you earlier”
“Oh no, don’t worry about that”
“As you know everything in life is definite or indefinite…”
“So, what were you saying about Mr. Murphy?”
“Oh, I just think that-“
“Yes sir?”
“Talking in my class? Shame on you, leave this hall, now”
“Yes sir…”
“I do not want to do this, but you leave me no choice, you see we’re reasonable men, so let’s solve this like we are”
“Yes sir”
“And stop calling me sir, this isn’t military camp.”
“Yes sir-uh, Mr.”
“I don’t want you to multiply your problems, just watching your back kid”
“Years ago, it happened”
“Tell me”
“You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you”
“After my wife died, I-I”
“How did she die?”
“She was angry at my love for painting, she didn’t understand… all my fault, all my-“
“You painted?”
“Yes. Uh, anyway, she got run over by a car, her face was burning, her hair a mess, her eyes fiercer than the snowstorm we were in, she just didn’t pay attention, and she-she-she-”
“She looked like a tornado that night, a beautiful tornado that you would stop to stare at. After that, my life just got turned upside down”
“And then?”
“The rest is too impossible to believe”
“You gave up on art and pursued something that would’ve made her happy while she was alive?”
“Unfortunately, it’s much more complicated than that”
“Tell me!”
“I have to go, have a good night Flanders”
“I wish the same for you sir”
“I told you to stop calling me that”
“Today, after a whole year of studying and befriending Mr. Murphy, I have come to figure out that he was in fact a romanticist himself. After the tragedy, he just hasn’t been the same. He says there is more though. How could that be? I need additional information. For now, I will paint, in spite of Mr. Murphy and his conflicting loves.”
“Flanders, what are you-?”
“What are you doing here?”
“I asked first”
“Isn’t it obvious, this is my case, been on it forever. What are you doing here?”
“Fine, you caught me; I am interested in this ‘case’ of yours. Shh, someone’s coming”
“People are strange, when you’re a stranger; faces look ugly when you’re alone, when you’re strange, when you’re strange…”
“He’s a nut job that’s what he is”
“Women look wicked when you’re unwanted…”
“He’s coming here, oh good lord, May?”
“Just keep quiet”
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing, searching his pockets”
“I hate closets”
“The blue tie or the black tie? Hah, who am I kidding, I can make my own tie! Faces come out of the raaaaiiiiinnnn, when you’re straaaannge”
“What was that? Who’s there? I must be imagining things, ha-ha”
“You stepped on my toe you idiot!”
“Sorry babe”
“I’m not your babe”
“Oh, look at the time, better get going. People are stran-”
“Phew, he’s gone”
“At long last”
“Hurry, get out of this old closet, so we can get snooping”
“Alright, alright.”
“Is it just me or are his clothes…all the same?”
“Wet too”
“I got some red stuff on my hand”
“No, it’s thicker, and doesn’t smell bad either”
“It smells like-“
“Like paint”
“That’s weir-“
“Hey, take a look at this!”
“A canvas?!”
“You bet!”
“Uncover it”
“Mr. Murphy, err…it was all her idea!”
“I can get you expelled”
“Listen, we can explain”
“My painting, hands off thieves!”
“What’s on it anyway, rip the covering May”
“Is that you?”
“And your dead wife?”
“Flanders, that’s your signature!”
“What, it can’t be, it is!”
“I think you have some explaining to do Mr. Murphy”
“If I tell you, you won’t tell anyone? It will ruin me, and my career.”
“We won’t, right May?”
“Yes sir.”
“Alright, but you might not believe me”
“Oh, after tonight, we’ll believe anything.”
“Well this story sure is something”
“Go on”
“Most stories start with ‘years ago’ but this one starts with ‘years from now’. I am from the future, your future, Flanders. Picasso, I’m sure your familiar with the name, had secretly donated his ashes and requested them to be used as paint. That paint will be considered the most priceless thing in artistic history. At an art competition, you won those ashes. You painted something, something unlike anything else, you painted Picasso. That Picasso came to life. He was obviously a special man, a magician of sorts, and he brought himself to life.

“Here’s the hard part…I am Pablo Picasso”
“You’re WHAT?!”
“Picasso. I wanted to come here to stop you from remaking me in the future, because I’m miserable and lonely in my time and no one seems to believe that I am Picasso. I guess it’s my fault I wasn’t very fond of pictures as a young man. You killed my wife in the portrait too, just makes me all the lonelier. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go back in time and stop myself from requesting my ashes from being turned into paint, but I think that my ashes being turned into paint is very symbolic. To conclude, you drew me with me, sold me to me, and I came here to meet you to stop you from drawing me with me. Sorry, it’s a little confusing.”
“I, we, don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t believe me?”
“I – uh”
“I told you. You’re all the same; you have the understanding part of you subtracted. Besides, if you don’t believe me, you’ve already started the first draft of the painting.”
“I may be a little tempestuous, my mind may be quite feral, I may prowl upon your withered soul, but my actions mean not to peril.”
It was written in small writing beneath the painting. Picasso stood drenched in a fierce rain, his clothes tumbled and torn. His eyes looked towards the darkly painted azure; the darkened atmosphere engulfed him in a merciless hunger. His mouth was open, he was screaming, but from the looks of the rest of his body you probably wouldn’t think so; standing as if anywhere. She was on the floor beside him, not a single drop of rain touching her, her blood ran from her hand meeting Picasso’s foot. A triangular part was formed in the rain. She wore a cliché white dress, and she beheld a dramatic picturesque death pose. The man who had run over her was partially out of his car, his mouth in a perfect ‘o’. His family of three daughters and his wife were looking anxiously out at the scene from the wipers in mid-swish. It was so oddly angled it seemed as if she was slipping onto the sky, yet the sky was dragging the ground to a single meeting point. It was painted as if from the perspective of a mouse tilting its head sideways. A focus was drawn on her battered arm, and her face pushed back against her back. A storm cloud hung overhead, like a whirlpool in the sky. It all seemed pointed oddly yet angular somehow. It was truly a Picasso, too much for the left brain to handle, something only dreamers would understand.

“I believe you.” He whispered to the moist air of the night. The shadow of the canvas lurked in a corner, a tangled portal emanated a buoyant energy and Picasso was born.

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