The Man Who Painted His Wife Red by Ken Poyner

What should he do with the red paint? Before he took it from the paint store he had thought he wanted the color blue. But then he realized he had no plan for what was going to be done with the paint; so, as he thought about the paint itself in ever more detail, what color paint he would take became less an option than a serendipitous outcome, and he began to focus on the body of the actual theft, the many distinct steps in the process. A quart, a gallon, a five-gallon barrel? One container, yes, but what size container? Perhaps he would choose by the ethereal esthetics of the label. And once a prize is selected: out the backdoor, or straight through the front door? Mix the purloined paint in with other legitimate purchases, a hidden conquest in with the properly enrolled? Dodge innocently away with the paint concealed within his jacket? Drop a shoulder and run full-out, knocking over an out-of-frame incoming patron? And the security cameras. This most perfect of thefts must be filmed. Every moment of it. Employees for years will have to watch the video, be lectured on how to recognize even grandly accomplished petty criminals. They will endure being told: see how he cases the aisles, see how he comforts the merchandise, see how he calms security with his eyes, see how he consumes the air of each yawning exit. Overly confident managers will say: let this splendid artist keep the paint; the lessons of this video will serve us much more.


After years of impersonating a Systems Engineer, Ken Poyner has retired to watch his wife continue to break world raw powerlifting records. Ken’s two current poetry and four short fiction collections are available from Amazon and elsewhere.


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