First off, I want to make it clear that despite what the tabloids claim, I was never “with” him. In that way.
How could I? I didn’t know where he lived. I didn’t know where he worked. I didn’t even know his full name, for Chrissake!
Yes, I dated him. If you can call them dates. Coffee after work, once a week, for a couple of months. And that’s it.
Art, mostly, at first. A lot about Duchamp. That much you people have gotten right. He was most definitely obsessed with Marcel Duchamp.
No. How many times do I have to tell people this? I was never in danger. Look...
Shut up a minute. I’m thinking.
Look, this was a bad idea. I was hoping you were going to be a little more professional about this, but obviously you’re just as sleaze-ridden as the rest of them. Don’t even try to deny it. Admit it, you’re really disappointed I didn’t have sex with him. Whoops! there goes your Pulitzer, right out the window.
O.K., I’ll do this stupid interview with you, but you won’t be the only one with a tape recorder. Wait here.
Why should I trust you? This way, if you distort things, at least I’ll some evidence. All right, tape’s rolling. Let’s start the whole thing over. Hello. My name is Margaret Foster. I work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I’m a security guard. I’m not enjoying my fifteen minutes of fame, and I’ve agreed to do this interview because I’m tired of the lies being published and broadcast about me. Though not convinced that the young woman sitting across from me, as charming as she claims to be, will be able to avoid manufacturing her own twisted version of the truth, I’ve decided to subject myself to her questions anyway. Why? I don’t know why. Though it occurred to me, just minutes ago, that maybe the only chance I have to escape this perpetual hounding is to turn and face the dogs. Take it away, Fido.
Six years, next month.
It’s a great job. Pay’s good. No heavy lifting. Surrounded by beautiful art all day. What could be better?
No, it’s not boring.
No. Another guard saw him first.
Well, he’d only been coming to the museum for about four weeks when he was first noticed. After another six weeks or so, every guard who could would find an excuse to walk through the Arensberg gallery to catch a glimpse of him staring at With Hidden Noise. Every Tuesday afternoon, from 2:00 until closing, Keller was there.
Some time during the second month, Chuck got the idea for the pool. Everyone who wanted to, put ten bucks in the pot. Then on slips of paper, we each wrote down our prediction of how long before the streak got broken. Chuck made a chart that listed all the predictions in chronological order, from earliest to latest. When some of the earlier predictions became losers, we started crossing out the names of those who had no chance of winning the pool. In the end, mine was the only uncrossed name.
I predicted five more months. The older guards who had seen reruns before just laughed. No rerun ever plays that long. It’s already been two months, they told me, a few more weeks, tops. It’s not like I had a feeling or anything, but Keller looked very serious.
O.K., that happened after I won. I asked for my money, but they wouldn’t give it to me. Chuck said that since Keller was still coming every Tuesday, the streak hadn’t been broken yet, and it was still an open question whether or not my prediction was indeed the most accurate. Such bullshit. Then they wanted to make a deal. To get my money, either I had to wait until the streak was broken, or I could go talk to Keller.
I really didn’t want to do that so I procrastinated until it was almost closing time. The other guards were needling me every chance they got. About 4:30, I took a deep breath, crossed the gallery floor and introduced myself.