Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Milt Montague


Milt and Evelyn were having an enjoyable afternoon as they wandered through the newly remodeled Sotheby’s Auction Galleries on East 72 Street and York Avenue, perusing all the items that would be up for auction in the near future. Many of these luxuries would bring tens of thousands of dollars at auction, way beyond their means, but they were in an expansive mood and indulged their fantasies.

Out of the corner of one eye, Milt noticed something. He walked over and looked at an impressive marble male torso. No head, no arms no legs, no genitalia, just a white marble male torso. Milt stared at it and the piece returned his stare stolidly. He stood there and read the description……” marble torso, second century Roman copy of a Greek God …..provenance uncertain”. As he stood there his mind wandered and he tried to visualize the Roman estate where this statue had once proudly stood, in all its original glory, almost 2000 years ago. The marble was of high quality, without any flaws, not quite Carrera caliber, but almost pure white. The mutilated torso mutely radiated powerful vibrations of a glorious history that ended in massacre and destruction from it’s former position of prestige.

[In antiquity barbarian conquerers routinely hacked off arms, legs, noses, and male genitalia of all the statues they encountered in their newly subjugated lands. {To idol worshipping savages all statues represented deities and by crippling them they were disempowering their enemies’ gods.}

MIlt imagined the piece standing on a base in the center of the triple windowed wall of the living room and was pleased. Maybe if the torso was ……. He decided to inquire about the item. He consulted with one of the Sotheby’s interns on the gallery floor who had very little to add, except that that they expected the piece would probably bring a price of from $1500 to $2000 at auction.

The price seemed reasonable and Milt became more interested as he pictured the artifact in his home. It would be a portal for his imaginary journeys into the ancient world. He checked with Evelyn who was also impressed with the sculpture and what it represented.

The problem was the date of the auction. Milt and Evelyn were booked on a cruise to the Caribbean that week. The intern came up with a viable solution. Milt could leave a Confirmed Maximum Bid with the intern who would then act as his representative at the auction and bid for him. They decided on a maximum bid of $2200.

The cruise was very pleasant and when they returned home were surprised that there was no letter or phone call from Sotheby’s. Milt called them and spoke to the same intern. He informed Milt that the torso brought a price of $5000 at the auction.


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