naked royalty

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Mama why’s the lady wearing a crown?

Published August 20, 2012 by Sandee

“Mona, don’t, worry about your work,” says Vincent, the Director of Visitor Services.

Mona screams, “But Bobbi will be upset!”  Vincent stands a foot away from Mona’s desk with the blanket from the nurse’s office.  He steps toward her slowly.  His eyes narrow.  He imagines approaching a wild animal and calms himself.  Wild animals smell fear.

“Please Mona!”  He says.  The Personal Director, Maria, finally comes.

“Maybe it would be better if you…”  He thrusts the blanket at her.  Mona is partially obscured by the desk, which has a high shelf extending vertically from the edge.

Museum visitors swarm, whispering, peering around him, looking at Mona.  He radios back-up security.  People herd their children away.  Maria index fingers him over as she backs away Mona.

“Let’s wait.  We don’t want to make this worse,” she said, thinking of course it would be Mona.

She was drunk Tuesday, and had a fight with Winston on Thursday.  They should have sent her somewhere then.  There would have to be from this point on, some written protocol.  She’s a good employee, but, too many problems — that guy who left, the cancer scare, her mother dying…  Two years ago they took a collection to pay her rent.  Poor thing – how much could one person take.  But Maria thinks, She’s a mess, spilling her guts all over the place – really!  A person needs to take control of their own life. 

“You’re right.  We should wait,” says Vincent, looking at Mona behind the reception desk, which functions as a customer service desk at the museum.

Mona staples papers, placing them in the stapler on the desk and banging the top.  It echos like gunshots.  She does this several times then adjusts the tiara on her head.

A boy says, “Mama why’s the lady wearing a crown?  She looks like that statue we saw at the other museum.  But the statue wasn’t wearing a crown.”

“Well…she’s a performance artist.”

“What’s that?”

“Artists who perform — artistically — c’mon honey let’s go see the paintings upstairs.”

“No mama I wanna watch the lady.”

Mona stands up and grabs a pink file at the end of the desk.  A cluster of well-dressed middle-aged women gasp.  Mona addresses them.

“Hope you enjoy your visit.  Let me know if I can help you in any way.”  The women waddle quickly to the elevator bank.  Shrugging, Mona sits behind the desk again.

Sirens wail outside.  Vincent and Maria jog to the entrance of the museum.  They address the three EMT workers entering the museum.

“She’s over there,” says Vincent sadly.

“Is she on drugs?  Is she trying to hurt herself or anyone else,” says the taller one.

“No she’s just naked,” Maria says nearly whispering.