Sunday, March 12, 2017

364. Greatness

I walked into the living room of the farm and stopped in shock. There, believe it or not, was Frank Lloyd Wright sitting on the couch. He was sitting cross-legged with a pad on his lap sketching with a furious intensity and muttering to himself. I caught the words, “nincompoops,” and “assholes,” but not much more.

Could it be? Of course not. “C. W.,” I said. He ignored me. “Want to tell me what’s up?” He continued sketching. I sat in a chair in front of him and stared until he finished with a flourish and looked up. I said nothing.

“What?” he said.

“You tell me.”

“I’m preparing plans for some improvements to this place,” he said. “I’m going to make it a great place to live in again.”

“Oh,” I said. “so you think it is worth saving?”

“With my talent and your money, yes. It has many nice features.”

“Such as?”

“The simple roof design is very functional,” he said. “Simple and functional. And,” here he winked, “you know that, with both women and buildings, form follows … ,”

“Function,” I said. “What else?”

“The great front porch,” he said. “Perfect for sitting and entertaining guests. Imparts a cordial personality to the place.” He made a note. “Make north entry great again,” he said as he wrote. Then he looked at me.

“Anything else?” I asked.

“The security windows. It is most wonderful to feel safe in a home.”

“That’s nice. Anything else?”

“One must mention the spacious feeling afforded by the high ceilings. Evokes the comfort and ease of an era of light and air.”

“So. What’s next?”

“Next,’ he said, “we make the home great again with some wonderful improvements I have planned. You’ll love them.” He dug into the pile of papers and produced a writing pad. After flipping a few pages, he asked if I’d like to know the changes.

“Of course,” I said.

“First,” he said, “I plan to flatten the roof. As it stands now, it is too high-peaked to allow the chimney required for the massive fireplace I’ve planned for the west fa├žade.”

“But,” I said, “I thought you said … ,”

“Quiet,” he said. “Never interrupt a genius while he is talking.” He consulted his notes. “Next, the front porch has to go. It’s a complete waste of space.”

I started to speak but he silenced me with glare that would have penetrated a steel wall.

“Next we’ll remove those security windows. They mar the historic character of the building. They didn’t have security window back in the 1800s when they built this place.”

I was too shocked by now to speak.

“And,” he said with no small amount of pride, “I plan to lower all these ceilings in order to save on heating costs.”
Maybe we should just tear it down,
and build something different. - C.W.

I struggled to find my voice.

“I’m going to make this home great again,” he said, lowering his pad.

The returned my voice to me. “By destroying the very things that made it great in the beginning?”

“You’re going to love it,” he said.

“Have you talked to my wife about it?”

“He pulled a pipe from his coat pocket and thrust it into his mouth. “You seem to forget that I’m the genius here. I’m brilliant.” He produced a match and lit the pipe. Taking a puff and exhaling, he said firmly, “And you mustn’t forget that you are the supreme leader of this house. If Mrs. Big Dope says one word in disagreement, you should just … ,”

A female voice erupted from the back of the house. “All right. Who took out this window?”

I had turned toward the voice. When I turned back, the architect of my troubles was gone, leaving only a pile of papers and a faint wisp of smoke.

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