“Mercedes! What are you doing?”
Mercedes, our white Standard Poodle, pauses, a shredded Kleenex dangling from her mouth. Other used Kleenex are scattered beside her, covering the bed and pillows. “What does it look like I’m doing?”
I stop. “You’re making Art.”
“That’s right.” She delicately rips off a corner.
I knew this day would come. I knew, eventually, we’d have an argument about her artwork. Sure, she’d never vocalized her feelings before, but I’d known that was only a matter of time.
“What do you think you can say with this one that you haven’t said with any of the five-thousand-six-hundred and forty-seven other pieces you’ve made? Don’t you think you’ve exhausted the artistic possibilities of the medium?”
“Forty- eight, and No. Paper is endlessly fascinating.”
“You could at least put the ones you don’t use back in the trash.”
“It has to speak to me before I can use it. Michelangelo never put his trial blocks back into the mountain.”
“He didn’t leave them all over the bed, either.” I begin picking up discards.
“Studio. This is my studio.”
“It’s a bed! For sleeping!”
“You do more than sleep on it.”
“Mercedes, you can’t be an artist. You’ll never get anyone to look at this!”
“I had many people looking Saturday.”
“Saturday you dragged used maxipads around the living room!”
“That was my performance art piece.”
“That was trash!”
“My audience appreciated it.”
She has me there. People did laugh. “All right, Mercedes. You win. You’re an artist. This is your studio. All right?”
“No. There’s more.”
She holds a shredded Kleenex aloft. “No more Scotties. Kleenex taste better. And stop throwing away perfectly good trash! You humans have no imaginations.”
I retreat, the sound of ripping paper filling my ears.