Prose Fiction · scripts

Paint No Rest for the Wicked



X: I think I downloaded a virus.

Y: A virus?

X: (affronted) Yeah, I mean, not on I don’t go looking for these things.

Y: What were you looking for?

X: The old Microsoft Paint.

Y: For…

X: Nostalgia. Back in middle school I had a computer with no internet connection – for homework. So I became the master of Paint. I learned all the tricks. (beat) But this version’s too flashy.

Y: (beat) Wait, we’re talking about MS Paint?

X: Yeah, look at this new garbage. (motions to computer) See, I liked the garishness of the old Paint, the kind on Windows XP. The brush strokes didn’t fade or blend like this.

Y: (non-committal) Uh-huh.

X: So you could make these bold, solid, ugly lines. And, as long as you closed your strokes correctly, you could fill the shapes with any garish, bright color you wanted. Complete fill. No fuzz or matting on the edges.

Y: I’m not sure I…

X: Gosh, I had so much fun. Painting edits of my friends’ photos. They were so cartoony, but I loved using the eyedropper and pencil tools to blend in microscopic patches of colors, pixel by pixel sometimes. The clicking got tedious, but I was drawn to it, this idea that with enough patience I could construct the Mona Lisa. It felt like I was interacting with the smallest possible unit of art.

Y: (beat) Don’t you…have a paper to finish tonight?

X: I’m waiting for a page to load in another window.

Y: Dang. That’s a slow connection.

X: Yeah, I think it’s from the virus.