THE IDENTIKIT PORTRAIT

The same weird circumstance that had granted him super powers (see “Episodes of the Belle Epoque”) had deprived Squattedman of some petty powers that we ordinary mortals possess, such as picking one’s nose, saying the word “porcupine” without having a nervous breakdown, jumping rope or singing “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush”. Other gaps in his capacity included being no longer good at remembering faces, as evidenced by the fact that he found it difficult to recognize himself in mirrors. Therefore, the first thing he did as soon as he arrived at his apartment from the Metropolitan Opera House was to take a charcoal and a paper and start drawing an identikit portrait of the man he had identified as “Cow Head”. He knew that, over the course of the days, the memory of that face would end up erasing from his head and only the fundamental features would remain: the eyes on both sides, the nose in the middle of the face and boiled spinach scattered on the hair. He was very fond of art and had some skill for charcoal drawing. In fact, he dedicated almost all night to drawing the sketch. When he finished, he slept a few hours and then did something he used to do frequently: he went to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Fifth Avenue. 

At that time the museum was empty, with the exception of a school group accompanied by their teacher, at whose order the children stopped in front of a portrait. “Who among you could tell me who this man is?” the teacher asked. Squattedman turned around and also looked at the painting. Then his heart skipped a beat because of the impression. “It’s Cow Head!” he couldn’t help exclaiming. Children and teacher turned to look at him with inquiring eyes. A child who had a raised hand asked: Miss, why was the father of our nation called Cow Head?” “He wasn’t!”, the teacher said angrily, and raised her fist addressing Squattedman: “How dare you insult our founding father?!” she shouted. Immediately Squattedman understood what was happening: his bad memory for faces had played a trick on him. From so much walking past that portrait during his frequent visits to the museum, George Washington’s facial features had remained engraved in his mind and prevailed over the facial features of the opera man while he was drawing the identikit portrait. 

But before he could explain himself, a horde of children ran towards him ready to defend the honor of the founding father of the country. Wisely, Squattedman chose to run away.


This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1914

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