The Death Artist

Synopsis: Ten Years have passed since Kate McKinnon traded her NYPD badge for a lucrative career in the arts. But when a string of exquisitely ritualistic murders begins plaguing the New York art scene, Kate ...




The cavernous CLUB is packed with a cross section of ARTISTS, POETS,


assorted characters, standing at the bar and seated at tables -

bizarre PAINTINGS and SCULPTURES adorn the walls -

CLOSE on a BOOM BOX on a stage - the tape rolls, and soon strange

industrial music begins to blare from the box -

MAXWELL, an eccentric - looking man with a goatee and various

PIERCINGS on his face, stands on the stage in front of a microphone

- an abstract PORTRAIT hangs on the wall behind him -


I will talk to you of art, for

there is nothing else to talk

about, for there is nothing is nothing but

homeless traveler on the RTD

of art...

We pull back to see PATRONS sitting at tables amid various

sculptures, paintings, and displays of questionable artistic promise



Burn gas on the freeways, and whip your

sour cream of circumstance...flip at

your channels and plod at your monitors...

Soon we see WALTER PAISLEY, a meek, unassuming bus boy, work his way

around the tables, taking empty drinks, emptying ashtrays, all the

time listening to the performer on

stage -


Creation is, all else is not...

what is not creation is meatless

sausage, and rice cake, let it

all crumble to feed the artist -

Walter passes a table where an upscale ART DEALER with a ponytail

interrupts his prospective client to answer his

cellular phone -


The artist is, all others are not, a

canvas is a canvas or a painting, a

rock is a rock or a statue, a sound

is a sound or it is music, a preacher

is a preacher or an artist -

Walter passes ART, seated with two attractive women - he rolls

himself a cigarette, nodding in approval to Maxwell -


Where are John Joe Jake Jim Jerk,

dead dead dead, they were not born

before they were born, they were not

born, where are Leonardo, Mozart,

Shakespeare, alive alive alive, they

were born -

Walter continues to bus the room - he pauses to stop and listen to

Maxwell - he then looks over a MAN'S shoulder - he is sketching -

Walter observes the SKETCH -

POV It is a fairly good sketch of the room -

LEONARD, the artsy manager of the club, notices Walter pausing to

listen -


Bring on the multitudes and the

multitude of fishes - feed them

that you will be satisfied,

nourish the artist, stretch their

skin upon an easel, crush their

bones into a paste, so that he may

mold them, let them die, and by

their miserable death become the

clay in his hands, that he might

form an ashtray or an ark - that he

might take you in his magic hands

and wring from your marrow wonder -

all that is comes through the eye

of the artist -

Walter moves on - sees an attractive woman, CARLA, who opens a

MANILA ENVELOPE and removes some HEAD SHOTS of herself -


The rest are blind fish, swimming

in the cave of aloneness- swim on you

mortal and muddling maddened souls -

and dream, of one bright and sunny

island - some artist will bait a hook,

and let you bite upon it, bite hard, and

die -

Walter looks at Carla's picture -


In his stomach, you will feed


Maxwell turns off the tape, and the audience applauds -

Carla then looks up to see Walter looking at her picture - he

awkwardly smiles at her and she smiles back -

Leonard then approaches Walter -


Walter, what are you doing?


I was just looking at Carla's



Well that's not what I pay you for,

now is it?


Well I was uh, just looking...

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Jonathan Santlofer

Jonathan Santlofer is a writer and artist. He has published five novels, including the bestselling “The Death Artist,” numerous short stories, edited several anthologies and is the Director of the Center for Fiction’s Crime Fiction Academy. He is also a painter who has exhibited worldwide. Santlofer lives and works in New York. He is currently finishing a new a novel. more…

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Submitted on August 08, 2016

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    "The Death Artist" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <>.

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