issue 23 :: June 2014

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Photo — Text 2

Photo—Text (photo-minus-text) is a recurring series of captions written by one person to photos taken by another. There may not be any rational link between the two. The photos might take you on a journey, the words may take you on another.

Photos: Jennifer LaSuprema — Texts: Josh Ronsen

Like Spinoza, I was summoned to Jewish headquarters, now located in downtown Cleveland. I was sure I was in trouble, but for what?
At first they had me wait for hours in a tiny, darkened room—were these people escapees of the Soviet system?—which wasn’t so bad. I had plenty to think about. What was bothersome was the brick wall that was my only view; there were no other buildings next to the building I was in. Where did the wall come from?
As it turned out, I was not in trouble, exactly. The leaders wanted my thoughts on the whereabouts of a photo-realistic painting of a lush, green pond. From the disappointed tone of their questioning, they hinted that I was somehow involved with the painting. There was nothing I could tell them. “Stay near where we can find you,” they ordered me, without offering any explanation.
Donuts, that’s what I needed. But at the corner store across the street, all I could find were "mini" donuts. That wouldn’t do at all.
Going back and looking in the cafeteria at HQ couldn’t hurt. Would a pie help me? Yes, but not those pies.
Making a wrong turn, I was lost in a maze of seemingly identical looking corridors that led nowhere.
Finally, in a hidden corner, some real food. Could I have bite? No? OK. I see the exit now, I’ll just grab something from outside.
Fuck. Me.
Wandering around, getting more desperate for food, but only the most appropriate food, it soon got dark and I found myself on a mysterious back street. Didn’t my friend Carol Clifford live around here? She’d have food. She’d know what to do.
The door to Carol’s apartment was ominously ajar when I located her place. Where was she? As I cautiously entered her room, I noticed on the far wall a rectangular space not as faded as the surrounding paint. I was struck by the realization that until a few minutes before here hung the painting the Jewish leaders were looking for. Who took it? Where? On the floor was a scrap of paper with an address on it.
Excerpt from Police Report: “Person of interest, Mr. Josh Ronsen, last reported seen entering back entrance of abandoned insurance adjusters building at East 140th and Kinsman. Subject not seen since. Back entrance upon inspection has been boarded up for decades.”
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