All Stories, General Fiction

Anika by Adam Kluger

“That was some serious stage craft”
Anika is a serious person”
“I dig her”
Everybody does–you two should do work together. Anika knows everybody Downtown.
“What an operator.”
“Mm-huh… Anika‘s a major shit-talker”
“She has the gift.
Tell Anika that.”
“You bet I did.”
“You like her, huh?”
“In love…totally…and that’s a big bag of trouble in a bright-colored wrapper.”
“…and you’re married.”

id=”m_4295737052981987871yiv7654379787yui_3_16_0_ym19_1_1493636290715_25183″>”Yep and much older besides.”

Anika doesn’t care…she has three other old guys hanging around her like flies.”
“Of course she does.
  “Anika can get us into any club you want.”
“Manfred, this place here is pretty cool.”
“Yeah, that’s how I roll in the art world.”
“Don’t I know it.”
“You understand now.”
“Yes, yes I do.”
 But the story of this night was Anika and how she created a serious buzz at the Chelsea gallery opening earlier in the night overseeing a velvet rope and cadre of young assistants to turn a rundown space with paintings of naked women and unicorns into the hottest art opening on Thursday.
“Just tell them you are a friend of Anika‘s and they will let you in, Sherbretto will escort you in past the crowd.”
Those are the first words Anika ever said to me.
Once inside the tiny gallery, it was clear the 500+ people who clamored to get inside that inauspicious space did so not for the art, not for the artist or for the free wine (I didn’t see any). They did it for Anika.
They all wanted to be a part of Anika‘s inner circle. She was creating heat.
“I saw what you did out there, Anika,” liking very much the way it sounded to call Anika, “Anika.”  Even her name was melodic. Fluid. Dramatic. I liked saying it out loud in her presence. Her name.
“Ants will always follow a honey-drip, darling” Anika smiled sensing I was on to her magician’s trick.
I didn’t know what else to say so I blurted out that,” The unicorn paintings were really cool.”
“Really?, I think they are soooo last year.” Then Anika went on a long diatribe about her interns.
And there you had it.  The reason Anika  was the first name on every NYC club owner’s lips  was that she had a strong opinion on everything and wasn’t afraid to share it.
“Pablo… lovely to see you…I have a couple of “newbies” with me tonight, sorry about that.”
“Anikaaaaa….no problem at all…please come right in and we’ll enter your guests on the list with Marischinato  up front.”
“You are such a dear, Pablo”
“Yes, yes PLEASE come right in, Marischinato with take  very good care of your guests, Anikaaaaa.”
She was a taste-maker, rain-maker and straw that stirred the drink and the type of ingénue that men found irresistible.  Business smart and in control yet vulnerable at the core.
“That fucking cunt emo intern Scheherazade left one of our Board Members standing outside with that  crowd…she’s got to go… she’s late to the party and that’s a bad look all around.”
” So, she’s a cunt?,” asked one of Manfred Gogol’s friends who had never met Anika or probably anyone like her.
“I can say that word, you can’t,” Anika corrected the poor sod, and then she went on to school him further before she walked away. ” Just so you know darling, the word cunt comes from cuneiform, one of the oldest languages. The opposite of a mountain, the etymology of cunt is a symbol of a downward wedge or a letter V.”
Anika spat ideas out rapidly with a unique Mid-Western slang that felt so real and alive, the facts of any matter notwithstanding. Talking fast and breaking your heart, winning your trust and losing it again all in the same sentence.
Anika was fascinating. Powerful. Desirable.
“I thought it was pronounced Ahn-eee-ka…I feel like such a fool, mumbled a nameless, faceless hanger-on-her with a suit and tie. “She just stopped talking to me in mid-sentence and stormed away furious… what a fucking woman! “
“It’s Ahh-nickah,” said Manfred Gogol, clearly amused by the conversation and the power his friend wielded over the opposite sex.
“You sure?!”
“Yeah, I’m sure.
“You um, know, uh, Ah-nickah a long time?”
“Long enough to know how her name is pronounced.”
“Is she serious with anyone?”
“She’s serious with everyone, pal.”
Another guy who apparently knew Anika joined us in the lounge.
“you guys see Anika?”
Anika is talking to Rudolf the owner outside,” replied Manfred, feeling right at home holding court at the hip-looking Art Lounge.
This new guy didn’t waste any time. He made a bee-line outside to find Anika.
“You two should work together,” Manfred said to Anika, reminding her of my credentials.
“I have all my things working right now, Anika replied, I know exactly what I am doing. I just need it to be more.  Besides, work-talk is so boooooring,” Anika smiled.
Anika wanted more money, more fame, more power and she wasn’t about to waste the night, any night.
She was always on her phone.
“Fabrizio, yes I got your phone message earlier today but I forgot what you said in your message. I’m hosting a party right now, let’s catch up later when the hullabaloo dies down a bit. Ciao Ciao…”
 I was about to ask Anika a clever question to make up for my super-lame observation about the unicorn art when Anika jumped out of the chair next to me and squeezed in next to some board members on a divan. The night was young and the world of NYC was all there for the taking.
“Hello Darlings, which handsome feller here wants to buy the small town girl a drink?,”  The two older men immediately started swiveling their necks, with a finger in the air,  searching desperately around the after-party club for a waitress.
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5 thoughts on “Anika by Adam Kluger”

  1. I truly appreciated and enjoyed this story, especially since I hung around the New York City art scene for a few years. There were more twists and swirls and changes of mood and tone than in a Jackson Pollock painting (he is soooo 20th Century though).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You keep giving us these interesting and simply written characters. And the simplicity isn’t a slight, it is where you excel!!!
    All the very best my friend.


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