The Artistic Integrity of Carl Standish

Carl Standish was a man of great artistic integrity except he didn't do anything all that artistic – well at least to others. However, to him, he made the most wonderfully flowing lists that could make one's eyes water with the raging beauty of how delicately and thoughtfully he placed the order of each word in his daily, "To Do" list. Grocery lists were his particular favorite to create. Sometimes he'd organize them by colors, or which foods were which German General's favorite to eat. One time his grocery list comprised only of things that were in the color palate of Caravaggio's paintings. However, no one would ever know this, but him.

His favorite list of all time was for his dry cleaning that was to be done on May 28 1952. It looked like this.

1) Wool gray suit jacket.

1) Grey suit pants.

1) White linen dress. (Red wine stains on left sleeve.)

Block hat.

The "block hat" made him giggle at the absurdity of it all. For one, he didn't own a hat and so to him, in his brain, it was a social comment on the mental block McCarthy was having cleaning communism from America. No one he would ever get this, but if they did, they'd have giggled as well.

Carl's wife didn't understand his lists, but she understood their great importance to him. Whenever he showed them to her she'd stop whatever she was doing, eye them for a while, smile and then say, "You did it once again Carl."

Carl believed his wife to be the only person in the world who understood him, not just as an artist, but also the every corner of his being. Thus, to him, she was his soul mate. At her core his wife was loving towards him, but far from truly in love with him. Her true love died just prior to meeting Carl. He was stabbed in an alley fight outside a pub while vacationing in London. She only married Carl because he vaguely resembled her dead lover and he could provide her a decent life.

Though this relationship flowed nicely, was very cordial, and the sex was on par, it was bound to hit a bump in the road and that bump was Sunday, June 17th, 1956. When Carl presented this list to his wife.


1) Breakfast at corner café.

2) Pick up, Mother.

3) Stoll through park.

4) Take mother home.

5) Go to Cinema at 8:00 P.M.

Carl was especially proud of this list and though it was unseen by the average eye everything on this list was a vague reference to the subtext of an untitled T.S. Elliot poem. Like always his wife praised the brilliance of his list, and then something caught her eye. "Oh no," she said. "I can not make the cinema. I must meet my sister."

Shocked and confused Carl stared at her. She made several attempts to apologize to Carl and to ensure him his list was brilliant. That this was her error not his, but he did not to hear her. He went silent and grew despondent and over the following weeks, his lists began to suffer.

One of his worst lists was in the late autumn of that year.

November who cares, 19something who gives a fuck

1) Wake up.

2) Shit.

3) Do some shit

4) shit shit

5) shit fuck shit shit fuck shit.

6) Shit fuck shit

For the months following this list, Carl refused to shave, leave the house, and he barely ate which left his face gaunt, wrinkled and eventually he stopped making lists altogether. The stress of this made his wife grow frail and frightened of what may be coming. She took up chain smoking and drinking shots of aperitifs from morning 'til dusk as she sat alone in a dark room in their now filthy home.

Then one blistering January morning Carl Standish awoke with the most brilliant list he could ever have imagined. It simply read:

Free myself

Free my wife

Free us all

And with that, he vanished.