s shuffle around the room in the same direction, clockwise
, like cattle being invisibly prodded along. Wooden faces, very quiet. Black headphones are on the heads of many, blocking out the world, so that they are alone in a crowd
A family walks past stopping before a painting. All four, mother, father, young girl and boy, wear the headphones, wire trailing down to a black box clipped onto their right hips. Sounds of voices escape from the ear pieces, but not the words. It's the same voice at different points in time, unintelligible.
"Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark" by Jan Brueghel The Elder. They stand to look at it for a moment, blankly, listening to the buzzing within their ears. The father turns and herds them along to the next room. The girl looks back briefly at the piece as they shuffle away. I wonder what she would have asked if they had discussed the painting instead of having a tape drone on about it emotionlessly.
How did they make the bright colors Daddy?
Look at the frame, Mommy! It's like a basket surrounded by water. Did he do that on purpose?
How did Noah know he had a mommy and daddy of each animal?
How did he fit them all in the ark and was there really a flood?
Unspoken questions flit across her face. Curiosity unfed.
They move away with only the sound of sneakers squeaking against polished wood floors. Together, yet apart.