Bernard Page 11

    The two men, one of them a reporter, stare down at the body quizzically. One of them scratches his head.
    "Looks like he was burning all his negatives."
    "His entire life's work, then."
    The first scratches his head again.
    "Yeah. He lived alone for years, I hear. The office says he had no survivors."
    "So no kin to fight over the inheritance. And no inheritance, to speak of. Just an empty house and a pile of vile smelling ashes." The taller of the two scrunches his nose in disgust.
    "Carrying them down from the attic must have strained his heart . . ."
    They pause.
    "Funny thing about that camera."
    "Really. Whatever he was shooting, he forgot to spool the film."
    "Early-stage Alzheimer's, do you think?"
     The other doesn't reply.

   "He was strange about not being photographed."
    "Odd: the invisible photographer. Well, he got what he wanted!"
    The other looks at him strangely.
    "Big time!" he says, and looks down at the strangely small, crumpled body, still in its bathrobe.
They pause again, awkwardly.
    "Any of his pictures saved?"
    "A few over here. Ad campaigns mostly. Nothing personal."
    "I've heard he was mostly commercial anyway."
    "No loss to the art world then. But I hear he was a nice man, if a little strange."
    The reporter's cellphone sounds with a ringtone based on the Lone Ranger's trumpet fanfare.
    "Bob Reese . . . I'm down there now ...Yeah, tragic ... Okay."