Geoffrey Long


The Kingdom is the story of two brothers living on the West Coast. The younger brother, in San Francisco, has fallen in with a group of guerrilla artists who take the "guerrilla" bit a tad too far. The older brother, in Seattle, is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend and failing miserably. When the younger brother gets into trouble and heads up the coast to seek refuge, chaos ensues.

Work in Progress

This is where I'm posting excerpts as I'm going along, so keep in mind that everything on this page is very Rough Draft. --G


Chapter 5


La Luna Bleu

San Francisco, California


            “We’re here.”

            Tommy snapped his journal shut, jerked his head up and glanced around. Leo had parked the van just down the hill from the gleaming dome of La Luna Bleu, and both he and Patrick were staring out the windshield at it. Tommy leaned over the seat and stared too. It was hard not to.

            “Look at that,” Patrick crowed. “Where there is a community of artists, there will inevitably be museums. Where there are museums, there will breed a kind of evolutionary, survival-of-the-fittest form of cultural Darwinism, resulting in big museums, bigger museums, and a few great-granddaddy big-ass museums. Up on that hill, gentleman, is the proof for this theorem, the biggest, brightest, most extravagant motherfucking museum on the West Coast.”

            “So we’re hitting this place because it’s the best,” Tommy nodded, hoping that it wasn’t too obvious that he was stalling for time.

           “Correctomundo,” Patrick grinned. “Every artist longs to present in La Luna Bleu with one of WetWorks’ enormous media-launch campaigns. If you get your work displayed here, well, hot damn, you’re one hot commodity. Have you ever seen footage of ont of their opening-night dinners? Wall-to-wall reps from every software company in the Valley, looking for someone to put the face on their latest project, and no artist walks away from opening night without a smockful of business cards, a cover article in Artweek and an entire ream of proposed contracts.”


            Only artists who had sold their souls to WetWorks could have their work featured at La Luna. While the museum had been founded by the state arts council, as funding began to run out WetWorks had stepped up with more and more donations with more and more strings attached until it had essentially bought the museum. So now, what had once been a beautiful romanesque temple to the classic muses and one of the finest galleries on the West Coast had been transfigured into a supermodern media mall. WetWorks had “donated” an enormous glass dome to be built over the museum’s beautiful facade, simultaneously multiplying security thousandfold and transforming the temple into an oversized snow dome. Twenty-four-seven, three-sixty-five, it snows inside that giant dome, with immense concealed supersilent blowers in the rear of the museum cycling the fake powder around. The really bizarre part about it, though, is that the museum is also perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific. Three times a day tour boats crammed full of tourists pass by the place. Coupled with the afternoon midsummer’s sun, the glare from all the camera lenses is positively blinding.

            That was what the boys were staring at, at a quarter to Sunday: the world’s biggest kitschy souvenir glinting in the midnight moonlight.

            “I hear that they sell snow domes in the gift shop,” Leo murmured, “but it’s a snow dome built around a replica of this one.”

            “You’re kidding.”

            “Nope. They’re like Chinese boxes. I bet if you opened them up and looked inside the tiny gift shop areas, you’d find another snow dome of a snow dome with another snow dome...”

            “All right, Leonardo, we get the idea,” Patrick cut in from the passenger seat. Tommy was kneeling between the two bucket seats, and Leo had propped himself up on the steering wheel. All three were staring at the Luna. “So, who‘s got the plan?”

            Tommy looked at Patrick in alarm. “I thought you did.”

            “Of course I do, Tommy!” Patrick beamed. “I’ve done this for every opening exhibit for the last two years now. It’s become something of a tradition.”

            “Then won’t they be expecting us?”

            “Of course they will,” Leo droned dully. “They always are.”

            “Like I said,” grinned Patrick. “A tradition.”

            “Now, wait a second,” Tommy said. “There are only so many ways into that building. You surely must have exhausted them all by now.”

            “That’s why you’re here tonight, Tommy,” he smiled. “It wouldn’t be much of an initiation if we were to just rehash something we’d done before, would it?”

            “You said this was a tradition, not an initiation.” Tommy glared at him. “That was what you said on IRC.”

            “Terminology,” Patrick shrugged, and dismissed it with a wave of the hand. “If you want to be a part of this group, you’ve got to do this. Are you still up for it?”

            Tommy sighed. “Of course I am. It just may be a little harder than I’d expected. Let me see now... What haven’t you tried?”

            Patrick spread his arms and shrugged again. “You ask me, and I’ll tell you.”

            “All right. Dumpster patrol.”

            “First week.”

            “Mail truck.”

            “Second week.” Patrick leered at me. “Come on, boy, I thought you were creative.”

            “That thing Miss Piggy pulled in The Great Muppet Caper.”

            “Fifth week.”

            I sighed, exasperated. “Okay. Sewers. No, wait, let me guess – fourth week? All right, how about smuggling one of us in as FedEx? Oh, sorry. Eighth week, right? Well, okay, then, how about hitching cross-country, sneaking a Stealth Bomber out of the Pentagon, and then crashing it through the dome and into the gallery, right under the noses of the guards?”

            Leo’s eyebrows shot up. “Hey, I don’t think we’ve tried that one, Patrick.”

            Patrick glared at him, then leaned in close to Tommy and rapped sharply on Tommy’s forehead wiith his knuckles. “Focus, Tommy, focus. Remember, slip up and they’ll catch you, they’re always waiting to catch you when you fall off the highwire. The Feds are everywhere.

            “Oh, yeah? Then why don’t we just ride that wire right into the...” Tommy trailed off. His eyes were gleaming with a sudden revelation.

            Patrick’s smile exploded from ear to ear. “Now you’re getting it, kid,” he laughed. “Come on. Let’s get in there.”