Black metal statue hoof contrasted with stormy sky

Natasha, stands with hands planted on her hips, “I think it’s just about perfect.”

Boris chuckles. “You can’t be serious.”

But she is serious, staring up at the black metal statue. The horseman is mightily gripping the reigns of the rearing horse delicately balanced on its two rear legs. The statue’s tail touches the concrete base making the third leg of the tripod but it still looks precarious.

“She wants us to find a new way of looking at the world, a different point of view. This will be different.”

“Well,” Boris says, “Just how in hell do you think you’re going to get up there?”

Natasha tilts her head and looks up at Boris, wearing a mischievous smile.

Boris holds both hands up in front of him, defensively. “Whoa there girl, You think I am going to help you get up on that ancient statue? I don’t think so. I like it here at Christie and I don’t really want to have to transfer out.”

“Aw Boris, don’t be such a poop. I only need a boost.”

“Oh yeah? What happens if you wreck the thing, eh?”

“How am I gonna wreck it? It’s made of metal for gods sake, and it’s bolted to a concrete pedestal.”

“Look, it’s balanced OK now, but the horse is only standing on two feet. You go up there you might unbalance the whole thing. So let me ask you, is it worth the risk?”

Natasha looks into Bo’s eyes. A big smile spreads from ear to ear, and she nods vigorously. “Oh yeah.”

Boris claps himself on the head. “You’re certifiable. Jeeze, Nat. If you get caught they might throw you out.”

“Come on, Bo. I won’t hurt anything … and nobody will catch me. It’ll be fine.”

“You’re missing a really big point though.”

“And that would be?”

“You take your shots from up there it would be evidence. Not a good idea. The pictures you hand in will bust you.”

“Gee, that’s an interesting point, Bo. I never would have thought of that.” Natasha carefully winds the small camera bag around her wrist then scrambles up the side of the plinth, hoisting herself onto the pedestal.

“Wait, Nat, wait, you’re not still gonna do it!”

“Sure I am.” Natasha wraps one arm around the horse’s near hind leg and reaches her other hand to Boris. “Now are you gonna help me or not?”

Boris looks at her outstretched right hand and her expectant face. Damn. “Okay okay.” Boris waves away her hand, planting both of his on the top of the pedestal so he can vault up to join her.

Balancing precariously on top of the damned thing, he draws himself up to his full height and looks around.

From this vantage point Boris does in fact have a better view of the oval, pretty empty now in spite of the fabulous weather. Students are back in class or off campus this late in the day. Nobody is looking over this way. Seems safe enough.

“I just need you to give me a little boost up Bo.”

Natasha extends her arms upward over her head, her fully extended fingers just brush the bottom of the saddle. She won’t make it without him. Unless she jumps, which would be incredibly dangerous. Boris sighs and takes one more stealthy glance around before reaching down and gently picking her up by the waist and raising her above his head. Natasha grasps the horse’s metal mane, gets a good grip then throws her leg over the statue’s withers, squeezing in between horse and general. Boris drapes his arm over the horse’s rump while scanning the Oval, miserably hoping that they won’t be caught and kicked out.

Natasha’s camera is out, she aims here and there, checking the framing on the screen back against her view of the wider world. She looks around until she is satisfied that she is really seeing. Only then does she begin taking photographs. Getting the view from here, the buildings, plantings, scattered students hurrying along the paths.

“Are you almost finished?” Boris hisses urgently.

Making sure she’s got a couple of incriminating shots of Boris, Natasha slips the little camera back in its bag. “All done.”

She slips out of the general’s grip and starts lowering herself down the side of the horse until Bo’s hands encircle her waist. He carefully lowers her half way down so she can make a gentle jump to the grass below, then shakes his head, still surprised he’s been dumb enough to go along with this crazy girl. His head is spinning, his heart racing as he glances around, certain that a contingent of campus cops will be coming for him any minute. But the coast is clear, so he jumps down, landing rather less gracefully. Rolling onto his back on the grass, weak as a kitten, he stares up at the impossibly blue sky, giddy with relief.

Natasha again offers him a hand, and this time he takes it, and she helps him up.

“Okay”, she says brightly, “I’ve got mine, what’s yours?”

Boris laughs, happy no one is slapping handcuffs on his wrists. Oh, it’s good to be a free man. “I have no idea.”

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