Another tunnel delay made them late. When they arrived they made their apologies and offered the reason. It was no surprise to Flexmaster Tsubo as he was well aware of the tunnel problem. He made his opinion known blaming it on,” those incompetent bureaucrats over at Central dome.” It was his opinion that since they never used the tunnels their upkeep and maintenance had a low priority. Knew offered that he would be going to the Sport event over at Patrol dome 8 on the morrow and would bring up the subject when he met with the Commander. Flexmaster Tsubo smiled and thought to himself that perhaps having this High LEB patrolman as a friend might eventually pay some nice dividends.
They proceeded to the art gallery. It was a large room, well appointed but not overly done. There were hundreds of paintings hung on the walls of various subjects, mostly portraits and landscapes. It was nothing either Kenom or Enew had ever seen. They were used to seeing only the art on Zimmnil which was subject-less abstract painting. They had never seen such a variety. Flexmaster Tsubo had collected these paintings from various painters on planets within the Flexton’s limited space travel reach.
Flexmaster Tsubo was particularly fond of his paintings from the planet Ute. He said that Ute was a small art-based planet with no resource value that had a tradition of art that went back thousands of years. Because the planet had no resource value it never became a warring planet,. The Ute’s never had an army and were never attacked or invaded. They remained peaceful and never succumbed to fear, even though planets all around them were always bickering and fighting with each other, The Utes are loved for their art and their friendliness. After every war season Tsubo said he goes there for several months to reset his thinking.
As they talked about various paintings and painters the two Patrolmen began to truly enjoy hearing the opinion of this 1,600 cubic centimeter brain. It was clear that art meant more to these organics than it did to the electro-people on Zimmnil. To a Zimmnilian art was just color and design, it was more of a business than a creative pursuit. These paintings were actually about something or someone, -and it certainly wasn’t a business. How quaint thought the patrolmen.
As much as Kenom enjoyed looking at the paintings and talking to his host he couldn’t help but think that this poor man would eventually find out that art was a business and that no matter how noble the painters were on Ute, when some resource of value was discovered there and the Electro-businessmen descended upon them, they would, like everyone else, succumb to the temptation of money. And when that happened this peaceful planet with its peaceful people would become entangled in war, politics, greed and corruption just like all the rest of the planets in the Galaxy. He had seen it happen again and again.
The Flextons with only their near space travel limitations knew very little about the planets beyond. They had no idea what it takes to survive in an Electro world with deep space travel capabilities and electronic sophistication beyond anything their small brains could conceive. It was sad in a way. Here was this good man thinking that art somehow reflected the most noble of human activities, when in fact it reflected a naiveté about the real world outside the reach of his brain power.
Still, Kenom was pleased that such a large collection of these early homo-sapiens naïve artists’ paintings existed. These paintings might someday be exhibited back on Zimmnil to serve as a reminder to future generations of Electro-people as to what was considered to be worthy subjects for artists, back before the business of art took hold. Other than that he could see no practical use or reason to keep them.
Kenom’s thoughts turned to the two small abstract paintings he had brought to give as gifts. Perhaps if this art patron pondered their meaning he would see the future of art within them. If he did it would go a long way toward convincing the Center For Brain Inclusion Department that the Flextons were close to being ready for brain transferring which would then allow them to participate in the activities of the greater Galaxy.
When the visit was over and the two patrolmen were ready to board their mini-shuttle Kenom retrieved the two small Abstract paintings he had brought along. He offered them to his host as a gift from the people of Zimmnil with the hopes that their two planets would someday share the same cultural goals. Flexmaster Tsubo was very pleased to receive such a most wonderful gift. He handed them to one of his attending Flexlords who marveled at the fine straight lines and bright color combinations. The other Flexlords gathered around the paintings and began talking among themselves. Their praise was enthusiastic and seemed sincere. It was most welcome to hear and both Kenom and Enew were bursting with pride. They felt that through art they had built a small bridge over the gap between Homo -sapiens and electro-men. Their superior brains had found a way, with these small paintings, to relate to the smaller brains in homo-sapiens.
As their shuttle pulled into the tunnel with its happy cargo of two contented patrolmen, and the module disappeared down the tunnel the Flexlord holding the paintings turned to Flexmaster Tsubo and said, “What shall I do with these?” Tsubo smiled and gestured with his hand toward the floor. The Flexlords laughed. They understood, the two painting should go into their “Friendship Gallery” which was located in the basement of the dome. Every war season they get more of these atrocious daubs from Zimmnil and rather than throwing them into the space trash bins, as they would prefer to do, they decided to store them in a dark unused room in the basement. They don’t want to take a chance they could get found, they could pollute the entire dome.