The group was becoming more boisterous as time passed.
“These conditions are awful!” cried a young woman holding a jug. Year after year I lug this thing—” Her voice was lost in a sudden outburst.
One young girl was reclining on a couch. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m freezing. It’s always so cold in here and I—”.
A man called David was rubbing his left arm tenderly. “No one hurts as much as I do,” he boasted. This arm of mine is so worn—”
There was a young girl combing her hair. “Lisa!” she called out. “Lisa” I can’t find her anywhere, and she has more to complain about than any of us.” The girl continued with her long blond hair as she called for her lost friend.
One girl wore a monstrous hat and a huge smile. “I don’t think things here are as bad as you make them sound,” she said to those around her. “They treat us right and—”
“Oh, shut up!” voices to her left said. “You’re always smiling! And here we are, eating the same food day after day after day, never finishing what we’re supposed to be doing, and you keep on smiling.” The whole group joined in the. “If you like it so much here, then you can just—”
Suddenly everyone quieted down. They distinctly heard it now, the sound of people walking towards their room. Hushed whispers filled the room as everyone scurried to find their places.
Michelangelo’s “David” bent his left elbow again. “Mona Lisa” crossed her hands delicately after she waved to her friend, Renoir’s “Young Girl Combing Her Hair”. Velazquez’ “Toilet of Venus” girl stopped shivering, as Goya’s “Water Carrier” jumped into her frame. Bruegel’s “Peasant Wedding” stopped complaining momentarily, and Hogarth’s “Shrimp Girl” smiled even more broadly than before.
None of the museum viewers noticed, though, because they were on a tour and spent only a few seconds in front of each painting.
The guide was saying from the next room, a few minutes later, “And here we have Vermeer’s—”. And then the room behind him broke loose again, with cries of stagnation and unchanging positions and threats of a strike filling the still museum air.