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La Leukème

Updated on July 13, 2014
A rare glimpse of Marcello in Paris
A rare glimpse of Marcello in Paris | Source

We say public,

because this young man, recaptured the glimmer of fame he had had as a soccer player much later in life….but in another domaine and under another persona. For the time being he lived the life of a bohemian by day and a leukemian by night: residing in a cramped hotel room in the 3rdarrondisement, taking all his meals in a little family owned bistro in St-Germain des Pres, where the Dame who owned the little hole in the wall cooked up only one but delicious meal everyday for the neighbourhood patrons.


After the young player

solved his border dilemma with the football authorities, he was never to play soccer again. Those who saw him in scrimmage matches remarked that he had lost his desire to compete. Others saw a difference in his stride on the field, all which spawned rumors that he had been savagely beaten in the mail room’s cage where he was detained.

Some thought that his legs had been dislocated and twisted without being broken, while others conjectured, from the dreamy and deliberate way he spoke thereafter, that his mind had been tortured. At any rate, his trial, which he won, did not get much attention as it was overshadowed by another high profile trial related to some scientific experiments below the mountains of Switzerland which threatened to unleash a new predator into the world dubbed the Higgs Bison (more about this later).

So the young boy decamped to Paris to study art and something — which he invented — he called “architectonics of entertainment” in the French sense of this latter word which means something like “maintenance;” though it would be a long time before his public would understand what kind of maintenance was alluded to by the French term entretiens.

And a neighbourhood

indeed it was… all the cosmopolitan glory this city of light was known for, there also lived, in the cracks between the jet-setter tourists and the pretentious students of the Sorbonne, a community of locals recounting village gossip in odd accents. Here in “Paris-profonde” our young athlete, become aesthete, found an interesting niche — at least for his meals.

At the Ecole des Beaux Arts, so astounded were the instructors of the boy’s ability that he was eventually accused, by jealous teachers some believe, of “channeling” past masters since he barely had a portfolio going in and was quickly producing a world-class portfolio coming out (of his first year).

The accusations occurred after the boy astounded a committee of investigative professors, which had been set up to adjudicate his performance, by producing — in situ before their very own eyes — an exact copy, without any reference to a prototype, of Picasso’s Guernica, undistinguishable from the original by blind reviewers.

This created all sorts of dangerous talk around the boy and he soon had to go underground with the help of the local “St-Germain villagers,” who fed him and smuggled his paintings for sale abroad.

Guernica. An exact reproduction by Marcello.
Guernica. An exact reproduction by Marcello. | Source

However, as bad luck would have it,

one day the Mona Lisa went missing from the Louvre which created an uproar in the whole of France as had never been seen since the days of Joanne of Arc. The painting was supposedly “returned” and everyone was happy for a time, until it was discovered by the police that the thieves were acquainted with Marcello, the “nom de plume” or “brosse” rather, of our young painter.

This sowed an extraordinary seed of doubt about the authenticity of the “retrieved” Mona Lisa. Many theorized that boy-Marcello had copied the original which was still missing. The police cast a dragnet across the entire city seeking his whereabouts, offering a reward for information leading to his detainment.

Marcello had to be smuggled out of the country.

As good luck would have it, since many of his models doubled as ladies of the evening for a bordello called Le Baron (“the Baron”) the Russian mafia was able to get him down to Nice where he laid low until a relative could send one of his ships to pick him up.

They eventually got him back home near Morocco, but his name had been ruined forever as he had been associated thereafter, not with genius — regardless of the method — but forgery. His paintings became worthless. In fact, a public burning of his collection in Europe took place in a town near Madrid with the blessing of its mayor.

It is only with great sadness, that curators today, remember that time as a dark day for art, as — they believe — many authentic originals were mistakenly burned in the tarnished name of Marcello.

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