Alexey was senior among the four men unloading the 1.5 ton statue of John the Baptist. John the Baptist wouldn’t want to meet Alexey afterwards, for Alexey had a few things to say to him that he, John the Baptist, might not take easy and lightly. Alexey was a Christian, and quite a sincere believer, but he did not approve of that extravaganza in bronze. Alexey understood “heavy”, no problem. The problem was it was very, very inconvenient to unload and carry around because it was complicated. God, for Alexey, along with his angels, apostles and prophets, was simple. It just was. Up there. Simple.
This was why Alexey put John next to a No Smoking sign, thinking that with his two fingers raised in blessing right in front of it, John (a) would be embarrassed enough to learn the lesson about not being complicated and (b) the statue would be serving a double purpose, emphasizing the need to refrain from smoking. Alexey had thought about inserting a cigarette between John’s fingers, he even tried it out, but then looked up, crossed himself and just let John be.
John looked down, nudged his friend Peter to have a look too, and they both laughed.
– Make him stick that cigarette back in your hand, John!
– Yeah, would be fun… But I can’t really. You know, the Free Will principle! – John pointed his finger upwards and added; – He is very particular about principles!
– Well, just ask someone to keep an eye on the man; said Peter, I like the guy. Would be lovely to have him here.
Next day, when Alexey was killed in a car crash, it was decided he was punished by the God for the blasphemous practical joke on the statue, which was immediately moved over to the centre of the gallery, with flowers arranged all around it. Having finished the job, the three workmen (the same four men minus Alexey) looked at each other, perplexed, because they all thought they had heard someone say, “No, guys, you simply don’t get it!”
P.S. While this story is a work of fiction, the photograph is not, it was taken through a gallery window last weekend. Suggestions on the proper use of past/past perfect tense in this bit of a story are very welcome.