Written by Bakai (Feb 2000)
HANDS OF AN ARTIST
When the German artist, Ernst Braunschweiger, died in 1985 he left a body of work that consisted mostly of small abstract flowers soldered and welded together from scraps of twisted metal he collected from his brother's automobile wrecking yard in Wilmington, California, which also served as his studio and gallery.
These intricate works never garnered much appeal and consequently ended up in the possession of only a handful of dedicated collectors scattered throughout the southwestern United States. His harshest critic, Fuzzy Bundt, editor of "Artverks Journal", characterized Braunschweiger's little flower sculptures as being more like "explosions of female pudenda."
In 1975, Braunie, as he was called, leased two acres of land outside a shipyard in Long Beach, just a few miles from his studio, and began an enormous work which consumed the final ten years of his life. After seeing photographs of the work in progress, Bundt wrote:
"Try to imagine a scrap iron penis ejaculating deep inside a welded plate vagina. Now try to imagine it being eighty feet tall and weighing forty tons." Braunie called it "Blooming Tree" and minutes after burning his signature into the bottom of it with an acetylene torch, he died. He was ninety-seven.
While sorting through Braunie's disarray of sketches and writings his brother, Fritz, discovered a deed to sixty acres of land near Garberville in Northern California that the artist had purchased in 1974, one year before beginning the construction of Blooming Tree. He also found a journal wherein Braunie made clear his intent to have the massive sculpture moved to the Garberville property upon its completion. Braunie made no mention of how this would be accomplished and in any case, he had died penniless, so there were no monies available to even contemplate relocating his final, majestic work. In 1988 the Los Angeles Harbor Commission began proceedings to have the sculpture condemned, dismantled and removed. By this time, however, Fritz had made contact with a few ardent Braunschweiger collectors and a movement was underway to try and save it.
"Good afternoon. Is everything all right here?" says he.
"Yes, thank you, everything is just fine. Nice of you to stop. Yours is the first automobile we've seen since leaving the highway," says she.
"Well, it's not often one sees a large limousine parked in such an out-of-the-way place," says he.
"I suppose you're right," says she. "Unfortunately I don't drive. I hired this car in Garberville."
"Ah, yes. An interesting town. I've rented a room there," replies he. "I'm out here to inspect this very property."
"Well, now. By coincidence I am here for a similar reason," says she. "You are not, by chance, in the service of the Braunschweiger interests, are you?"
"I am a collector!" says he. "Broadkey. Harold Broadkey is the name."
"My goodness, Mr. Broadkey! I'm Darlene Locke, and I also collect Braunies. It truly is a small world."
"Wonderful," Mrs. Locke. "If we share the common purpose of saving Blooming Tree perhaps we can explore its future home here together."
"That is exactly my purpose, Mr. Broadkey. I would be more than happy to have your company on this splendid afternoon."
"This place is beautiful. Very quiet. What are your thoughts, having been here a while?"
"I, too, have been taken in by this locale. Do you see that gentle hill in the distance? I've been thinking about walking out to it. I think one might be able to see the ocean from that vantage point."
"I'm sure you're right, Mrs. Locke. I'd be happy to make the walk with you. It is a warm afternoon, however, and we should have water for such an ambitious trek."
"Ah, Mr. Broadkey. I have two bottles of excellent red wine in the car which I'm sure would suffice. I propose that I have my driver uncork the bottles and then I'll send him back to Garberville. If it's not an imposition I could ride back with you when you return to your room."
"It would be a pleasure to have your conversation on my return drive, Mrs. Locke. Let us get started with our walk."
"Perfect, Mr. Broadkey. I'll get the wine and dismiss the driver. I've discovered a path not far from here that leads out in the direction of our hill. I am eager to get started."
"Ah, Mr. Broadkey. This is such a spectacular countryside."
"Indeed, indeed it is, Mrs. Locke. This path is very curious. Do you see how carefully it's been cleared through here? And someone has taken considerable effort to cover it with a layer of sand."
"Yes. How thoughtful. But I seem to be gathering some sand in my shoes. If it's all right with you, Mr. Broadkey, I think I'll remove them."
"By all means, Mrs. Locke. Make yourself comfortable. I'll take mine off also. That is, if you don't mind."
"Not at all, Mr. Broadkey. Let us sample some of our wine. It's from a small winery not far south of here. Very well regarded."
"Delicious! This is a splendid red wine. You have excellent taste, Mrs. Locke.
FURTHER ALONG ON THE TRAIL
"So tell me, Mrs. Locke, what is it about the Braunschweiger flowers that appeals to you?"
"I really can't explain, Mr. Broadkey. I had never before found sculpture to be so compelling. The first Braunie I saw I had to buy. Unfortunately it happened on a very sad day for me. That very evening my husband passed away."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Mrs. Locke, but I must say that, strangely enough, my wife also passed away soon after I purchased my first Braunies."
"How sad that must have been for you, Mr. Broadkey. My husband passed many years ago and it is only now that I can talk about it with dry eyes. If you are one of those rare men who possess an open mind I could attempt to describe the circumstances of his death for the first time."
"Please, Mrs. Locke, do not think of me as being naive. I have become very wizened and accepting of all things worldly."
"Very well, Mr. Broadkey. My husband was a very intelligent and oft times ruthless financier. His powerful and extravagant investment dealings made us very wealthy and for that I will always be grateful. But in the bedroom he was, well, a miser, if you know what I mean. Until, that is, the day I brought home my first Braunie. I was so delighted with it. I put it on the headboard of our bed and that night he developed a fervor that I had never imagined him possible of. He died on top of me in the middle of the best effort, perhaps the only real effort he had ever mustered. A massive coronary. I was crushed with disappointment. This is an excellent wine, isn't it?"
"Yes it is. How very unfortunate for your husband, Mrs. Locke. Your frankness has reminded me of my own wife's passing, an occurrence no less despairing than your own."
"You've dribbled a little wine on your shirt, Mr. Broadkey. Ahh, you've got it. Now, please tell me about your wife's misfortune. I, too, am known for having a liberal understanding of life."
"Very well. But first, would you mind terribly much if I took off my shirt? The sun is warm today and I seem to be sweating somewhat."
"Not at all. Take it off, Mr. Broadkey. It won't bother me in the least. And I agree, it is a rather warm day."
"Thank you. You are a kind, understanding woman. As for my wife, well, she was a very passionate person. Too much so for her own good it turns out. Several years ago, while on a business trip to Los Angeles, I happened onto Braunie's gallery quite by accident and, out of curiosity, I stopped in to browse.
Like yourself, I was immediately and inexplicably taken in by his work and purchased three flowers which I FedExed to our home in Wichita. From what can be gathered, my wife opened the package the next day and shortly thereafter went out and purchased one of those electric vibrating devices. Like most people she didn't take the time to read the warning labels. As our doctor explained it, she pleasured herself to death. Our maid found her sprawled out on the bed, that infernal machine still humming away inside her, Braunie's flowers spread out on the bed around her. Her heart had burst, poor woman... This is a marvel of a wine. I must remember to get a case of it before I fly out."
"Goodness, Mr. Broadkey, you look so comfortable with your shirt off. Sometimes I envy men not having to worry about modest decorum around strangers. It would be nice to be able to take my blouse off and enjoy the warm sun as you are doing. So sad about your wife. Sometimes the tiny writing on those labels can be very difficult to read."
"Please, Mrs. Locke, don't consider me a stranger. I would feel awful if I thought my presence was preventing you from enjoying this pleasant afternoon sun. Take your blouse off if it would please you."
"You are very gracious, Mr. Broadkey."
MORE ON THE TRAIL
"I think we are in luck, Mr. Broadkey. This path seems to be leading directly toward our hill. We should be there soon."
"Yes, we are indeed lucky. At the risk of sounding crass, Mrs. Locke, I must mention that my trousers are chaffing somewhat on my legs. Would it be improper of me to remove them? I assure you I am wearing a pair of civilized undershorts."
"I would feel terrible thinking about that chaffing, Mr. Broadkey. Take them off and relieve your discomfort. As a matter of fact, I was thinking how wonderful these sunrays would feel on my own legs. Would you mind if I removed my skirt?"
"Not at all, Mrs. Locke. There is something rejuvenating about the feel of the warm sun on pale skin."
"So true, Mr. Broadkey. Could we rest a moment while I quench my thirst a little. This is a longer walk than I had imagined. I hesitate to mention this but there is an underwire in my brassiere that seems to be cutting into me. It is most annoying."
"Let me assure you, Mrs. Locke, that I am well past being a gawking adolescent. Why don't you remove your brassiere? I think that would be the best thing for you to do."
"Oh, Mr. Broadkey. You are the rarest of gentlemen. That is such a thoughtful suggestion. I will remove it immediately."
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Broadkey? Did you say something?"
"No, no, Mrs. Locke. I was just admiring the bouquet of this wine. Superb."
"Yes, quite remarkable, isn't it?. Shall we continue our jaunt, Mr. Broadkey?"
THE END OF THE TRAIL
"Well, we've finally made it, Mr. Broadkey. Only a short distance more to the top. Shall we take another small wine break before making our assault on the summit?"
"Yes, I think we deserve it, Mrs. Locke. We have nearly accomplished our worthy goal. Cheers."
"Cheers, Mr. Broadkey. Has something been on your mind these last few minutes? You seem distracted."
"It's silly, really, Mrs. Locke. I've been having the frivolous thought that if I were alone on this hike I probably wouldn't be wearing these ridiculous undershorts. Please forgive me for making that known."
"Nonsense, Mr. Broadkey. I've been entertaining a similar thought, an image of us climbing this hill au naturel. It's almost an overpowering wish. I daresay, shall we brave it? I'll take off my panties."
"Say no more, Mrs. Locke. I can no longer resist the urge to be innocently nude. There is something about this place that has taken control of me."
"My God! I'm sorry about this, Mrs. Locke. I don't know what has possessed it to react like that. Really. I certainly didn't intend... I'll cover it back up."
"No! No! Don't you dare. That's quite all right, Mr. Broadkey. Goodness! You are quite the man. Shall we start up the hill?"
"Of course, Mrs. Locke. Lead the way. Here, let me assist you with the climb."
"Why, Mr. Broadkey, how kind of you to put your strong hand under my ass to make the ascent easier for me."
"My pleasure, Mrs. Locke. There seems to be quite a wetness under your rump. Are you feeling alright?"
"Well, to be honest, Mr. Broadkey, I have developed a sort of itch down there. Would you be so kind as to try and scratch it for me?"
"Why, certainly, Mrs. Locke. Is it in there where my finger is now?"
"Goodness, Mr. Broadkey. This is embarrassing. It seems to be more up inside. Perhaps if you inserted a finger a little ways into my cunt it would be better. I hate to be a bother."
"No bother at all, Mrs. Lock. There seems to be room for two fingers. Am I being of any help?"
"Perhaps a little deeper, Mr. Broadkey."
"There, how is that, Mrs. Locke?"
"You are so close, Mr. Broadkey. Could you nudge your fingers just a tad deeper?"
"I must apologize, Mrs. Locke. I am in as deep as I can go. Is there perhaps something else we can try?"
"You are too kind, Mr. Broadkey, but I can't readily think of anything that might reach my nagging itch."
"I don't mean to sound forward, Mrs. Locke, but have you considered my cock?"
"Your cock? Indeed, Mr. Broadkey! You are a very resourceful man. Your cock would be perfect, more than adequate for the task. Would you be so kind?"
"Of course, Mrs. Locke. If you would just lean your hands against that oak tree over there I will try my best to alleviate your discomfort."
"Like this, Mr. Broadkey? Am I bent over enough? Is my cunt accessible to you?"
"Spread your legs just a bit more, Mrs. Locke. Ah, that's it. Now just be patient while I work my cock into you. Your cunt is a little tight but I think I can manage."
"Oh, goodness! Mr. Broadkey. You are quite thick. Let me reach under and assist you."
"Ah, you are very helpful, Mrs. Locke. You've tucked me in quite easily. Now just take hold of my balls and guide me to your itch."
"Oops! Forgive me, Mr. Broadkey, I've pulled you in way too far. Would you be a dear and pull back a little?"
"Of course, Mrs. Locke. How's that?"
"Oh, you almost had it there, Mr. Broadkey. You slipped right past it. If it's not too much trouble would you work your knob back and forth in there for a few moments. It really does seem to be helping."
"More than happy to, Mrs. Locke. Let me increase the tempo a little bit. That might also help."
"Oh, goodness, Mr. Locke. You are so wonderfully clever. I'm beginning to feel better already. Please continue... Could you possibly reach around and stop my tits from jiggling while you work at that pleasant business? They are becoming a little sore."
"No problem at all, Mrs. Locke. How's that?"
"You are truly an angel, Mr. Broadkey. Would you be a dear and tug nicely on my right nipple for a few moments? You have no idea how much better I am feeling."
"It is an honor to be at your service, Mrs. Locke. How am I doing back here?"
"Faster please, Mr. Broadkey. Deeper perhaps. And harder."
"Your cunt is dilating, Mrs. Locke. Is this good for you?"
"Just fuck me, you beautiful stallion!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh oh god oh god oh god oh god! More! Give me more! oh god oh god oh god oh god! Oh god god god god god."
"Oh god. Oh god. Oh my."
"Oh god. Whew. I'm fine now, Mr. Broadkey. So very fine. Would you gently pull your cock out of me? I am suddenly quite sensitive. Oh, my goodness! Thank you."
"It was my pleasure, Mrs. Locke."
"Please forgive my childish lack of composure, Mr. Broadkey. Here, let me kneel down and lick some of my messiness off of you."
"That's very thoughtful of you, Mrs. Locke. You are a very considerate woman."
"Mmmmm. It's all over your balls, Mr. Broadkey. Please be patient while I tidy them up."
"Take all the time you need, Mrs. Locke. You have a very active tongue, perhaps you might wetten my cock with it while you're rubbing away there."
"I would be delighted to, Mr. Broadkey. How is this? Am I rubbing this beauty correctly?"
"Most delightful, Mrs. Locke. If you could manage to rub a little harder it would be perfect. Ah, ah, yes. You have magic hands. I think something is about to happen now. I hope you don't mind."
"So considerate of you to give warning, Mr. Broadkey. I'll put your knob in my mouth and be ready. I hope my sucking doesn't annoy you."
"I'm certain it won't, Mrs. Locke. Suck away, please."
"Mmmm shlup mmmm shlup mmmmm shlup mmmm shlup mmmm shlup mmmm."
"Oh, shit!! Uh uh uh yes yes ohhhh ung! ohhhh ung! Ung ung ung, ohhhhhhhh! You sweet bitch!"
"Slurp! Slurp! Slurp! Slurp!"
"Ohhhhhhh, yes! Oh, holy mother. Good sucking, Mrs. Locke. Bravo!"
"Mmmmm. What a load you had, Mr. Broadkey. It took two gulps to swallow it. I shan't be hungry for a week."
"Thank you for the compliment, Mrs. Locke. Here, wash it down with a little wine."
"Ahhh, this wine goes quite well with the taste of your cum, Mr. Broadkey."
"That's interesting, Mrs. Locke. I wonder how it would fare after a few licks of your pussy?"
"I think a white would be better with pussy, but I'll defer to your judgement. My legs are spread for you, Mr. Broadkey."
"You're sure you won't mind, Mrs. Locke?
"Eat me, Mr. Broadkey."
Blooming Tree was relocated to a small hill on the Garberville site in 1989, a project that was funded by two anonymous benefactors. Fuzzy Bundt, the art critic, visited the site in 1990, '91, and '92. In 1993 he and his wife moved from New York City to Garberville.
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