A crowd had gathered to witness the unveiling of professor Hubnoth's roundabout that for several weeks had been covered by a large piece of canvas. Everyone was there and nobody tried to hide. A band was playing while the people waited for the ceremony to begin. There had been some delay because the truck with a lifting crane could not find the village. The sun had already set when at last I could direct the driver to a parking spot behind the synagogue.
Professor Hubnoth, dressed for this momentous occasion in a sparkly seguin strapless dress, stepped onto the edge of the roundabout and welcomed the people of the village and his distinguished guests, among them the archbishop and his entourage, the rabbi, the members of the band and plenty of reporters and photographers from the local and national press. He was positively beaming.
'I will not keep you any longer, dear friends. Let us remove the cloth that covers this wonderful monument that I have dedicated to the brotherhood of men, to free spirit, the gathering of men and women.'
Professor Hubnoth got quite carried away and sounded like a Methodist preacher or a union leader calling a strike. “Ladies and gentlemen, my dear, dear friends, tonight... I give you...' Here professor Hubnoth paused. He was overcome with emotion and his voice had cracked. The angelic manservant by his side handed him a glass of water. Then he pulled himself together. 'I give you... please welcome...with a big round of applause... La conviviencia!'
At that point the band started to play some whipping flamenco music and the ecstatic crowd joined with clapping hands and cheering and singing, as the arm of the crane, for this occasion adorned with lots of colorful flickering lights, reached over the synagogue and lowered itself to the iron loop attached to the canvas that covered the roundabout. The hook of the crane swung into the loop and slowly the canvas was lifted and swept away. Spotlights from nearby buildings pierced the night and lit up La conviviencia. The inside of the raised edge of the roundabout contained water. A half dozen life size marble statues of men, women and children stood or played in the water, some were sitting on the edge. It was beautiful, it reminded me of Rodin or Michelangelo. In the middle stood a group of three figures, one men and two women, holding hands, with their backs to each other forming a triangle. It was absolutely stunning, but slowly the crowd went silent, the music stopped and professor Hubnoth who had his arms over my shoulders and had been so pleased with the unveiling, now looked around amazed, not understanding why all went silent. Not grasping what was wrong. 'What?' he asked me.
'They're naked,' I said. 'And not just naked, Marcel, your statues are véry naked.'
'So what? Naked is natural, we're born naked and even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.'
'But why so many genitals, why so large, why so pronounced, so in view. Why do these two sitting on the edge have to spread their legs so wide. It's pornography.'
'Absolutely not! It's art!'
'The man in the middle has an erection, for chrissake!'
'You never have an erection?'
'Yes, but not in the middle of a fountain in the middle of the street. Look at the people, they're angry. Look at the archbishop, he can't believe his eyes, with his mouth wide open. What have you done?'
At that moment the fountain started squirting water. Three columns of water were lit up from below. The statues got wet and their marble skin shone as if they were alive. Mothers covered the eyes of their children, men and women started yelling and booing.
'An abomination!' someone cried. Shmuel Eregast, no doubt. And then I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked at professor Hubnoth in total disbelief.
'Really?', I asked. 'You had to have these statues take a piss as well? All of them together?'
Shmuel Eregast ran forward, jumped over the edge, into the water and grabbed the erect penis of the man in the middle, broke it off and with a swing threw it into the crowd. That exquisitely crafted dick, one that would make any man proud, landed with a dry click in the mouth of the archbishop, and caused his dentures to go flying.