The Fountain

By David Scott Hay


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Two no-talents nobodies have each created a masterpiece in a kiddie art exhibit at a museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. That critic over there wants to rep them. Be their manager. Guide their careers.

That critic? He’s going to find out that maybe, just maybe, they both drank from a fountain on the third floor of the museum. Maybe it’s the water that made them geniuses. Regardless, their legacy is secure. They will be remembered. Celebrated.

How jealous would you be? Just one drink. And you could be the celebrated one. But shortly thereafter, you die.


The Fountain follows four characters pulled into an existential riptide.

  • Jasper P. Duckworth, a washed-up art critic and failed playwright, who wants to champion the fountain.
  • Ross Robards, a successful TV show artist and veteran, who wants to destroy the fountain.

Caught in the middle of this impending minor apocalypse are two underground artists:

  • B, a middle-aged sculptor, always on the verge of a big break. Will he drink?
  • Jawbone, B’s talented, but self-destructive rival. Will she drink?

Would you drink?

If you’ve ever had a creative idea, urge, or just wanted to call bullshit on something hanging in a museum, you might feel the pull of The Fountain, a literary dramedy in the vein of Vonnegut, Palahniuk, and Monty Python.

Introduction by Pinckney Benedict

Warning: Side effects may include: ego inflammation, FOMO, flashbulb eyes, aphenphosmphobia, loss of privacy, stalkeritis, champagne lips, laryngospasm, combat finger, IBS, loss of common sense, cocaine tongue, chronomentrophobia, and a slight chance of a minor apocalypse. Consult your spiritual advisor before imbibing.

First 100 pre-orders numbered and signed by the author.


ISBN: 978-1-952600-04-3

Publication date: 25 May 2021

Paperback price: 18


The Fountain by David Scott Hay


"A magic elixir that confers stupendous creative powers on talentless people sets the Chicago art world on its ear in this satirical novel. A passionate meditation on art wrapped in a hilarious sendup of artistic pretentions."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“DSH is a master of plot. This thing moves like a thriller. It is literally one of the best things I’ve read all year. Darkly funny… a howling success!”

– Pinckney Benedict, Miracle Boy and Other Stories

“David Scott Hay has done a something incredible – an artful book about an arty subject that doesn’t drop into pretension. ‘Fountain’ is an affecting story about tough, interesting people who hold beauty up like Achilles’ shield against a very real, very bitter, and oddly funny world. A must for fans of sharp tongues and sharp writing.”

– Darren Callahan, City of Human Remains, The White Airplane & Horror Academy: Two Plays

“A truly unique and imaginative combination between Alan Ball, Raymond Chandler, Kafka, Walter Mosley, Elmore Leonard and even three fingers of Mickey Spillane.”

– David Barr III, Black Ceasar, Red Death, The Face of Emmett Till