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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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There was something there, yes. Maxim was dancing around the subject, but there was definitely something going on under the surface. Cristóbal wasn't sure if it would be right for him to try and dig for it, but he felt like he was making progress on some front all the same.

"You're welcome, I suppose?" He didn't sound so sure of it himself. "I mean, of course you are, but I didn't..." Didn't what? Didn't think he was doing something worth thanking him for? He supposed that was true, though it was still nice to be thanked for trying to help. Cristo shook his head. "I don't really know what I'm saying, sorry. But I don't mind you being here, really. Don't worry about it."

He tilted his head to the side, thinking. There was a conversation going now, and he had to keep up the momentum. He wasn't sure what was appropriate and what wasn't, with whatever was going on in Maxim's head. He seemed fragile, and Cristo wasn't used to being the one who had to coax others into comfortable interaction.

"...Talking to people is hard, isn't it?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Land of Milk and Honey, Don't Fail Me Now · Memories from the Past