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(For a Film); Kingman's Movies 8 or the equivalent
Topic Started: Jul 14 2015, 04:22 PM (899 Views)
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((Min-jae Parker Pregame Start))

The good thing about working on Saturdays was that most of the time the theater was practically empty until later in the afternoon, so all Jae really had to do was show up and make sure the popcorn machine was working and then wait around for the few families being dragged to a matinee by their kids. He didn't even have to show up first thing in the morning to open up (you had to be at least 18 for that so-called privilege), so he could afford a few minutes to lean around the side of the building and have a cigarette, out of view of the road and parking lot.

Jae took a long drag and let a breath out slowly, leaning his head back against the brick to watch the smoke curl up against the blue of the sky. It was a nice image, simple and sort of dreamy, and he mentally filed it away to possibly try and re-create later.

Ten minutes until his shift started, and he wasn't exactly feeling the work ethic today. The second half of the school year would have been hectic enough without work, and the opportunity to take some quiet time like this was becoming less and less common, it felt like. Tests and projects and the up-coming school art exhibition were one thing, but the sudden interest all the adults around him seemed to have taken in his life was another.

("So where are you going to college? ...Well, it's getting a little late to still be unsure about that, don't you think?"

Bite me.)

Seven minutes. He probably ought to head inside, take care of any problems behind the snack counter so that they didn't pop up later in his shift and cause trouble.

Jae took another drag and held it this time. Yep, he should probably go on in.

He let the smoke slip out in little wisps and stayed where he was. Six minutes.
"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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((Jane Madison continued from The Tyranny of Grocery Bags))

Jane didn't mind working the theater too much. Yeah, it could suck, but hey! She wasn't working at MacDonald's, so there was that. Pay was better and the work was usually less disgusting, unless she was cleaning the bathrooms. That was a nightmarish task she avoided like the plague. Especially given she'd probably get the plague by being in there too much. Seriously, the amount of bodily fluids she'd had to clean from the ceiling was both impressive and depressing.

Luckily, today was a Saturday shift, and today Jane was working tickets, which was pretty simple. Take money/card, insert into register, smile at people and don't flip out. Much better than bathroom duty. Ugh.

As she approached the theater, a foul smell hit her. Jane had always hated smoking; it was horrible for your health, and what's more the smell made her gag. It was just an unpleasant habit. As Jane arrived, she recognized the other student working the shift today, Jae. Despite their similar names, Jae and Jane were not close. He was one of those surly goth kids that not only smoked, but was just...unpleasant to be around for Jane.

Still, at least a semblance of friendliness was expected. Could be worse; could be Caedyn.

"What's up?" Jane said in a not-terribly-enthusiastic voice. "You heading in?" After all, the shift was starting in a few minutes. Jane was running a little late, but she'd been sleeping in after a night out. Not a great excuse but hey, she was on time and not hungover, so what's the big deal?
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Ah, Jane Madison. Queen of Jae's heart, light of his life, bane of his existence from the hours of noon to seven on weekends, and occasionally weekday evenings.

They weren't best friends, was what he was saying.

Still, they'd managed to establish something of a power balance between them at work. As long as they didn't try to do the same job at the same time and neither tried to boss the other at their own job for the day, they could more or less coexist. Besides, good ol' Complainin' Jane didn't look like she was going to be at her bitchiest today, so Jae could deal. Maybe.

"Guess so." He pushed away from the wall, flicked what remained of his cigarette to the pavement and ground it out under his heel. "You got the ticket counter today? I've got snacks."
"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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"Looks like." Jane said in a neutral tone.

She and Jae didn't often interact outside of work, but when they did, it usually ended poorly. Luckily, at work they'd established a sort of peace treaty. No fighting, no bickering, no yelling. They both needed the work, and it wasn't worth risking their jobs for something as silly as a conflict of personalities.

"Almost time, huh." She said, not to Jae in particular. Brushing her hair out of her face, Jane walked past Jae towards the theater entrance. After a moment, she stopped at the door and turned around.

"So are you going inside, or...?"
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"Yeah, I... yeah." Jae couldn't think of anything else to add, so he just lifted one shoulder in a shrug and followed Jane in. The snack counter looked like it had been unmanned for more than the few minutes that Jae had been dawdling in the parking lot, suggesting that whoever was on duty before him had bailed before the end of a boring shift. He hopped the counter rather than walk around to check the register.

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty...

He tapped the barbell of his tongue piercing against the inside of his teeth as he silently counted off the money, glancing up at Jane every so often just in case she did anything interesting. She didn't, and the silence stretched on, save for the sounds of their general moving around to prepare their respective workplaces. Jae wondered if Jane's idea of a personal hell involved standing silently behind a counter with him on the other end, because that was what his was. Quiet moments on his own were all well and good, but prolonged uncomfortable silences when someone else was around were another thing entirely.

"So," he began. The lobby was small and Jae's voice naturally sort of loud, so he didn't have to raise it much to know he'd be heard. "Do you know where you're going to college yet?"

One-fifteen, one-twenty, one-twenty five...
"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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Jane nodded, and entered the theater without a word. Walking to her spot by the ticket register (not jumping over the counter like a buffoon) Jane took her spot silently and started working at setting up shop, so to speak.

The minutes passed slowly and painfully.

Eventually, Jae piped up, almost to Jane's relief. Small talk, even awkward small talk with someone you didn't really like, was better than nothing, and Jane actually appreciated him starting something. Not that she'd ever tell him, of course.

"I'm going to Mansfield. It's in Pennsylvania." Jane paused, then added, "I just kinda wanna get out of Kingman, and it's one of the only places I got accepted to. But hey, at least I got accepted." Jane smiled a little.

"What about you?"
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"I don't know if I'm going to go."

There weren't many people that Jae had actually told. Jane certainly wouldn't have been one of his confidants, but he'd gone and started the conversation so it was too late to dodge the question now. His parents seemed to understand, for the most part, and were even supportive of his suggestion that he take about a year's break to work and maybe travel if he could save up the money. Dad had offered to help him look into setting up a portfolio for online commissions if he felt so inclined, but Jae just couldn't make himself embrace the idea of selling his work to faceless strangers. He'd given sketches as gifts on occasion, and of course the work he did in Mrs. Liberman's class was displayed with his classmates', but selling it felt like giving away something personal and not getting anything meaningful in return. It was like auctioning off his kids, or something.

Even with his parents' generally supportive attitude, Jae thought that they probably expected it to be temporary. He'd take a year, get the jitters out, and then settle down and do... whatever it was they expected him to do. Graphic design in advertising, or go and sell his soul to Disney or some shit.

"It's stupid. Nobody gives a fuck until this year, and then they're all on your case about it and if you don't know or you don't want to go, they act like you'll be stuck in fucking Kingman for the rest of your life working at McDonald's."

"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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Jane found herself trying to avoid staring in surprise. They didn't always get along, but he'd hit something right on the money with that. It was just...how many times had she heard people bring that up in the last few months? It was nuts. "Oh my god, I know! It's so bullshit!" She exclaimed. "Like, that's so true."

Jane looked at Jae with surprising sympathy. "It's totally fine if you don't go to college if it's not for you." She said slowly, trying not to trip over her words. College had always been sort of expected for her; from grandpa telling her she was so bright that it'd be a shame to not go, to her parents telling her how proud they'd been when she got accepted.

And she wanted to go. She did. But now she realized she didn't have to if she didn't want to. But poor Jae, who knew what kind of expectations were heaped on him? Not to be racist, but it wouldn't surprise Jane if he had a lot of familial responsibilities piled on him, if he had a traditional family from the East or something.

"If you decide not to go, what do you want to do instead? Any ideas yet?"
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Were... were he and Jane having a moment? Jae thought that they might be having a moment. He wasn't entirely sure how he felt about that. It was hard to tell if she was edging on sympathy or condescension; he got the feeling that she might have tried to pat his head if he had been a small child.

Jae shrugged at Jane's question. "I want to take some time off. Go on a road trip or something, or to visit my mom's relatives. Just... anywhere, really."

He glanced down and realized that he'd lost count of the money while they were talking and huffed, briefly blowing his bangs out of his face. Honestly, he just wanted to dump it all back in the register and say that was good enough, but there was no getting away with that with Jane his only co-worker around at the moment.

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty...

"And if I don't go to college at all, I guess I'll work."
"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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This was weird.

Of all the people to suddenly have a heart-to-heart with about college and the future, Jae seemed like...the exact opposite of the kind of person she'd want to do so with. Still, she couldn't help but side with him on this.

"Sounds like a plan. Maybe do some backpacking across Europe or whatever people do?" Jane said flippantly, and shrugged. It wasn't that she hadn't considered such an idea herself. But with finances the way they were, she'd dismissed those ideas as fantasy, delusional even. She wasn't going to Europe, she was going to college and getting a job like a responsible adult.

But maybe that wasn't the right way to think about it. Maybe it wasn't about self-assigned responsibilities, but doing what you needed to do. Taking the opportunity to do what she dreamed of while she was young and fit and ready for it, not some old lady on her bucket list. She could see the world first, then settle down. Could she do it...?

Jane shook her head. Not the time to get all distracted.

Still, she should really think about this some more later on...
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"Maybe." Jae left it there for now, focusing on finishing up with the money and arranging it back in the register. With that done, he ducked down to restock the candy display.

He was back to clinking his tongue stud against his teeth, thinking. Where did he want to go, even if he did decide to leave? When they'd first moved to Kingman, he'd been adamant that he'd go back to California as soon as he had the chance. Maybe he still wanted to do that, but was there really any reason for him to go back besides nostalgia? He didn't know anyone who lived there. He didn't have a job lined up anywhere in the area and his savings certainly weren't going to be getting him a studio apartment in LA or anything.

He really ought to try harder at getting his head around the idea of commissions. Figure out what it was about them that really turned him off and then work on getting over it. It might have been just another control thing, not wanting anyone else to tell him how to create. On the other hand, money. On the other other hand, college, but he had pretty much zero desire to spend at least four more years of his life in school just so people could mock him for getting an art degree.

Jae sat back on his heels and sighed. "It feels like there's not enough time now," he mumbled, just loud enough for Jane to hear.
"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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Jane, lost in thought, took a moment to register what Jae said. When she did though, her thoughts snapped back from "philosophical/life goals" to "god this is weird" because once again she and Jae were almost in sync.

"Mhm, I get you there." Jane said quietly. "We've been in school out whole lives, and now we're moving on and it feels like we ran out too fast." Jane smiled bitterly.

"This whole thing is, is hard, y'know? Change is scary and hard and you can't stop the future from arriving right on schedule. We've gotta be adults soon, and we can't stop it."

Jane chuckled softly, and added, "I mean, that's getting kinda existential, but you know what I mean?"
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"Fuck adults." There was a thought Jae had had numerous times throughout his life, especially since he'd started working. Some variation of it went through his head almost every day that he had to deal with white moms with A-line haircuts looking overly concerned and asking if he was sure that it was sanitary for him to have "those things in your face" while he handled the snacks.

Sadly, "Bitch, do you think I scoop the popcorn with my mouth?" was not an acceptable way to respond to a customer, so he just had to plaster on his fake smile and say "Yes ma'am, I'm sure". "Why would I put something unsanitary in my face?" was often his next thought, but by that time the moms had usually moved on.

Jae was not looking forward to when their theater got its hands on the Minions movie, was what he was saying.

"Even if you could stop it, or like, go back, what would you even do?" He thought about that sometimes, and usually found himself at a loss for an answer. A better question was, what could you even do? Study harder? Try more clubs, go to more parties, kiss more girls? In the end, you still ended up where you were now, and where he and Jane were was Kingman, Arizona, working in a dinky movie theater and biding their time until they had to go out into the "real world".

"I just want a break. I guess... I guess that's why I want to go somewhere else. So I can slow down after all this." It was a lot to get out, all of a sudden, but he actually did feel a little better saying it out loud.
"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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Jane nodded in sympathy.

"Yeah, it sucks. I don't even know what we could do differently. Spend more time with people we don't have anymore, I guess?" Jane was thinking of her grandpa, naturally, but did Jae have anyone like that? Maybe. God, it was weird to imagine him having a touching moment with his great-aunt or something, given how they usually got on.

"I'm just overwhelmed sometimes with how much harder it's going to be. Like, working 9 to 5, and doing bills and all that crap we don't have to do normally. Like, it's one thing to do chores and work part-time and go to school, but..." Where was Jane going here? It was hard for her to decide how she felt.

"A break sounds pretty nice. Just get away from it all, travel and see the world. Or, y'know, go on a road trip." Jane smiled a little.
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"Something like that, yeah." Jae straightened up again and reached over to give the popcorn machine a thump on its side. It didn't "fix" the machine or guarantee that it would work at all in the first place, but it made him feel like he was doing something to that end.

He planted his hands on his hips and glanced around his area to make sure there was nothing else to take care of; finding nothing, he leaned against the counter top. There was more he had to say on the subject of graduation and whatever it was that came after, but most of it was similar to what he and Jane had already gone over. Instead of reiterating his thoughts, he let the conversation trail off there. Jane got it, at least. This was probably the most civil interaction they'd had all year.

Jae sighed as the theater doors swung open and the first patrons of the afternoon began to trickle in, lead by what appeared to be a gaggle of ten-year-olds fresh from a birthday party. Sending up a silent thanks that he wasn't the one on cleaning duty today, he straightened up and prepared himself to hook these little monsters up with their obligatory sugar rush.

He could spend a few more hours ignoring the "real world" outside and how quickly it was encroaching on him.

((Min-jae Parker continued in Black Kingdom, Red Kingdom))
Edited by backslash, Aug 19 2015, 12:20 PM.
"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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