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Black Kingdom, Red Kingdom
Topic Started: Aug 19 2015, 12:19 PM (974 Views)
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Who is this sassy lost child
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((Min-jae Parker continued from (For a Film) ))

The most frustrating thing in the world to be angry with is the forces of nature. This is because nature doesn't give a fuck. Nature hates you, and you just have to deal with it, even when "dealing with it" means "picking yourself up off the floor and hurrying to mop up the paint you spilled and praying that nobody saw you get so startled by a sudden clap of thunder that you tipped your stool right over and fell".

That little incident put the score for today firmly at Nature: 2 and Jae: 0, accounting for the fact that he had left his bedroom window open the previous night and been awoken at an ungodly hour by the rain blowing in this morning. And it wasn't quite lunch time yet, so Jae could probably rightfully assume that he was just going to be on the losing end all day long, if this was how things were going so far.

He snatched his phone up off the floor and paused the music he had been listening to before setting it on the nearest table. Fortunately, the painting and drawing room had a paper towel dispenser for exactly these situations when someone spilled things, so all he had to do was grab a handful and get to cleaning. Jae set the stool upright again and crouched down to wipe up the paint, wincing slightly.

He really hoped no one had seen him spaz out and fall on his butt like that.
"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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"I'm fine," Jae said, too quickly and sharply. He'd completely forgotten that he wasn't the only one in the room, caught up in painting and the music he was listening to. Brendan was... well, he existed. That was more or less the extent of Jae's opinion on him. Overly nice, sort of wimpy, had been on the receiving end of Jae snapping at him more than once over the years. Not much more to him than that. "I don't need- oh, you're doing that now."

Really, he'd rather that they both pretend his spectacular fall had never happened, but Brendan seemed intent on playing the Good Samaritan. At least Jae was pretty sure that Brendan didn't have it in him to be patronizing when he offered help.

He stood to toss his dirtied paper towels into the trash and grabbed another handful before glancing over his canvas to make sure it hadn't been too badly disturbed. There was a small streak of red where there shouldn't be now; it was near a corner and could be covered up easily enough once it dried, but it did nothing for his mood. Jae was a perfectionist when it came to his art, especially with painting where mistakes were more permanent than in a sketch. He sure as hell wasn't putting anything with glaring errors up for the senior exhibition.

Jae intended to pull out all the stops for his part of the exhibition. He had one finished painting already, out of what he meant to be a short series. The themes he was going for were transformation, and birds (They'd just gone over "The Crucible" in English class and frankly, the scene with the girl screaming about someone turning their soul into a bird was the only part he remembered clearly). The first portrait had been of a woman and an owl, and this second one was supposed to be a peacock but now he'd gone and gotten red paint where it wasn't supposed to be and it looked like the bird's head was on fire and-

Wait. Wait a minute.

Fire.

"Phoenixes!" Jae blurted out. He shoved his handful of paper towels at Brendan without another word and practically vaulted over him to get to the supply closet in search of more red paint. These bursts of real inspiration were few and far between, and he needed to get back to work before the image in his mind's eye slipped away again.

He could still go with the peacock sketch he'd done but a different color scheme, play with lighter and darker accents to really emphasize the idea of fire... Jae was dimly aware that he was probably grinning like a loon as he located the paints he was looking for.

Oh yes, he could turn this around. Nature: 2, Jae: 1. Suck it, nature.
"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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"Hm? What?" Brendan was barely even a blip on Jae's mental radar at this point. He was busy squeezing the paint onto the paper plate he'd been using to mix colors, envisioning the shades he would need to get just the right effect. The bird would be the focal point of this one, brighter in contrast to the person. He hadn't done the background yet - should it be darker, to emphasize the phoenix and the fire? Just more muted? Less detailed? No, wait, he'd already sketched out all the detail, he wasn't just going to paint over that.

As he set the paint aside and reached for his phone to put his earphones back in, it registered more clearly that Brendan was asking him something. Jae didn't really want to start a conversation, not right now when the wheels had just started turning for this painting, but maybe they could keep it short.

"What?" He repeated, glancing over at Brendan.
"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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The second most frustrating thing in the world, right after the forces of nature, is people. People like Brendan, who were overly sensitive and thought that it was some sort of personal attack on them every time someone didn't vomit sunshine and rainbows in their direction. In the years that they had been going to school together, Jae had yet to see Brendan develop anything approaching a spine, and it didn't look like that was going to change anytime soon.

Jae just barely bit back a sigh as he gave Brendan's painting a once-over. "It's not bad." It wasn't; not fantastic either, but it showed improvement over Brendan's earlier work that Jae had seen. "It's not going to blow anyone's mind, but there's always going to be someone out there who's a sucker for a portrait of a pretty woman in a dress." He could have gone into a more detailed critique, but Brendan just had to pipe up again.

What Brendan, and people in general, just didn't seem to ever get was that there weren't actually that many people that Jae held a genuine, active dislike for. Every little thing he did or said didn't need to be analyzed to pieces for evidence that he hated someone. He wasn't going to pour a ton of time and effort into trying to make them like him if he didn't especially like them. If anything, his brusqueness meant that he was mostly indifferent. It shouldn't have been any reason for people to take offense.

But then there were the people like Brendan, the ones who just looked so shocked and hurt whenever there was the slightest indication that someone might not like them, and they always looked at Jae like he'd done something fundamentally wrong and he should be sorry.

It pissed him off.

"I don't treat you any differently than anyone else. We've had classes together all through high school, you should know that by now."
"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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Jae crossed his arms and regarded Brendan with an unimpressed frown. Oh, boo-freakin'-hoo. Poor little Brendan went and got his feelings hurt. It wasn't that Jae was exactly proud of his reputation, but he was self-aware enough to know how a lot of his classmates viewed him, and any one of them could confirm that he wasn't discriminatory when it came to who he took his frustrations out on. And frankly, it usually wasn't unprovoked - people asked for his opinions or his help and they got it, or they were just too stubborn or dense to accept what he was telling them. Or, like Brendan, they tried to call him out on whatever they thought he was singling them out for.

"I just said," Jae began, speaking more slowly and loudly, as if he was talking to a small child, "that I don't treat you any differently than I do anyone else. Your victim complex is not my problem. I don't take any special time out of my day to bother you, and I'm not going to change the way I act or talk just for you."
"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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Good grief, Brendan was going to give him whiplash. Jae wasn't too surprised at how quickly and easily he backed down, but the sudden heaping of compliments on him was a bit much. Part of him wanted to push back further, really put Brendan in his place, but the half-finished canvas off to his side reminded him that more important things were waiting. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, and turned away from Brendan again.

"Yeah, actually, it does sound pretty creepy, but do whatever the fuck you want I guess." He waved a hand in Brendan's general direction to indicate his lack of caring on this particular point. He climbed back onto his stool and put his earbuds back in, scrolling through his playlists until he found a suitable one for his new inspiration. Energy was what he needed. The good kind, that consuming kind that let you focus completely on a project, not the angry, tightly-coiled desire to lash out that came from their argument. Hearing another rumble of thunder outside, Jae decided to turn his volume down just a bit to hopefully keep from being taken by surprise by the weather again.

Music chosen, he looked over his canvas with a critical eye. He was thinking of brightening both the bird and the man opposite to it, rather than darkening the background; he hadn't spent hours of his life sketching out detailed buildings in the back just to make them all blend together. Maybe a sort of halo effect in the foreground would work instead...

Jae fiddled with one of his lip rings as he thought, picking up his brush in his other hand and rolling it between his fingers. Brendan, their argument, and the godforsaken weather were all beginning to fade away into the background of his awareness again, and that was the way he preferred 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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"You absolute piece of shit."

Jae liked to think that he had matured a bit over the course of high school. That he wasn't just mean without cause, that he could see that sometimes he was in the wrong. He wasn't some ticking time bomb like some of his teachers and peers seemed to think he was, just waiting around for someone to look at him the wrong way so he could explode. His parents weren't shelling out money for counseling every other week for him to not take anything away from it. He had self-control.

And then Brendan shoved him torso-first into his own painting, and that launched all of Jae's reasoning and self-control right into the stratosphere.

There was a large blob of bright red paint smeared over the front of his shirt now. This was not fabric-friendly paint. Jae liked this shirt. He wasn't even going to look at the painting right this second. If he did, Cochise might have a murder on their hands rather than just two students whose respective days had just been ruined.

One of his earbuds fell out as he whipped around to glare at Brendan. "What the fuck is your problem? Is fucking standing up too hard for you?" Music was still blasting into his other ear and he yanked the other earbud out, shoving them away without bothering to turn the music off. "You think I'm always on your case, Brendan? Huh? Did you ever stop to think that maybe you fucking deserve it for being totally. Fucking. Useless?"

Jae's hands were shaking, he was so pissed. He balled one into a fist on his leg; he wasn't inclined towards physical violence, not least because any of the more athletic students in Cochise could probably break him in half, but if there was ever a time that to be tempted to take a swing at someone...

"Just..." Jae gritted his teeth together and swallowed thickly. "Just get the fuck out. Don't talk to me." He didn't have the authority to kick anyone out of a classroom, even if he did spend more time than most of the student body in the art rooms. He also didn't care.
"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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"Fuck no. Are you trying to make everything worse? Don't touch my shit, don't touch me, just fuck off!" So not only was Brendan a clumsy wimp, he had absolutely nothing in the way of self-preservation instinct. The guy was probably going to get his teeth punched in within two weeks of graduation if he hounded everyone who didn't want him around the way he did Jae.

Jae moved off the stool and away from Brendan, grabbing another handful of paper towels and dabbing at the paint on his shirt. There was probably no saving it at this point, not with that much paint on it. Fucking fantastic. It was a fairly new shirt, too, so that was just the icing on the cake. He could feel Brendan's eyes on him still, and it was just serving to keep him pissed. "You do understand what that means, right? Fuck off. Get lost. Go. Away. I literally could not give less of a fuck what you do, as long as you're not doing it near me."

He threw the paper towels into the trash can, still scowling down at his ruined shirt. What a stupid mess this whole day was.
"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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Weh, weh, weh, I can't do anything right, pity me. Except cry about how unfair it all was, of course. Brendan obviously had that down to an art. And maybe Jae was mouthing mockingly along with Brendan's words, but frankly, he could be doing a lot worse to Brendan right now and wasn't, so he ought to be afforded that much. Their backs were to each other anyway, so it wasn't like Brendan was going to catch him in the act.

Jae kept his gaze pointedly averted away from Brendan as he moved back to his table and started packing his supplies back up. He wasn't going to be able to concentrate on his work when he was angry like this, and he definitely needed some more appealing company right now. He risked a glance at his canvas once he'd put the paints away and heaved an irritated sigh. It was salvageable, but it would take some extra work. Depending on how much time it took, he might need to cut down on the number of paintings he had planned.

Maybe he ought to base the subject of his next painting on Brendan. Then they could at least pretend it was possible to transform him into somebody worthwhile.

Jae picked his jacket up from where he'd slung it over the table and shrugged it on, zipping it all the way up to conceal his ruined shirt. He moved his canvas out of the way and shouldered his backpack, stalking out of the room without another word.

Game, set, match. Nature's favor.

((Min-jae Parker continued in Bittersweet and Sour))
"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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