Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#5 - La Pietá

“What do I feed it?” Banks asked Elliot through the phone; holding up the tiny sleeping dragon closer to her face to closer examine it.
“Lizard food?” He suggested
“Does it really count as a lizard?” She asked putting the dragon whose total length was about three and a half inches. Banks hadn’t been quite sure what to expect when the little box showed up on her door step with little air holes burned through the top of the box. The note that had come with it read This is as big as it’s gonna get.
“Sure it does why not?” and she didn’t see why not. The little dragon was just like a lizard with it’s own tiny wings to match it’s red body. “Have you decided what you’re calling it?” Elliot asked “This could be the closest you ever come to a child.” Snickers could be heard from Elliot’s side of the phone.
“Shut it El.” Banks said setting the dragon down into it’s new makeshift home. “What about Bill.”
“Yeah, you know like the 5th Dimension; Wedding Bell Blues.” After she said that, she could practically hear Elliot roll his eyes over the phone.
“The one time you don’t go straight to an artist, it had to be that song.” Elliot said sighing. Banks laughed in return.
Next door She could hear the jingling of keys and the lock twisting to 307.
“El, I gotta go.”
“Goodbye crazy child.”
“Loveyoubye.” She blurred together and hung up before Elliot could respond. Banks grabbed the neon pink socks, the other thing left on doorstep earlier that day by Michael Hay, the famous pianist living next door to her, and threw open her own apartment door to see a more shaken up version of Michael (if that was even possible) than before.
Banks leaned against the doorframe to her apartment, looking at disheveled Michael.
“Hay, keep the socks.” She said tossing the socks at him. The bright pink wool socks hit him on the shoulder, and fell limply to the dull gray floor of the apartment building hallway.
“I don’t want them.” Hay snapped back.
“Well that’s too damn bad isn’t it?” Banks shot back. “Sometimes we all just need to look on the bright side.” Michael stared blankly at her. “Keep the socks Michael.” Banks was about to go back into 308 when Michael spoke up.
“How do you know my name?” He asked.
“When you make friends with the maintenance man, you start to learn who people are real quick.” Banks responded and gently closed her door.

About an hour later Banks picked went out to find dragon-- er lizard food. After passing a few Mariah Carey’s singing All I Want for Christmas is You very off key, a flaming wreath or two, and a couple Samuel L. Jackson’s. She found the lizard food at Green Greenhouse, and as she was walking out she noticed a building that she’d never noticed before. On a huge wooden sign that was spattered with paint were carefully written words in elegant writing that said Paintball. Banks opened the door and walked in.
“I’m sure Bill will be fine for a little while longer.” Banks reasoned as the little silver bell jingled with the door opening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#4 - The Scream

This place is so weird Banks thought when she picked up the invitation to the building party. Some places had open room parties, others had block parties. Winthrop Place? It had a murder mystery party on the creepy abandoned floor that no one went on. Nevertheless Banks felt like going to this party would help her become more apart of the community so she RSVPed that she would be attending. The next night a beautiful card was slipped under her door. It read: Your character is: A wealthy Bank Owner.
“Wow,”  Banks said dryly. “how funny.” She spent the next week thinking about what she would wear for her costume to the party. Did she even have anything black tie? How deep should she go into character? At work Banks talked with Jimmy and one of her coworkers, Nathaniel, she found out that most of the building was going to this party.
With only a few a few hours to spare until the party Banks dug a short red evening gown out of the back of her closet. Where had that come from? She paired the dress with some matching red heels, and when she walked out of #308. She caught Timma heading up to the party.
“You look amazing!” Banks said.
“Thanks Banks.” Timma replied. The girls linked arms and walked together to the 7th floor.
The 7th floor looked gross from the outside, but the inside? It was stunning. Tons of the people had already shown up by the time Banks arrived. A guy named Sep tapped a fork against the glass he had in his hand.
“Hello ladies and gentlemen.” He called. “Please take a seat, our dinner will begin!” there was a great shuffling of feet and chairs as people made their way to their assigned seats. Banks was seated between a guy named Michael and a guy named Paul. There was quiet chatter as people started to eat their dinner and make small talk.
Minutes later the lights started flickering and finally went completely out. There was the clash of breaking china, and a high pitched scream from someone at the table. Banks froze. Her breath caught in her throat as something touched her shoulder. Every bone in her body screamed run, but her mind rushed to remind her that this was just a party. It was all fiction. Right?
The lights flashed a few times and finally came back on. There were a few gasps. Banks followed the gazes of the people around the table to the ring master’s side kick who was laying face down in his soup.
“Do something you’re a doctor!” someone yelled to a guy named Tom
“I’m not really a doctor.” Tom said quickly between gritted teeth. Reminding everyone of his fake profession, and deflecting the attention from himself. Somebody rushed checked the man’s pulse.
“He’s dead.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#3 - Portrait of Madame X

Gone were the sweet warm days of fall. Winter was bitting deep into Winthrop Place, and Banks felt the cold. In the passed week she had met one of her neighbors. #309’s was named Timma. She worked at the movie theater in town, and she was an incredibly sweet person.

Banks had also picked up more shifts at Jimmy’s in the past week hoping to fill her time, but she felt the lost time for her artwork tearing at her. The truth was; she felt blocked. Ever since she’d graduated art school her time seemed empty, which was disappointing. All the cramming and stress to graduate early from both High School and Art School, and now she couldn’t even produce artwork, at least, good artwork.
Today she was out walking around looking for inspiration. It was her day off from Jimmy’s and he wouldn’t let her pick up any extra time that week. Which was both a blessing and a curse. Off down the road she head someone whistling the tune from the circus. Banks picked her gaze from the ground and saw the ringmaster from the circus walking towards her. One night only. Rang in her ears, and yet here he was.
“Hi there!” he said brightly. A soft southern accent touched his voice, one most people would miss if they weren’t a native.
“Hi, what are you guys still doing here I thought--” she threw her hands up enthusiastically “One night only.” she mimicked the performers from the circus a week ago. He shrugged.
“Thought I might stick around a bit longer, you’ve got a pretty interesting little town here.” he said and smiled, but the smile didn’t reach all the way into his eyes. Banks smiled and nodded slowly. She walked back to #308 and grabbed a sketchbook. She felt her inspiration brighten suddenly.
While she drew she heard the taunts from children from elementary school in the back of her head. Brooke Banks. Brooke Banks. Now she had no idea why they thought it was so funny, or why it had upset her so much. Now it seemed natural for her. Brookes have banks. Turning the taunt into her nickname hadn’t been her idea, it was Elliot’s. She had been skeptical at first, afraid that her new step brother was also mocking her. But ever since the nickname the two became attached at the hip.
Banks looked down at her finished sketch. She could start painting it on canvas soon, but before that....
She picked up her phone and dialed.
“Hi, this Banks Avery, my brother gave me this number. I heard that you have an opening in your gallery?”

Friday, September 2, 2016

#2 - Girl with a Pearl Earring

Banks let out an exasperated shriek as she angrily dragged her pencil across the page leaving a dark, heavy line of pencil graphite on a page of her sketchbook. She looked closely the page and narrowed her eyes. The shriek was a little much, but it was a nice release of pent up irritation about her messed sketch. She was trying to draw a bird that sat on the apple tree’s branches on Applewood Lane. She looked back at where the bird had been, it had flown away at her frustration. Banks looked at the dark streak across the page again wondering if she could salvage anything that she had drawn.
One week had passed since Banks moved into Winthrop Place. She started her job at Jimmy’s Used Bookstore. She hadn’t met her neighbors yet. The person in #309 was quiet from what she could tell, and so was the person in #307. Most of the time. There were times when loud piano music could be heard through the thin walls of her apartment. It wasn’t like she could complain the piano did sound nice, and it was equally nice to know there was someone nearby that shared an appreciation for the arts.
Banks pushed herself up from her seat on the curb. She brushed the dirt from her jean shorts, took one step, and ran right into someone. Their heads smacked together. Banks stumbled back a few paces. She glanced over at the other person. Another girl stood a few feet clutching her head. Banks stood awkwardly facing the girl.
“I’m sorry,” She said grimacing at the red mark her head had left on the other girl’s head. “Are you okay?” she asked. So far Banks hadn’t made much interaction with the people that lived in the small city, so she wanted to them count. It was a terribly short time to have lived somewhere and already be making enemies. The girl shook her head, clearing away dizziness.
“Yeah…” she said hesitantly.
“You sure?” Banks asked
The girl nodded.
“I’m Banks.” Banks said reaching her hand out for a handshake.
“Chambly.” The girl said shaking her hand.
“Its nice to meet you Chambly, I’m sorry again about your head.”
“Really it’s fine.” Chambly said and laughed a little bit. Chambly told her that she worked  at the novelty store nearby to Jimmy’s. They talked for a while before Banks realized that she needed to be heading home.
“Okay well I hope the next time we see each other I won’t be apologizing for hitting you in the head with.” Banks laughed a little
“Me too!”
“It was nice to meet you.” Banks said waving as they headed in their separate directions.

Outside Winthrop Place there was a man wearing a tall purple hat at the bus stop. He handed her a circus ticket that was in town for one night only. Her parents hated circuses. It was at a time when they were strangely afraid of the creativity that seemed to bust from her seems. Brooklyn, they’d tell her The circus is full of only kooks and crazies. There’s no reason for you to be there. So the one time she’d been to the circus, Elliot took her.

At 6:30pm she left apartment #308 and made her way to the circus. Halfway there, there was light flickering behind her. It was so bright that she turned to look at what was happening. The seventh floor on Winthrop Place had all the lights on. The maintenance man Ed told her about the legend of vacancy on level seven of Winthrop Place. Hm Banks thought to herself. That’s odd.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#1 (Apt 308) - The Birth of Venus

The day started with boxes. Endless boxes. Boxes that were scattered all over the floors of Banks Avery’s new apartment. She had moved in the day before, and had slept on her mattress on the floor in the dining room under a low hanging light bulb that she couldn’t quite convince to turn on. Now the dim sunlight streamed into the dining room through a nearby window rain pattered softly on the glass, and Banks was very quickly finding out that perhaps the dining room floor was not such a good place to fall asleep. She rolled over on the mattress and looked at her phone to check the time. Her phone screen lit up and showed a darkened blurred version of her owl lockscreen, a missed call from her brother, and the time which was 8:07am.
Banks let out a tired moan and flopped her face into a pillow that she’d hastily thrown on to the mattress the previous night before collapsing and passing out. Her phone buzz, buzz, buzzed and she turned her head to see who was bothering her now.
Brother: Get up
Brother: Brooklyn
Brother: Call me
Brother: Seriously
Brother: Unpack things
Brother: Ur lazy
She reached out a hand and swiped left on the text and quickly typed Elliot let me sleep. She closed her eyes and tried very desperately to go back to sleep.
Brother: You never sleep anyway. Why start now?? Just unpack. You’ll feel better.
And because she knew he was right Banks Avery sat up. She was greeted by the sight of endless boxes. Banks stood up and ran her fingers through her collarbone length wavy hair pulling the mousey mess into a loose ponytail, a few stray pieces framed her face. It was a look that she was use to, one that took very little time to put together-- a necessity for art school.
Banks was an artist, or she wanted to be one. She had taken art classes all through high school, and even graduated early with a portfolio that somehow got her into art school which in turn was it its own boat load of work. For three years (graduating early again) she worked herself through art school with minimal help from Elliot, her older half brother, who had insisted on paying at least a small portion of tuition. Now that she was out of school it was her own job to take care of herself and sell her art. It seems a lot easier than it actually is.
After putting together the better part of her apartment. Banks threw herself onto her sofa to gaze up at the ceiling in her living room.
“Well that’s gonna to change.” she muttered to herself observing the bleak white ceiling. And for the time since she woke up this morning she felt completely awake. Banks ran down the hall and threw cloths that were acceptable for walking around in public, and headed out into the strange new town.
The goal was to find paint for her ceiling. Banks did not find paint. What she found instead was Jimmy’s. Jimmy’s Used Bookstore was a small, cluttered bookstore what was coated in books, and Conveniently for Banks, looking for help. Banks took the Help wanted sign from the window and walked inside.
“Hello?” she said A man poked his head out and narrowed his eyes at her. Banks smiled and held up the sign. The man nodded slightly and extended his hand
“The name’s Jimmy.”
“Banks Avery.”
“Any prior experience?”
“Umm I’ve sold a few pieces of art before.” She said sheepishly. He nodded
“You’re hired Banks.” her face lit up.
“Really! Urm- I mean thank you sir.” Jimmy shook his head and smiled
“Were really short on staff, when can you start?”
“Monday it is then.” And Jimmy shook her hand again.
Banks stepped out of Jimmy’s Used Bookstore and onto the rainy curb. She called Elliot. The dialing sound echoed in her ear as the rain tat tat tated on the cobblestone sidewalk of Pixie Lane.
“Guess what.” she said when he picked up
“What?” an unenthusiastic Elliot replied.
“I got a job.”
“Selling your art?”
“No at a used bookstore, it’s so---” her voice was droned out by the sound of police cars screeching past her on the street, sirens blaring. “Huh I wonder what that’s all about”

“Sounds bad.” Elliot said and went on lecturing her about how it was important to be focused on selling her art instead of finding a job to fill up her time better spent making art. But Banks wasn’t listening anymore. She was just staring after the police cars. Elliot was right it did look bad.