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.