Reality is What You Make of It


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Scene Title Reality is What You Make of It
Synopsis Julius and Jack meet, discussing artistry and Jack's peculiar view of reality.
Date January 28, 2010

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

Noon, and Jack is walking through the park after handling some business in Midtown, or what's left of it. He casually strolls along, looking out for whatever people who are out here in this cold, either relaxing or trying to make a dollar. He's in his grayish green trenchcoat, black boots, and blue jeans. "Winter, boring even when you can ride a motorcycle, but the setting…" He's in one of those rare moments of sanity.

Like many artists, Julius has secured himself a place in the park where he has a small stool and an easel set up in front of him. He'd made a bit of money so far from touristy types who wanted sketches done, but right now he's without a customer and seems to be simply sketching the city skyline to pass his time. A case lays open beside him, containing his tools and a small wad of cash from his customers thus far.

Crunching snow beneath his feet, Jack's presence behind Julius is quite obvious. He's watching the painting with a look of contemplation, opening and closing his black gloved left hand as the sound of little rotors and gears are subtly heard under it. Strange. "Art can be a curse when it seems there's no where to go, and 'up' seems like an abstract maze." he idly muses, for seemingly no particular reason.

Julius cants his head, looking up and over his shoulder, "Art can be a blessing, giving purpose to that which has none. The beauty isn't the destination, but the journey. When you reach the destination, there is nothing left to do." He smirks a bit, glancing back to his drawing, "One day, I'll arrive at my destination. I'm not sure what I'll do then." He shrugs and draws a few more lines on the pad, adding some detail to one of the buildings. As he draws, he speaks in his calm, even voice, "Are you an artist?"

"You could say I was." Jack, for whatever reason, is not feeling very subtle today, and peels the glove from his bronze hand. It's a clockwork masterpiece really, tiny gears visible under the small openings in the thin protective shell. He wiggles the fingers, which seem to have a bit of lag from the lack of upkeep. "This was my destination, my final work of art. You could say my art became me, and then it was gone. Now it's simply a curse." If this man knew Jack, he'd know he was speaking strangely… than usual, at least, but right now he simply speaks as a like-minded artist.

Julius arches an eyebrow, peering at the apparently robotic hand, "Intriguing." He gestures to the stool across from him, "Please, have a seat. And.. could you hold that hand up? I want to draw it." Sometimes the need to capture something in art just strikes him, and the unusual hand has caught his attention. He removes the sheet with the skyline drawing on it, rolling it carefully and sliding it into a long tube before looking back to the blank pad in front of him for a moment, "Usually I do sculptures, work with clay. But it's had to drag all of that out to the park, so I do sketches out here."

"I haven't been a true artist in a long time." Jack wordlessly complies with the request, heading over and taking a seat on the stool. He rolls his sleeve up a little, showing that a part of his arm appears to be robotic as well. "I'm proud of this arm, I just wish it wasn't mine. I can't play my guitar, or ride my motorcycle, or do anything I really like to do." Well, he could cut people up, but there's a whole host of other reasons he hasn't gotten to do that lately.

Julius smirks, "Once an artist, always an artist. It's not the act of creating the art that makes one an artist. It's the drive, the ambition; that's what makes one an artist. The desire to create something amazing. Be it a sculpture capturing the essence of beauty and perfection or a robotic arm and hand." He smirks slightly and begins to draw the robotic hand, lifting his gaze frequently to look at it, "That's what I think, at least. But, eh, what do I know?"

"I can't make things like this anymore, someone stole my talent. I only wish I gave my arm nerves." Jack pokes a finger into one of the holes, then quickly pulls it back out, getting back into his original position. He only occasionally moves a finger, keeping an eye on the tiny gears inside. "Holding a grenade too long in my hand was the single dumbest thing I ever did. I should have shoved it into the guy's mouth." Moment of sanity seems to be fading.

Julius smirks, "This is why I tend to avoid situations where I'll be shot at or have explosives hurled my way." He looks up to Jack's eyes for a moment, "Though I do agree, provided the mouth belonged to the person who threw the grenade." His eyes then go to the gears, watching them move for a moment before focusing back on his drawing, "My name is Julius, by the way."

"I'm still a bit fuzzy on if I threw it or he threw it, but I'm sure it was his fault." Jack's face is rather somber, seeming to dwell on his arm a lot at the moment. "I'm only twenty-five and I've lived a pretty exciting life. I have a nice cult following, a great place, and a Southern Belle I'm sure will get rid of that little 'You're too crazy' hang up one day."

Julius just shakes his head ruefully, "Well, certainly sounds like you've got a nice and comfortable life. I just have a little art studio where I do my work. Must be nice to have such a following and a cute girl." He shrugs a bit, making some quick adjustments to his sketch, "Maybe one day."

"I don't know why most women can't appreciate an eccentric guy. You stick one toaster into a microwave and suddenly you're too dangerous to date." Jack's rambling seems to get progressively less laid back, and more, well, there's words for it. He raises his free hand to rub his left shoulder, apparently a bit of a strain to keep that arm up so long. "I met a woman the other night, she seems to understand the concept of everyone being delusional. She didn't look at me strangely when I said there's a Lovecraftian horror looking down at us from the sky. It's my delusion, my reality, it's no different from having a religion. But one day I'll convince my Southern Belle, one day I'll convince everyone."

Oh great. Sure, Julius might be homicidal at times, but he didn't think that Shub-Niggurath was hanging around in the sky, watching down on them, or that Cthulhu was going to rise from R'lyeh and devour humanity. No, such Lovecraftian horrors weren't within the scope of his reality. To himself, he was practically a God, able to mold and shape the very flesh of the lesser humans. The life he lived, the difficulties he experienced; all were because the humans just couldn't handle someone of his talents and desires, "I'm afraid I'm not quite sure I agree that some Lovecraftian horror is sitting up above watching us, but reality is what you make of it, I suppose." He seems to be putting the final touches on the sketch, pursing his lips slightly as he does so. Only a moment later, he sets the pencil down and lifts the pad to turn it towards Jack. It's a near perfect rendition of the man's mechanical hand, an exploding grenade being crushed in its grip. Despite the force of the explosion, it's obvious that even the explosion is being crushed towards nothingness, "What do you think?"

"I like it, you know, I'd love that on the back of a leather jacket." Jack stands, heading over to take a closer look at the picture. "And as for the horror, when I could do my art, when I had my talent, I could see the horror in the sky, I could see all the horrors and magic in the world, but with my talent gone, so is my sight, my true sight."

Julius carefully tears the sheet away from the pad, handing it over toward Magnes, "Here, get it put on a jacket or something. Consider it a gift." His eyes drift up to the clouds, almost expecting a tentacled horror to be gazing back at him for a moment. But, no, it's just blue skies and clouds. He looks back to Jack, "Reality's what you make of it. You can either sit back and ride, or take control and direct the course."

"I think they call that stalking." Jack grins widely, taking the sheet before he begins to head down the path again. "I think I'll come back and see you again some time. For now, my men are waiting for interior design directions!"

Julius shakes his head, "Nah, not stalking. That's when you wear a trenchcoat and hat and follow someone around with binoculars." He chuckles a bit at his joke, "Anyway, have a pleasant day and do try to avoid the neon colors in your interior design. That fad was dead before it started."

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