Conversational Painting


emily_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif

Scene Title Conversational Painting
Synopsis Caspian chats with a passerby as his latest piece of graffiti outside the Red Hook Market goes up
Date August 29, 2018

Red Hook Market

The Red Hook Market is the place to go when one needs to find something.

A plethora of stalls, offering everything from electronics to food, coffee to baked goods, and even the occasional vegetable from one of the surviving farms scattered around the US - with appropriate pricing. You can even find other more illicit things if you know where to ask, but Caspian, with his contacts, really doesn’t need to ask unless he really, really wants to.

A large blank wall facing one of the busiest parts of the market near one of the streets that still gets vehicular traffic has been sectioned off with old barricades - the steel ones that look like bike racks - rusty signs still proclaiming them as property of New York City with a hastily painted Safe Zone Commission logo over the top of it. They do a good job of keeping people away from the wall while the man on the other side of the finishes the initial base coat of cream with a roller and and a battered bucket. Several cardboard boxes, the tops cut off to reveal multiple cans of spray paint, sit near the wall, each color indicated with a matching sticker on top of the can.

Standing back, Caspian, already wearing coveralls and a hat, looks over what he’s done, watching the paint dry. Nearly six feet tall and probably just as wide, the patch of paint is a clean slate. A perfect canvas for what’s to come next.

And when the canvas is dry? He starts painting.

While Caspian finishes up his prep, one of the public electric-powered buses running routes throughout the city rolls past and slows to a stop with a telltale screech of brakes. Aboard, a young woman has an extensive conversation with the driver concerning the route they run. Unlike times of New York past, they're more than happy to take a few moments to answer the questions, though they seem relieved when she's satisfied and finally disembarks to the street below, and the bus takes off a bit more quickly than usual to catch back up on their schedule.

"So I've got time." Emily murmurs to herself, satisfied that the buses will be running late enough for her to get home. Gives her plenty of opportunity to spend the evening roaming what's still open at the market and have some alone time to think through everything that's happened this last week, and what it means for her future.

She turns and takes one look at the market, still bustling even though the sun's going down. Seeing all the different people still here makes her stomach drop. She'd hoped it'd be less lively, but she's already out here, and the bus has already rolled away. So, at least for a while, she's going to have to make her way through all these people…

shk shk shk


Captivated, her head turns slowly to the unexpected sound, eyes searching for only a moment before she sees the giant slab of white, and the man standing before it beginning to streak color across the pale-painted brick. Her heel slowly pivots, the rest of her body eventually turning to follow suit. Curious about what the coveralled man is up to, she leans forward onto her crutches and crosses the street toward the barricaded area. Standing just on the other side of it, Emily looks up and down the street semi-furtively to check out the potential reaction of others. Most everybody just continues on with their business.

Not Emily. This is of interest. "Uh… what're you doing there?" she calls out across the barrier. The question is phrased bluntly and with perhaps an unfriendly tone, but one look back at her shows a curious pale face, brow furrowed inquisitively.

This location isn’t down a back alley or a side street. This is going on right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the afternoon commute, with official-looking barriers all around, so it must be an approved thing, and the fact that there’s still room for people to walk and another little area for people to sit and watch thanks to a couple of plastic folding chairs means that this is probably something to be expected. A taped-up sketch of what it is going to look like A few people do pause to watch the artist as Emily makes her way across the street, one woman giving a suggestion for colors to be used for the hair - a soft peach to contrast against the dark highlights of the hair which is quickly changed with the flourish of a marker, the man thanking the woman before going back to work.

At the interruption, Caspian looks over his shoulder, squinting a little in the fading light at the questioner, the can of black spray paint he’s using to outline some abstract shapes held loosely in his right hand, the latex glove there already showing splatters from his work. He takes a second to formulate an answer, almost automatically defaulting to ‘jerk’ before he realizes he’s going that route and instead, answering the question honestly.

“Painting a mural.” He nods towards the wall. “The Safe Zone Commission has given me some spots that they don’t mind me bombing now and again as a beautification effort for the city. Brick walls are bare and tend to attract the wrong sort of graffiti so they let me do this. Here.” He takes the taped-up sketch off the wall next to where he works, a thumbprint of black left on the paper at the corner where he grabbed it. “Here. This is kind of what it should look like when it’s done.”

“It’s based on a friend of mine.” He turns to look at the shape, stepping back and peering at the outline before going and adding a little more curve to one of the knees, glancing back and catching sight of the crutches. “I thought I’d immortalize her for a little bit. Feel free to take a seat and watch for a while, if you want.”

Hearing directly from him that he's taking on the endeavor in the name of beautification does settle some of Emily's apparent uncertainty at what he's doing, causing her to look back up at what's been started. She lets out a quiet 'huh' as she looks up at the girl taking shape on the wall. The exaggerated style's not her cup of tea, but she can't argue the space looks better for it. She shifts her weight to pass off her right crutch to lean against her opposite arm, taking a hold of the paper for a moment to examine it and then look up at the painting unfolding so far.

'Not bad,' her gaze seems to say before she hands it back, continuing to stand like that for a moment as she examines the blend of colors, and then looks back to the tool's he's creating this work with. It's hard to believe it's being done with aerosol paint, and on such a broad 'canvas'. She starts to tilt her head to the side as she formulates an actual comment to pass, then is cut off by the offer to take a seat.

She looks back to some of the folding chairs set up, and then casts a quick glance across the street to the marketplace with its warm, inviting, lively atmosphere.

The metal leg on the chair clatters against the concrete as she lowers herself into a sit, her crutches between her knees. She wears gray jeans, and a sheer black smock that would show off her midriff if she weren't wearing a white tanktop beneath it. As she settles back, she sweeps her right hand across her cheek, brushing her hair behind her ear as watches the painter work. This wasn't how she was expecting the evening to go, but she's grateful for the quiet activity to observe. She never knew graffiti could look quite like this.

"Your friend." Emily offers after a few minutes of comfortable silence, at least on her part. "She's lucky to know a talented artist like yourself."

The art is taped back up on the wall out of the way where it can be referred to easily, Caspian quickly outlining the shape of the body, the flowing curves of the dresses, and the peacock feathers spiraling out towards the east in an invisible breeze. This is just the base coat - the real artistry begins when he starts building up color on top of color, bringing life to the wall that, before now, was only a slab of unwashed brick on the side of a building.

“Nah.” Caspian says with another glance over his shoulder, the can he was using emptied, tossed into a box after the cap has been put on - upside down so he’s sure of what it is at a glance. An old habit that dies hard since normally, Graffiti is kind of illegal and speed is of the essence. A few seconds here and there means you might not get your tag done before the cops come to chase you off and take your paint. “I’m lucky to have her. Hell, I’m lucky to have all my friends, really. Life without friends is death without witness. Or just being notorious, but that’s the bad kind of attention, and I’d rather have friends than anything. More flies with honey, y’know?”

The outlining done, Caspian pulls out two gray colors - a lighter one, and a darker one, to provide depth starting to fill in the skin. The gray is an interesting choice, but judging from the other colors in the sketch, the rest is going to be colorful enough to make up for it.

“Call it vanity, but I always love an audience.” he grins. “I’m Caspian, by the way.” He says, rising to his tiptoes to start painting the face of the young girl.

'Life without friends is death without witness'. Pretty profound for a random street artist. His comments following that bring a small smirk to Emily's face as she listens on. The accidental advice slipped in isn't lost on her, and she stays quiet as she ponders something related to it.

When Caspian greets her, she lifts her head up to acknowledge it, even though his attention is focused on his work before him. "Emily." she introduces herself in return, voice slow and heavy with thought. She almost doesn't even notice the sun going down, as the streets here are lit during the evening hours. She does pause to think to take a photo of the artist at work, surreptitiously sliding her phone from her bag to snap a quick shot of it before letting it fall back to her lap.

"How'd you get into all this?" Emily asks suddenly, seeming to find great importance with the question. It probably ties into those aforementioned thoughts she came to be alone with.

New York, after the war, could be easily seen as a microcosm of the United States, with places of plenty and safety and others of danger and hunger, all wrapped into a single spot on the earth. One thing that New York was known for, oddly enough, was its attitude, but it doesn’t seem to be present in Caspian as he paints. The man converses with Emily as easily as he would with one of his friends, painting all the while, trailing off when he paints a particularly tricky curve to highlight the face. Get that wrong and the whole thing looks wonky.

He pauses in his painting at the click of a camera, glancing back once it’s done, not minding in the least, thinking before he replies, asking Emily something and then going on without waiting for an answer. “That’s a really good question, but I’m going to start by asking you one. What do you mean by ‘all this?’ because that question can pull in a lot of stuff. Do you mean Graffiti in general? That’s one story that goes back before the war. Do you mean why this subject? Whole ‘nother story there. Why did I end up in New York Proper? Holy hell is that a long story.” Caspian puts down his grays and starts getting out the palette of colors. Primary ones, mostly - yellows and greens and reds. Things that’ll pop against the white wall and won’t blend in with the surrounding red brick.

“Graffiti was always a way for me to express myself. I grew up in California, kind of in the middle of wine country. Spent a lot of time skateboarding and getting into trouble for skateboarding. The Graffiti scene was kind of hitting its stride when I was growing up, and it just struck a nerve.” The color yellow is started to be added to the umbrella panels, a chalky smooth color that will be highlighted later. “Being able to tell a story, or make a point, or just make the world more beautiful by spending a little time and effort making it so. There was one time I tagged a sign above a freeway - something everyone could see, every morning when they went in to work. Just a girl in a cotton dress blowing in the wind with a sign that just said ‘Know You Are Enough.’ Stayed up for two months. Even had a spot on the Wichita news.” He sounds proud of that fact.

“How about you? How’d you get into all of this?” See? He can ask open-ended questions too.

The ease in which he explains all of the detail, all while continuing to work, is pleasantly surprising. Even if she forgot his face after this, she'd likely never forget his story. Especially when there was going to be a monument to physically anchor the memory to. California, huh? she wonders to herself. Applying stereotypes liberally, she concludes: Explains why he's so laid back. She's only half-serious, after all.

"And they probably never knew it was you, did they?" she asks with a tilt of her head after he brings up the freeway tag. The work he does here is different. There’s front-row seats. There’s conversation. His work’s already proven to be a bright spot for a number of people … but it’s different to see that in person, she’s sure.

A crack appears in her shell as he turns back and lobs the question back at her. She lets out a quiet laugh, the hint of a smile creeping up on one side of her face. “Well, I was born.” she offers out helpfully, which causes the smile to turn into an actual grin for a moment before she shakes her head at herself. The words come pouring out anyway, soft as they may be spoken.

“I grew up here, in New York. Everything until now’s felt like one unending fight, each battle leading into the next.” There’s a healthy pause, and she stops looking at the painting, or at anything in particular. She shifts her legs, and the crutches start to fall before she absently reaches a hand out to catch them before they go too far. “I’ve had to fight with myself. I had to fight with leukemia. …Even had a very long fight with my mom, in order to be able to come back here, once the war was over.” The last is said with an upward tick of her brow. “Life’s been one long war. On top of everything else, my family’s military. It’s left it’s scars.” To say the least. “Low points marking the passage of time in the one giant struggle.”

“So… suffice it to say, I don’t have a graffiti.” she confesses, a weight seeming lifted from her as she says it. “I mean, I game, but…” she shrugs a shoulder pointedly, indicating the wall with a slight nod of her tilted head. It seems to be a revelation point for her. “I need a ‘this’. I finally won my fight to strike out on my own. Now… I just have to do something with it. Figuring out what that should be is turning into more of a task than I thought it would be.”

Rather than becoming agitated, she takes in a breath and lets it out in an even sigh. She looks back to Caspian, lips firmed in a brief but apologetic smile. Who knows, she might never see him again, anyway. Wouldn’t that be lucky? Her gaze tears away to look back to the developing painting of the young woman. “Only limits before me are the limits I set myself. I needed to get out of the house for a while before I ended up boxing myself in by accident.”

Was this what therapy felt like? It felt therapeutic, at least. God, when was the last time she’d talked so openly about… anything?

She nods abruptly at the graffiti, seeming to gesture to the whole abstract of it rather than just the current work of art. “Did it take a lot of patience to come this far? Or did you just kind of…”

Explaining why things happen the way they do is cathartic for Caspian, allowing him to think his way through problems and solutions to find out exactly why he made it into the place he is. In another world, it’d be considered fate, luck, or happenstance, but taking these moments to look back, it gives a remarkably clarity to decisions that have been made and could be made in the future. As she talks, he listens, the rattling of a can to build up pressure the only sound that he makes aside from the occasional sound of assent as she speaks, to let her know that he’s still paying attention, even as he steps up on something to get the top of the umbrella, switching to blue now, instead of yellow.

The question of whether or not they knew who he was gets a chuckle, Caspian looking over at her from atop whatever it is he’s standing on. “Would have defeated the purpose if I had put my real name, but yes, I did sign it. One of the things about Graffiti is putting your name where people couldn’t normally go, making them think of how daring or brave you were by reaching that spot, undetected, and spending hours making the art just perfectly. It’s why the artist Banksy switched to stencils - you can just tape it up, spray, and you’re golden in a few minutes. Work like this…” he taps the wall with the edge of his can, a clink happening. “Takes a few hours at least, and when you’re doing illegal graffiti which, if it’s done right, you’re doing, the sunrise is your biggest enemy, since you can’t hide as easily when it’s bright. But yes, I did sign it, with my tag. Outsider. California to Wichita, Kansas was a big change, as you might guess.”

The can is tossed from up on high, sliding on something into the box with a rattle before he starts painting again. “Being born is a good start.” he muses, giving Emily a smile, stepping over to start on the detail on the umbrella, making little pink swirls to contrast the dark blue, like lace stitching imprinted into the nylon. He sits cross-legged on something, about four feet in the air, seeming to float on an invisible field as he paints, finishing the can and looking over at where Emily sits, taking a short break from painting to chat. Besides, the paint can dry for a little while and he’ll be fine. “And it sounds like you’ve had to fight to get anywhere in your life so far. It’s part of the reason I try to be kind to pretty much everyone, no matter what. I don’t know what battles they’ve faced getting here, and I don’t want to be another thing on the list against them.”

“I started the whole graffiti thing just by doing. A lot of late nights sketching in my black book. A lot of wasted paint on the back wall of the basement. It started small - a marker with my initials or a sticker slapped somewhere out of the way. Proof that I’d been there at that moment. Sure, it was ephemeral - cleaned off, scraped away, or painted over within a day or so, but those rare ones that persevered in their out-of-the-way places…” he trails off. “A little bit of temporary immortality.” Pushing himself to his feet, he hops down, the spray cans he was using remaining there, hovering in midair, as he walks over to his bag. Out comes another pair of latex gloves before they’re passed over to the seated Emily, giving her another quick look. “Choose a color or two.” is said as he pulls his boxes over. “If you don’t have a graffiti, we’re going to give you some. Right there in the bottom corner, if you feel up to it, you’re going to make your mark.”

The switch between 'Wine Country California' and 'Wichita News' made more sense now. It fills in what she had started to suspect, and she nods sympathetically as he explains his tag. She's not entirely sure she agrees with him about being kind to everyone she meets, not at all believing in a world where there's just inherently GOOD people out there who are worthy of showing that immediate kindness to. But even that thought alone forces her to re-examine the way she looks at the world, and review it with a skeptical eye.

She had a clear hole in her 'nobody deserves you being nice to them until they've earned it' policy: children.

Well, and then there was the occasional anomaly. Like Caspian, for example. Nah. He's just met the threshold. she brushes off the thought dismissively.

Realizing something, she suddenly sits upright, staring at where Caspian is sitting. Her eyes flicker back and forth across the space below him. Wait a tick…

Caspian grins. “Just using every advantage I can to get to the good spots.”

Emily shakes her head in response to that, apparently having been gawking a little more obviously than she thought she was. Her eyes aren't wrong after all. "That's, uh…" she stammers out, looking to the gloves she's been offered. It's a segue that makes her let out an incredulous laugh, looking down at them with another grin as she scratches the side of her nose absently.

"Sure. Why not." she says, rolling the gloves onto her hands before she carefully stands up, leaving the crutches leaning against the chair behind her. There's a barrier — literally — keeping her from the other side, so she just pauses to peer over toward the box of colors as she plans out how to overcome it.

With a twist, Caspian's legs slip off the edge of his invisible platform, boots landing on the pavement with a clop, knees bending to absorb the impact. The barrier is moved aside, allowing Emily entrance to the twenty feet square that's been sectioned off for him to paint, one of the folding chairs is moved over, too, for her to sit on.

He's noticed the crutches. He just hasn't said anything. She did mention leukemia, so that may be a cause, but it's neither here nor there. This is about art.

“Pretty neat trick, huh?” He sits on one of those barriers of invisible force, watching as she chooses a color or two. “At least here I can do this without being too afraid of being yelled at.” Whether or not he means the power or the graffiti is left ambiguous.

There's a disgruntled nod as he assist by pulling the barrier aside, accompanied by an expression suggesting she definitely felt she had that under control. It does allow her easier access to the easel, so to speak, so she takes it all in stride. One hand touches the barrier as a steadying point, using it as a banister while taking a few cautious steps closer in toward the wall before she breaks free to walk herself the rest of the way to the box of cans unassisted. There's a slight twist to her posture and an unevenness in her gait, and she pauses after each step to be certain of her footing. She's unfazed by the process, judging by her expression, but wobbles after each step forward.

Looking down at the color pallette as she gets closer, she has her mind made up by the time she gets in arm's reach. "Pretty neat trick." she echoes back in agreement, taking a moment to decide where to go next. She almost risks bending over to claim her desired color, but thinks better of it, looking to Caspian with a raised brow. "Do you mind…?" is asked with a glance down to the box.

The artist watches as Emily makes her way through the gap in the barrier (a gap closed shortly after with a squeal of metal) towards the expanse of wall that’s been set aside for her. The hiccuping gait she uses as she walks making him think of a marionette with a slightly drunk person working the strings or a newborn colt; the movements jerky and halting, but enough to get the job done as long as a little concentration is put into it.

“I don’t mind at all.”

Caspian turns his left hand over, fingers extended, and pushes it forward, the box tilting a little and then lifting a little as he does so. Then, with a movement of his arm, up the box goes, the cans in easy grabbing range for Emily to snag. “I always try to leave a spot or two in my art for people to add their own little flourishes. Something left undone somewhere that the passerby can add their name or a face to.” Then, stepping up on another one of his barriers of force, he uses his right hand to start painting again.

The courteous raise of the box still comes as a surprise, even though she asked for it. As soon as it's in range, though, she snags two cans instantly, shaking the one in her right. It's a satisfying feeling.

"Well, hopefully I don't ruin it too bad." she remarks with humor, but without an accompanying grin as she closes the distance to the wall. Her fingertips rest against the surface, like a pro lining up their shot, and then she takes a step back, holding the can above her head.

She looks to her hand, fingers settling in on the applicator. Then to the wall. A blooming line of orange sprays unevenly across the wall and she lets out a surprised note, realizing she's started in the wrong direction. Rolling with it, she brings the line in a swoop back down… creating a large, cursive 'E' with a long, straight tail.

Tilting her head, she makes a face as she draws a vertical line down through the tail. Then a bottom line perpendicular through that, though there's a definite curve to it. Intentional or unintentional. She seems satisfied after splicing it through the middle with another line of orange. Now, there's a second, much more angular E hanging off the first.

The can of orange slides through her hand as she spies an opportunity, the second can slipping to her right hand. There's a smudge of orange she leaves on the applicator as she begins to draw again, carefully tracing over some of the lines she's just painted, and then adding a singular new swoop down off the right.

She grins. The green and orange make a weird combination together, but she seems to be happy with it. A new 'a'-looking shape has bloomed in the middle of the other two letters, borrowing their structure.


The box is lowered once Emily snags her cans, Caspian turning his attention back to the wall, the rattle of his can working in time with hers as he starts adding smaller details. Vines growing around the shaft of the umbrella. Little boxes and diamonds hanging from strings beneath, representing the girl’s hopes and dreams protecting her from the outside world.

Hopefully it’s not too out there, as far as things go. It’s a picture of a girl with a message in there, if you can look hard enough.

“Trust me, you can’t ruin it. Even if you tag over the face, it’s what this art is for. I mean, I’d rather you /not/ do that, but if you do, that’s fine. I mean, This isn’t meant to last forever. It’s to give a message and then go on.” The two cans he’s using slide into the empty box, two more coming up from the box next to her as he glances down to make sure he’s grabbing the right colors. It’s not telepathy, per se, but more of a chunk of force surrounding the cans and drawing them up, like they were attached to strings. He peers over at her tag and grins. “See, you’ve got it. Everyone has a little graffiti in them somewhere. Even if it’s an artistic E in orange and green.”

Note, he did not say ‘just.’ There isn’t just graffiti. There’s graffiti, period.

She grins as all he sees just the E, and not the layers of letters. Maybe it's just for her to see.

The chair that was brought for her is turned back to, and she pauses just before reaching out for it. The small green hummingbird perched on the back of the chair, and while it's a surprise to see it, she doesn't pass comment on it. She shares a glance with the bird, and then it turns to look at her work of art before back to her, letting out a diminutive cheep to demand attention.

She lowers herself down into a sit, the bird scattering off the back of her chair from the rough movement. Where it goes Emily doesn't see, as she's more interested in checking in on Caspian's progress.

"I guess the message is important. Even if it's ephemeral, the message can live on." she remarks thoughtfully, still holding the green can in her latexted hands.

She's entirely unaware of it, but the small hummingbird has come back to perch on her head, leveling a stare at the painter almost to dare him to betray its presence.

"So far, so good. Nobody's getting yelled at."

“You should have heard people the first time I did a piece. Lots of people liked them, but this one lady on the council showed up after I was done and blamed some neighborhood kids for it. Made them scrub it off and even tried to charge them a fine for it.” He sounds a little hurt by that, incredulous, the tone more ‘can you believe some people?’ than angry. “I paid their fine and admitted to it in a council meeting which is why I'm here with these barricades and permission from the council.”

As he talks, he paints, color flowing from his latex-clad hands with slow, sure movements. An old zippo lighter is brought out, the spark igniting he propellant of the can he's using, the paint drying almost instantly with a smoky hue to it that's different from all the other colors. Another contrast.

One of the Black cans is brought up, the cap exchanged for a fine-tipped one, and he starts to paint in a way that could only be described as sketching. A little black outline on the top of the umbrella, a long beak and wings, all highlighted in tones of emerald and forest green, a bright red used to highlight the chest.

He noticed the watching hummingbird. He's not pointing it out, only glancing to observe and get the colors right.

“The message is what gets people through the day. Some kind of justification, or meaning, or just a thing to look forward to that's beautiful. This?” The Wall is tapped with his can, “was originally going to be a love letter. My friend here came back into my life, with a good story, so I changed the subject to her. Commemorating her for a little while. Integrating her into the tapestry of the city.” He grins. “Just like you did when you added your mark by moving here.”

He works on the spray hummingbird for a second or two, the little beads of its eyes gleaming from accents of silver, the feathers looking lifelike from where Emily sits.

Caspian’s a good artist.

The glances back at her accompanied by the developing hummingbird on the wall lets her know that they aren't alone. "Lee." she murmurs quietly, trying to figure out where it's gone off to.


Her brow furrows. It's nearby.


She starts to lift her hand toward her head suspiciously, and the bird happily perches on her knuckle as soon as it gets the opportunity. The look she has for the perfectly cheerful hummingbird is filled with daggers, a silent threat that it better not have made a mess of her hair.

She strokes the bird's back gently, and it puffs up as it adjusts its perch. Whatever she's doing is hitting the spot. And Emily seems entirely unphased, even if she's unhappy about it. Like a disgruntled Snow White.

Listening to Caspian with the bird as a separate frame of reference, she knows artistry's probably not for her. She wants a set path. And it might not make people happy or be as visible as art, but whatever she does, it's going to give her purpose.

Still. This was fun.

"I haven't done shit yet." Emily says out loud, refusing to cut corners in that evaluation. She moves to try and nudge the bird onto the armrest of the chair, but it opts to take off instead, darting around the area in a blur before flying up toward a nearby roof. "Just existing isn't good enough."

She leans over to grab her crutches and gather herself up. "I'll figure out what it is."

Caspian grins from his perch above the street, the mural coming into a nice slow coast towards completion. Large patches of color are done first, followed by lighter or darker highlights for depth, followed by detail to really make it pop.

The interaction with the hummingbird gets a soft chuckle and a grin, followed by a shake of his head. “That's the spirit. Existing is the first step in making a mark. Recognizing that just existing isn't enough is the second one. “ Lee gets a nod as he - with a name like Lee, it probably is a he - flits off to the rooftops. “You would get along with the sister of the group of people I hang out with. She can talk to animals or, at least, sense what they're feeling. She could give you some insight on why you have a feathered hanger-on, unless you happen to have some of that Disney princess magic left over from before Disneyland shut down due to the war.”

Sitting back, Caspian looks over the mural, hovering about six feet off the ground on his invisible platform, leaning in to add a little squirt of color here and there to fill in a few spots that need a little more emphasis.

“Don't rush.” Caspian uncrosses his legs and drops to the ground, catching two falling cans as they come close. “The trick is to take small steps and figure it out as you go. Giant motions make missteps harder to back away from.”

A grin is offered as she seems to start packing up to go. “It was nice to meet you, Miss Emily. Take a card and give me a call if you need any electrical work done, want someone to bounce ideas off of, or just want to meet some more folks.” He gestures to the little tray of business cards set up near one of the chairs.

Emily lets out a snort as he suggests there's princess magic involved with the bird. God, she hopes not. As Caspian drops to the ground at the same time she rises, she does seem to take his parting words of wisdom somewhat seriously, taking a few extra moments to put herself back together to leave. "Take care."

On her way back to the marketplace entrance, she stops to pick up a card, one hand waving in the air with it without looking back to show she'll keep him in mind for any of the above.

Hopefully, things inside are peaceful enough that she can keep doing that soul-searching she wanted to do.

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