Interrogating a Canvas


diogenes_icon.gif raeven_icon.gif

Scene Title Interrogating a Canvas
Synopsis Diogenes responds to a poster.
Date September 21, 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.

Central Park.

Its vastness and natural beauty may be perceived as mundane by those who are too deeply entrenched in their daily lives to appreciate it, but Diogenes had all the time in the world to enjoy its sights and splendors. It's just that he chose not. Not today, at least. Today, he is meeting a very particular individual in this park. A meeting has been arranged - via a text message sent via a mobile phone - and he has chosen the Central Park not for its beauty that survived both urban expansion and a nuclear bast, but because it is a public place. It served as both defence and offence. The terms of the meeting were simply enough: Raeven was to find an artist dressed in a sky blue button-up shirt and worn grey denim jeans. Dark-haired, grey eyes. A bit scruffy, a bit impolite. Goes by the name Frank.

Of course, our Frank was, in fact, Diogenes, keenly waiting for Raeven. A lone chair stood in front of him, some feet away. A canvas stood erect closer to him, facing his hands filled with fitting instruments; a canvas that will, in time, mirror his creativity. Behind said chair lies the lake of Central Park - a worthy background for whoever has his portrait drawn. Not that he will be drawing many faces today. Not that he can actually draw faces. Or anything. But such is his guise, and that is how he awaits Raeven's appearance.

Not being familiar at all with Central Park Raeven had left several hours ago, giving her plenty of time to get lost and perhaps memorize some of the winding paths while in search of someone who would fit the arranged description. In most situations she would bring along her motorcycle, ensuring a safe and hasty getaway in case things go wrong. But instead she has decided to go by foot. She isn't meeting Isis today. Instead it is apparently someone who knows something about said person. And there really was only one other reason she would have brought her bike along.

From a distance she can see a painter, standing around and waiting for her in specific. Rather than calling out from a great length the teenage girl awaits until she is much, much closer. Her attire is the same as usual. Beaten up clothes varying in blacks and colors. Fingerless gloves, dirty shoes, and more importantly, her sunglasses. Once she is near her hidden eyes look over the man awaiting a subject for a portrait, and slowly she takes a seat on the lone chair. "I was told there would be a painter in the park today. Luckily for me, it seems my source was right."

"Lots'a painters in the park", replies the painter in a moderately gruff voice, laced with a prominent Texan accent. He seems like the youthful and active sort, considering how constantly he shifts his weight from one foot to the other, and how free and unrestrained his movements are. "But mos'ly the kin' who have too shit of a talen' to get in a gallery." His smirk soon disappears as he moves behind the canvas; his fairly long unkempt hair falls unto his face, prompting him to brush them aside with a wrist, as his hands are full.

And so the 'painting' begins. Diogenes certainly knows how to look busy and important. Those who happen to pass by behind him will likely be attracted by the mess he has created on the canvas, though, but that can easily be read as the public being impressed by his work. That is, until the first chuckle arrives, albeit that is yet to occur. "But you ain't 'ere to have yer purdy face painted. You're lookin' fer… what's-her-face. Isis O'Conner, right? My source as you call 'im didn't provide much info, just gave me that poster you were spreadin' around. Why you lookin' for her?"

Honestly, she could care less what the painting looks like. That's not what she's here for. Casually the girl crosses her leg over the other, her right elbow coming up to rest on the back of her chair, seeking a way to get comfortable. While it would be incredibly difficult to see, those eyes continue to look over the painter, using her sight to try and read him. Expressions and movements being the key factors. "Understand that I can't reveal too much information. The city is a risky place and it would be silly of me to tell you everything. For all I know we might have an invisible eavesdropper who is also curious why I'm looking for her." And surely, with today's world and people living in it, such a thought isn't exactly hard to believe.

Her next series of words come out a few moments later, taking her time in trying to find a way to say what she needs without giving away too much. "She and I have a mutual friend. I have traveled all the way from Seattle to tell her about this person. He goes by the name of Harry."

The luxury of reading the painter is one of intermittent presence. He appears from behind his canvas only to grasp the woman's expression and poise, so as to transfer it to the canvas through artistic interpretation and technique. Or, to put it in a more truthful manner, to do exactly what Raeven attempts to - read intentions. Diogenes certainly has flaws in his guise, but he is aware of them and aims to bury them deep within the successes of his facade. If one were to look closely, they might notice that his accent ever so slightly slips from its rail, even though that could be attributed to life in the north. His upbeat demeanour also meets a tinge of darkness, but that too can be confused with him trying to focus on the taxing task. He offers enough to inspire doubt, but not enough for suspicion.

His activity is paused as he takes the time to respond; both arms leave the concealment his canvas provides as the tall, slimly built man shrugs expressively. "Oh, sure, think I haven't worked with yer kind before? Secrets, secrets, secrets. Can't tell you this, can't tell you that. I must live in some Denzel Washington thriller; am one of them informants who die in a random shootin' twenty minutes in." A sigh arrives, and he finally moves back to the more important subject matter. "Harry, huh. This the news you wanted to tell 'er, then? What, he in trouble? Stuck in a well? Sure, sure, don't go and tell me - I know you can't 'n' all. But you gonna have to tell me who you are." And thus the painting is resumed.

The bit of information is seems to be far from enough for this man, now coming to terms with how this is going to be far from easy. This is all she ever told anyone who asked why she was doing this. She never knew who she was talking with, and the smallest grain of sand can tip the scales completely, putting her in a horribly bad spot. Shifting uncomfortably her eyes look over each of her shoulders, scouting out for anyone hiding off behind a close tree, or even off in the distance. Doing so does allow her comfort level to rise, even if it is just a pinch. "My name is Raeven. Oddly enough, she and my step-dad shared the same last name. He mentioned her a few times to me, saying the last time they met was at her mother's funeral about a year ago. Apparently she was coming here after that." It's not exactly a subtle explanation. Hopefully the only people listening are mentally slow and didn't catch the connection.

"I brought Harry's bike for her to see. I thought she might appreciate it. While it comes with bad news, it also comes with news that she has someone in her family wanting to meet her."

Full of life motions and the vigorous demeanour is drained from the painter. Frank steps down from the stage to fill the shoes of Diogenes. Motions become intentionally languid, the gaze becomes colder and the facial expression is largely blank. Fortunately, the easel and the canvas shield him. Silence lasts for a half-dozen seconds before Frank returns. "Your timin' is very bad", the painter informs the girl. "But I know that runs in the family. Can't help it." Another sigh marks the halt of his artistic progress.

"Well, shit", he announces some sort of failure ever so bitterly. "Used the wron' dam' color, what with talkin' to you. Gonna have to redo this all over, but I've lunch on my schedule, and I'll be damned if I skip lunch, even for someone with a face as pretty as yours." Hastily, the man scribbles what is presumably his signature in the lower right corner of the painting. His tools are abandoned, and he leaves his canvas to walk up to Raeven and present her with the painting. And if one could appreciate post-modernism, it could be called a painting - a chaotic mesh of colours brushed meticulously yet ultimately purposelessly against the formerly empty canvas. "Here, you can 'ave the failure. And my signature", he points. And if Raeven cares to look, she'll notice the small signature isn't a signature at all, but rather another time, date and location, with You will meet here there and then. added. Considering the curvaceous nothings going around and even through this, it really does look like a signature at a glance.

His next words come with a lower volume. "I am riskin' my hide, y'know. She's in a sensitive position. I can't know for sure you are who you say you are. You better hope you're not lyin', 'cause my source has a very nasty way of dealin' with liars." An overly dramatic expression is granted; perhaps too much.
'cause your so-called source*

She does nothing but listen and watch, staying perfectly still in her seat. Her ass is on the line, too, trusting that this will all reach her intended target without crossing the wrong ears. The girl is nervous, and it shows. Going out on such a limb is not in her nature. The painting is taken by both hands, holding it tightly, possibly by accident, looking over the chaotic cluster of colors, and down to the signature below. "This will definitely do. Thanks."

Coming to a slow stand she keeps the fresh painting dangerously close to her body, risking the colors smearing over her clothing, but intent on keeping the work to her eyes only. "I really do appreciate this." Whispering faintly back to the man standing before her. "She might be the only family I have left. This is a risk for me, too."

Now that there are no more obstacles between him and her, Diogenes is able to watch Raeven more closely. And as he studies her intense and vulnerable reaction to being granted the opportunity to be reunited with family, his doubts regarding the woman start to dissipate. His demeanour begins to shift, much like earlier; this time, however, Raeven could witness it. The accent is gone when he mutters lowly: "You're ruining your clothes." Trust is a mutual thing. If Raeven lets down her guard with emotions, then Diogenes momentarily discards his theatrical mask, as well. "Take care of yourself. This is city will swallow you whole, if you're not careful." The voice is just as raspy, though the accent is of the Northern kind, with some foreign softness to it. Whoever this man was, he is not only not a Texan, but likely not from the US, either.

After he glances towards the easel, the man wanders off at a fairly slow pace. The real artist was on his lunch, and Diogenes has paid for the price of more than one portrait to 'rent' the artist's place, at the same time looking after his instruments. A fair deal to an artist who does not gather much money, and it provided Diogenes with all the scene decorations he required. Nothing more is said, and he would ultimately saunter off, unless Raeven happens to stop him.

While her exterior may come across as a tough chick all pimped out with dark colors and a motorcycle, it's here, when the idea of reuinting with lost family, that she shrivels up into being a timid girl once agian. She swallows heavily on the collection of saliva building in her mouth, looking down at the wet canvas the second her clothing is mentioned. "Thanks again."

Rather than interrupting the end of their meeting, Raeven stays put next to the chair, once again looking over the painting that will ultimately link her to a different future. It's long after the man is gone before she, too, decides to leave, heading back to her current residence where she can collect together her thoughts in private.

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