2007-09-08: Winged Kangaroos

Starring:

Meryl_icon.gif Mikhail_icon.gif

Summary: Meryl goes searching for the best artist ever to draw her tattoo. She ends up with Mikhail, who's pretty damn awesome! And she gets her design.

Date It Happened: 8 SEPTEMBER 2007

Winged Kangaroos


NYU Campus

How does one weasel their way into a college classroom? Easy, really, when you're Meryl Wolfe. She's on an important mission today, one that requires the utmost security and secrecy, one that if the others knew she was on, they'd be both furious and insanely jealous. Or not. In any case, she 'sat in' on an art lecture today, sanctioned by the State of New York (only not really) in order to judge the quality of the teaching at this fine institution, and also to eat a sandwich. Anyway, after the long art class is over, Meryl waits outside, casually leaning against the wall, wearing awesome sunglasses and looking like one of those art critics/Beatniks or something along those lines. She's dressed for the part, in any case, and, having evaluated all members of the class in their technique and execution, the woman has come to a very important decision. She just has to wait for that weird-looking kid to leave the classroom.

—-

Nothing suspicious ever came to mind as the lecture went on, all of the students diligently taking notes or just waiting for it to all come to an end. Mikhail was only half there, his noted turning into drawings as the professor went on, the modeling, the supervision, all that fun stuff. And then he spaced out for a bit, snapping back into things when the lecturer boomed at one point, the others also feeling the same way once it passed.

As soon as the class finishes, Mikhail closes the notebook, sliding it into his bag without any finesse. The rest of his art supplies are gathered into their art bin, everything else put into place and stacked away before going back. Gloved hands clicked the buckles into place, the strap slinging over a shoulder as he starts to saunter out the door. It shouldn't be too hard to spot the art student; his choice of black on black stands out from the others.

—-

It's not hard to spot the art student at all. She's been watching, you see. Carefully. So carefully that at one point, she completely spaced out and fell asleep, which got her a look from the professor, but that's all behind them now. Ah, there he is. As casually as she pleases, she approaches Mikhail's back as he walks away from her, and…

Suddenly jumps in front of him with a "HEY!" and a huge grin. "Hey, I was watching you during the class back there? The one with the— Words? And I was just thinking that you'd be perfect. I have to talk to you. Come on, it's really important, you could change the world and just think of what would happen if you ignored your duty and… Went and played pool or something. Come on, I'll buy you lunch." Meryl will then reach out for his wrist. Because she intends to DRAG HIM to the student cafeteria.

—-

Buh!? His eyes widen in surprise as his heart suddenly jumps up twenty-something beats per minute, stumbling back at least five steps before stopping himself. Mikhail blinks several times, his expression showing confusion. "Uh…yeah?" he says slowly, tilting his head at the woman. He usually doesn't have people jumping out at him unless they know him, but…this is new.

But wait - she wants to what? "Talk- hey, wait a min - " Amid his babbling in trying to make things coherent, he finds himself dragged, tripping a little before matching her stride. He's a little tense since she's touching him, but he'll go with it. "Hey," Mikhail tries again, giving her a strange look. He then falls silent, sort of giving in to the situation. Oh well, free lunch works.

—-

This is how Meryl operates. It probably won't take Mikhail very long to discover that this is a recurring theme. She's like a perpetual motion engine - never stops, just keeps going for whatever reason. That is, until she finds something else that catches her interest, then there's a one-eighty that occurs that's sort of fantastic to watch, but that's not here or now. She's actually focused on something. Leading him past the lunch counter and to an empty seat, Meryl finally lets him go. "You draw. I was looking at your notes in class. And I was wondering - hoping - you could draw something for me. I'll pay! I need an artist and I wasn't sure how to find one besides, you know, sneaking into your class and — oh, hey, a penny…" There's a lull as she reaches down to pick it up.

"Nineteen sixty-seven. You know, no one realises they have a handful of antiques they carry around with them every day. It's amazing." Plopping herself down into a chair, she examines her new acquisition with her full attention. After awhile, she seems to realise that Mikhail is standing there. Oh. Yeah. Hand is held out, and she says, "Hi, I'm Meryl."

—-

Mikhail calmly quirks an eyebrow. It's a form of A.D.D. in motion. Maybe. However, her proposition comes up as interesting and a little too forward. Still, if there's a monetary type of payment involved, he's all ears.

"…Mikhail," he says carefully, taking her hand, shaking it twice before letting go. "And yeah, I do," he confirms, slipping out his notebook after he sits and readjusts himself in the seat, propping one leg up on the edge of it. The bag hangs over the back of the chair, the young man leaning back some as Meryl goes to pick up a penny. It's best not to linger on such, now, is it? "Okay…what exactly did you want drawn, then? And for what?" Is it that important?

—-

Forward would be Meryl's middle name if it wasn't already Ann. It's not that she tries to be offensive, but there are too many distractions. Too many things to see. To many different directions her brain goes in, which means it's kind of like a smilled glass of shapeless mush. You can never really be sure what you're gonna get.

The penny is cast back to the ground for someone else to find. Some antique, eh? It was fun while it lasted, but even Meryl has her moments of serious. "I have a tattoo design in mind, but I can't draw. At all. I mean, stick figures, yeah. Blobs of colour - sure, on a good day. But no one wants to get that tattooed on them, right? I mean, 'hi, I want you to scribble on me with a needle' isn't— I don't think a lot of artists would actually do that. So I sat down and thought, I bet I could find someone to draw it for me, and my friend goes, 'well, artists need money,' and I saved and saved and I figure what I've come up with is plenty, 'specially since I want it to look really good because it's kind of permanent, you know? And I can't just erase it if it turns out badly, so I'm also scouting out tattoo artists and I realised that I want something unique so is that something you could do?" The only reason she stops talking is because she needs to breathe.

The look she gives the boy? Nothing short of pleading.

—-

Mikhail nods, trying to keep up with the woman's banter. She does talk fast, but he can get the gist of what she's trying to say. And he can sort of relate to her on the distraction level; it's not hard to get him derailed from doing something unless he's really into whatever he's involved in. "Right," he grins, understanding what she means with the whole needles and how drawing-directly-on-skin-isn't-a-good-thing-without-a-plan will not work out well. The look she gives him is taken into account, Mikhail finding himself sort of stuck. Forced into doing something that he likes doing to get paid? It's debatable, but he's letting it slide.

The pen meets the open-faced pages of the pad, set and ready. "Whenever you're ready," the artist replies softly. Blue gray eyes sweep back up to meet hers, waiting for the concepts to come forth.

—-

"Okay. Uh. I'm from Australia, so it's gotta have a kangaroo, and - it's going on my shoulder, and I kind of want my zodiac signy-thing in it somewhere? It's those two fish. Pisces, that one. And… You know those — string… Things…" She tries to make a 'picture' with her fingers. "The ones that go over and under each other. They kind of look really cool, and I've seen them in tattoo designs before and they're just cool-looking, so if you could get that in there, and…

"KANGAROO WITH WINGS," she suddenly belts, standing up and slamming her palms down on the table. That would look so cool. So totally awesome, even though the wings have little to no meaning whatsoever. It's like, wings are awesome, and so they're acceptable.

When she's once again seated, she thinks for a moment, eyes rolling back, then… "I think that's about good. Can you do it?"

—-

See, usually people would stop and look at Meryl when she mentions this. They might even back away from her when she goes on to add more things to the kangaroo in question. In fact, when she slams her hands down on the table, Mikhail sort of cringes, keeping his cool as she went with her train of thought. The other people sitting nearby take their time to stare at the woman and the artist, talking amongst themselves shortly afterward.

Ink lines start sketching out the kangaroo fine, trying to get a pose for it. He adds in the Pisces, having an idea of how the twin fish are usually seen swimming around in a circle. He pauses, looking back up again to reveal he sort of has that 'really?' look on his face. "You mean, like, Celtic designs? The curvy lines that all integrate within one pattern or something?" he asks, trying to sketch it out. Agh, need references. It comes out okay, however. Now…wings.

Mikhail takes a moment to look at everything and review the sporadic list of details. "…A Celtic Kangaroo holding Pisces somewhere with wings?"

—-

Mikhail understands art, though. The passion, the intrigue, the random element that makes people decide that elephant poo is an excellent painting medium, that dripping paint on a canvas makes beautiful artwork, that the hand of the artist is only one element to a piece, and not the whole thing. That sometimes, you just have to brainstorm outloud, even if it's for a simple tattoo that will be hidden on a shoulder for most of the time, and seen only in the mirror the other part. A personal statement.

Meryl's personal statement is, unfortunately, somewhere way out in left field, but again, that's beside the point.

"Yeah, Celtic, that's it. Couldn't think o' the word." Meryl leans back in her chair, peering over at the notebook as Mikhail sketches. She's actually quiet for a time, her interest solely on the skill that she doesn't possess in any form - except maybe writing now and again. It's interesting. "Yeah, that's about right, I guess," she replies to his summary. "I dunno about holding. Maybe somewhere next to? Whatever looks good."

—-

Another sketch is started, trying to fit things in with the subtle directions. The kangaroo with the wings appear, the Celtic patterning fitting in. Now, where do the fish go?

"How about over?" Mikhail suggests, drawing a light circle for the fish to follow on top. "Well, on the side can work, too. Let's try this." He drew three more light circles surrounding the animal, all of it set for placement reasons. And for each circle there are two elliptical blobs molding to the shape's outline. "Something like this, maybe," he says, scooting the notebook over for inspection.

—-

She's liking how the sketch is coming out so far. As time passes, she leans her elbows on the table, turning her head a little so she can watch as best she can without literally looking over Mikhail's shoulder. "That's nice, but how 'bout over here." She points to the area in front of the kangaroo, where there's a little empty space. Even if she can't draw herself, she has a little bit of an eye for design… Or, at least, she has her preferences. Either she's trying to compact it for where she'd like it on her shoulder, or… Her brain is so full of /CRAP/ that she needs to fill all of the empty space on the design.

—-

Okay, making small circles only go so far. It's like running into a mental wall whenever the ideas go flowing, each part trying to fuse together in vain when they don't match up. It takes a while to get to the point in which Mikhail does another form, making the circle larger. One circle this time. The kangaroo is drawn in again, its body following the curve fully from head to tail. Celtic lines fill in the empty part, closing the gap. "Hmm…" The fish start out large on the outside of the design, but he moves them inside, shrinking them down. "…"

He's not sure how this is going, but he takes a break from it, letting Meryl soak it in.

—-

There's not a lot Meryl's picky over, but this… it's something she'll have forever, and so the whole 'paying attention' part is particularly important. Her attention does wander, and at one point, she physically wanders— Over toward the counter, where she brings back a whole pile of cookies and other things that are way too sweet to be legal. After all, it is kind of boring watching someone sit and draw for that length of time without doing anything, and drawing takes awhile.

"Here, you can have some of these. Don't worry, this isn't your payment." Just in case that's what he was thinking! Meryl just likes cookies, and her eyes are bigger than her stomach. Reaching forward, her finger taps on the page again, and she nods. "That's it. That's how I want it. Perfect. Kangaroo doesn't have to be too detailed; I dunno how long I can sit still with someone sticking a needle in my back, after all, plus, what if I have to go to the bathroom or something? So— Just… Can you outline it? I know this is really kind of sudden, but I'd really appreciate it, this looks so radical. Do people still say radical, or was that the eighties? Ever watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? My favourite was Mikey."

—-

Wait, where did she g-ooh, cookies. There goes his attention span. The artist takes one of them with a nod, nibbling on it as Meryl kids. Hey, he wouldn't have minded cookies as payment, either. He doesn't really eat them as much as he use to, that's for sure. He laughs a little, glancing back over at his work. "Okay. And the inking will be fine. I have no problems doing that. It won't cost extra, either." Grin. The cookie is stuffed back into his mouth as he dusts off his hands and digs for a good ink pen. Once it's found, he starts outlining, simplifying everything to make it stand out.

The rest of the cookie disappears, his lips licked before replying to the last bit. "I think people still use that. It's just not heard as often anymore." Which may or may not be a good thing.

—-

Truth be told, even if no one at all said 'Radical' anymore, Meryl would probably still say it. In fact, it might just end up being the word of the day, until she comes up with something better. Resisting the urge to ask 'IS IT DONE YET!?' over and over, she stuffs another cookie into her face, and crumbs go everywhere. "Well, good. I think that's worth it, though, honestly. Can't wait to have it done. Or, well, I can, because I imagine it'll hurt like a million tiny knives in my shoulder, but at least it's not like being shot or something, yeah? Not that bad."

Sounds like she's trying to convince herself of that.

"You have any tattoos? Like, that you drew yourself or whatever? Did they hurt? Are you gonna get more? Do you usually take commissions? You didn't have another class to go to, did you? Sorry." The things she never considers! But she's sure it'll be worth it for both of them in the end. She's sure of it.

—-

At least she's being honest. Mikhail shrugs, continuing to vary the line widths, solid and black. "I suppose so," he responds, the end of his sentence going up in tone as if he was countering with a question. Of course, he may not be helping if he offers anything else.

Wait a tic. Mikhail? With tattoos? His head tilts upward, the pen pulling away from the page so it won't mess anything up. "Wh- me? Oh, no, I…I don't…" Too many questions! He raises his arms, surrendering. "I never got a tattoo before, so I wouldn't know how it feels to have my skin stabbed into with little pointed ends," he says, his grin falling lopsided. "So, yeah. I have none."

…YET?

"Ah…let's see. I was thinking of taking commissions, but I never got around to doing it. And…well, no - my next class is in two hours. It's cool." Chuckling, he goes back to completing the design.

Ten minutes. The pen is placed down on the side, the sheet of paper torn on its perforated markings. "And there we go," Mikhail smirks, holding out the page for Meryl.

—-

Meryl actually doesn't have any yet, either, and she's over thirty! Something like this just came to her one day, and to her credit, she has actually been thinking it over now and then, when she's able to. Her job has her doing things other than thinking about what's being drawn where on her skin. She can take time out for this, though, and a tattoo isn't going to put her out of commission for very long, if at all. A day or two. She'll be sore for that time, but she'll be able to handle it. After all, she's a COMPANY AGENT. That means she's tough as nails or something. At least, that's what her contract said.

Or, well. It was a clause in her contract. That she wrote in with pencil.

When the drawing is done, she reaches out for it. It's very nice, actually, and the fact that she approves shows all over her face. "This is perfect. It's beautiful. I wonder if there really are any kangaroos with wings out there. I remember seeing this article about cats with wings or something. That was totally weird— This is amazing. How do you do this? Well, not how, technically, because you pick up a pen and draw, but how do you picture this stuff? I mean, what I was thinking of was a shapeless block with 'kangaroo' written on it. This is so far beyond that, it's… Right. I should pay you."

They didn't agree up front on a price. With Meryl's flightiness, she could very well intend to give him five dollars and walk away. "What's your last name?" she asks, pulling a checkbook out of her pants pocket.

—-

Good thing he doesn't know about her actual job. He hasn't even thought about asking her a question like that. It's like when people ask 'Are there any questions?' and nothing comes to mind right then and there. It happens a lot with him, actually. And it's also good that she's staying mainly on general subjects concerning his natural ability to draw. It may be off, but it's fine with the art student.

Mikhail throws the pen back into his bag. "I think I sort of know what you're talking about. Of course, it might have been a book I read when I was younger," he shrugs, running a hand over his head. "Um…well. I don't know - it's just something that comes to me." Lame answer. "I guess it's that whole thing about certain people being visual while others think in different terms to figure something out, you know? Plus years of practice and lots of tips."

Oh yeah, pay time. It almost slips his mind. Heck, he probably wouldn't have cared if he only got five dollars out of it anyway. It's still money. "Himura," he says, "H-i-m-u-r-a." Mikhail Himura. Yes. Odd combination.

—-

Setting the drawing down on the table in front of her, and putting a cookie on the corner so it doesn't fly away somehow, she works on the check. When she hands it over, her writing is incredibly neat, almost an art for in itself, if it weren't just words on a small slip of paper. "Wel'p, gotta get goin'. I have to… Do stuff." Subtle, Meryl. Very subtle. "Thanks again, it's great, Mikhail! Hopefully I'll see you again or something, I dunno! I'll run through campus again after I get this done! Take care! And don't fall off any bridges or anything, or, you know, swim with sharks, or walk through wet cement— " Her voice diminishes as she gets farther away.

When Mikhail looks down at the check, he'll find Meryl's made it very worth his while. For the handful of time - comparatively - that he'd been drawing, she's written him out a check for a quarter grand. He'll find that if he cashes it, too, it's not too good to be true.

That's groceries for, what. A week? Ha, ha, ha.

—-

The youth just stares back at Meryl, keeping the 'seriousness' with her. Mmhm. "Thanks. You're welcome, Meryl." He nods, accepting the check. "And…I wouldn't mind that," he says with a laugh, intrigued yet questioning his interests in such a character. He doesn't know what to think about her advice; it all sounds dangerous. Hopefully he doesn't do any of that, either.

The doubts last for all of ten seconds when his eyes settle on the amount written out. "…."

Wow. That's some amount.

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