Her purse and her keys and her clothes always make roughly the same noises as she sides up to the bar. Most of the time, some say she'll show up around like eleven. Girl's a mess. The only guests that are there to notice by that point are people signed up for water aerobics or the general populace of bored beach people - hotel guests that literally had nothing else to do but go outdoors and act the part of the glad vacationer making the most of their time. There isn't much room on the south shore, anyway. Even when it's packed, the recent construction Kellogg had approved after signing on with Galaxy makes it hard to get a decent number in on the best days, and the worst days see rain or off-holiday lulls or something more interesting in the amphitheater on the top floor of the hotel. All of this lets Baby sneak in a pretty impressive amount of well drinks without being disturbed or noticed as a regular, if she's in the mood for it. The Cormorant Club isn't her only haunt.
She flips her purse and digs through its contents, making the hollow, plastic sounds of empty lipstick and compacts. She grabs a five and pulled it flat, holding one end with her right hand and pulling her left thumb along the middle of the bill. It's perfumed with the smells of all her stuff by the time she hands it to the young man behind the bar.
He, in turn, now days trained to her order shorthand, puts a glass of beer and a tumbler of scotch in both her grabby hands. She smiles, pulls a hat down over her head, and makes off for the shade of a nearby stalk. She makes a half-attempt at unfolding a towel and sits on it. She pulls off one shoe awkwardly as she sips scotch. The beer she had ordered she had forgotten on the bar and is sweating cold water by the time she realizes that it's probably too late to grab it. Failing to finish the drink in her hand, Baby Abraham digs the bottom of the glass into the sand to avoid tipping it in her sleep and promptly takes a nap for an hour before getting started with her day.
“What’s the next Big Daddy? Is it Songbird? Is it the Handyman?” No, honestly, it’s going to sound counter-intuitive, it’s Elizabeth."
"She is the next stage of how we make you emotionally connected to what’s going on with the world, what’s going on with characters."
"It’s a character we create empathy with."
"It’s a character that makes you feel that you’re a participant in the narrative, you’re not just observing."
"That you, as Booker, are interacting with a character and driving the narrative of this experience."
"That’s been our mission, making the player part of that and letting them drive their relationship with it rather than watching it passively."
Creative Director, Irrational Games
The story is amazing. The characters are amazing. The scope of the narrative is so spot on. Visually, the game is extreme and fantastic. The nuance is there. The use of technology is graceful and inspiring. The resolution of everything is perfectly paced and, really, just kind of astonishing.
If you haven't yet, grab a copy and play the damn thing...
As is typical for this time of the Spring most years, I find myself with a stretch of manageable free time where I can squeeze in commissions that would otherwise press me for time and energy. My plate of tasks is clean and ready to be refilled! As such, I like dedicating a week to the pure chaos that is finding, wrangling, netting, negotiating, and otherwise bringing about great commissioned work.
Here's my pitch, voiced internally by you by whichever commercial celebrity you deem compelling enough to convey the selling remarks:
"Do you find yourself lonely, on the tail end of your seasonally affected winter depression? Are you energized by the sunlight that seems to be thumbing its way through the smeared dust of your dirty window glass? Are you refreshed by the bitter end of tax season, the electric pop jump start that is late April that could, in another universe, actually have its arrival heralded by the kickstarting of a loud bike engine, boxing bell, or starting pistol? Was tax season great to you? Are you rich? Most important of all, are you in the market to purchase the bright work of a local, Boston-based illustrator to fill the voids on your otherwise snore-worthy bore-fest walls?
You're lonely. You're edging out of the groggy depression of winter months into the bright near-summer sun and smells of blooming flora. You have extra money. Make the right decision for the sake of your own self-care and commission a painting! Works are finished mount-ready and sealed with a resin gloss glassy enough to wow even the most skeptical of art critic houseguests. You have nothing to fear."
Feel free, in this new season, to splurge a bit to help yourself to something remarkably cool that you can end up showing off to people when they visit with you, can ponder in your most quiet hour from your couch on some boring weekday afternoon, or hold on to until I either become famous enough to make the initial value of the work increase dramatically or desperate enough for you to sell it back to me for double the cost!
Get in touch with me at the following address to negotiate the details. Let's start a conversation!
As most other artists and illustrators similarly associated with Montserrat's community do (whether they be former students, alum, former faculty, etc.), I find myself anticipating Montserrat College of Art's illustration department's theme show each year - this year has been no different. The winter months come and the theme is announced and there's this general buzz in the community as artists prepare their efforts and bring pieces to life. It's great! I found my standing excitement for the event made greater this year in particular by the idea that I am far enough away from my experiences taking classes in Beverly to, now, experience a different and fun level of inclusion in an show that is now predominantly hosted for students that I have no educational overlap with. Said another way - the show brings new, fresh faces of young people I have no class experiences with. You and I are from different artistic generations within Montserrat, and this is a great thing and a true joy when it comes to sharing my work.
When I was a younger illustrator within the department, the idea of showing my work on the walls of 301 with known faculty and potentially (for me) unknown alumni consistently, year after year, ended up being a real treat for reasons I didn't pin precisely enough until months or years later, and it proved to be the base for my enjoyment of the show for years after graduating. As an illustration student at Montserrat, you're allowed to show starting in your early years with the school in a venue that is normally reserved for external professional artists or seniors working on their thesis. The reality that you happen to end up showing with, for all intents and purposes, professionals is outstanding. You're given a great opportunity with the idea in mind that you're putting your work and your practice directly next to the work and practice of professional artists and illustrators that have been honing their craftsmanship, their concepts, their ability to present work. The health of this opportunity is given to by a spirit of competition, too. I can remember seeing great work by faculty and alum and considering one plain, driving idea - "I will be able to get to that point."
As an alum, the excitements are different. The details for entering work are different. Different faces greet you and wander 301. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the way that the show suddenly acts as a kind of opportunity to either try new things or resolve traditions in work and, in a real sense, bring them back home to a safe, comfortable venue. It's a show that I personally use as a capstone to other things I do during the year with an idea in mind that I want to show where I've come and gone since graduating in 2007. I get to do this and I get to show with students whose work is as exciting and fearless as I remember it being when I, as well, was a student. The show is great and it encourages the kinds of drives, examples, and excitements that help make good artistic communities great artistic communities, make hobby work meaningful work, and ultimately create longstanding traditions of staying connected with the programs your work matures in. May it never change.
So, I'd like to say thank you - that's the idea here. Not only did I consider the show the regular kind of success that I've become familiar with in my years since starting participating in it, but I was also flattered. I submit my work gladly to share with others, and it's a pleasure to hear from you - students and faculty, alike - when you respond positively to it. The treat for me is this: hop the train from North Station to Beverly, grab a coffee, snag a slice at Maria's ($1.50?!), maybe visit Dane St. Beach, and genuinely relive a bright part of my past for a few hours before getting down to business with, honestly, one of the best illustration department's in the country. Simple.
All my best. Here's to next year's show!
"The Dangerous Science of Letting Others Choose"
14" x 18"
acrylic, pen, ink, and resin on supported pine
14" x 32"
acrylic, spraypaint, marker, comics, resin, and computer printouts on reclaimed oak
These two pieces and more will be on display in January at Montserrat College of Art's Illustration Theme Show. Come check 'em out!
By the time he had come to, the charring was complete.
The wrecked skeleton of the house leaned in on its foundation on the hill against the fading light of the surrounding, remaining bits of inferno in the backyard. Chokes of smoke puked up brown from the flooded basement, becoming an intense, blood red in the sky that hung for a while like a thick ceiling.
He sat up and leaned on one elbow. At last, it was over, and there were only a few points of horror left to remind him of what had almost gone terribly wrong - the rusty 1986 F150 in the driveway with its windows sprayed in gore; flicked, gold casings from the shootout; the damned, dead dog, that loud, yipping bastard. What once looked like a calm house nestled in a hill by Rt. 12 now looked unbelievably like the cratered battlefield of some far-off military nightmare.
He adjusted himself and ran the side of his hand up his arm, blading some stinking mud off his soaked shirt. He winced and bit down hard as the ball of his palm bounced out and on past a bad bullet graze. He grabbed at it hard, surprised at the warmth that spread over his hand as fresh blood poured through the gaps in his grip. His eyes closed hard on themselves as his mouth formed an unnatural grimace that almost resembled an insane smile. He jumped to his feet and starting punching his head and chest while bringing his body into a tight clench. Beads of sweat and mud and blood ran down his forehead and into his eyes and he was furious.
"They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me! They almost got me!..."
At once, he froze in a snap, silent, hunched over, impossibly solid. His eyed popped open somewhere in the dark and widened into something terribly calm. His grimace seemed to melt downward in slow motion to form something horrible and insanely dangerous.
In a voice that almost resembled that of a raspy little girl, he whispered something demonic into the black treeline and sprinted quietly into the night.
"Dave Andrews, abduction escapee"
"You look up into the night sky and you see...what? What do you see?
People do that, right? They look up into the sky and they watch for their favorite shapes, right? Look, there's the Big Dipper or that lion shit-for-brains, whatever his name is. Yeah, they do that. They do it, because they don't know what's gliding between those dots, the horribly silent minds that travel in straight lines to do horrible things with their sick lights. Hell, I used to do it, too. Won't catch me doing that anymore, though, not without a gun and a bullet.
Won't take me alive, again. Can't. They just can't.
Hit me again?"
"I...I don't know what you're asking, here..."
Mark adjusted his tie and gulped hard on the dry air of the train car. He was sweating. Looking around, he realized that no one else appeared to notice the small, chattering man to his right. Heads down. Earbuds pressed firmly into place. Heavy bestsellers resting pages-up in laps of people looking blandly across the cab into the windows at the attractive people sitting next to them.
Moments ago, the old woman in the seat had gotten up to wander out into the night, leaving this odd being with its strange fade and calm, ancient, red eyes.
Later, Mark would recall that it wasn't the insanity of the situation but the odd way the thing's lips seemed to jump around into crazy smiles and grins that had disquieted him the most. That odd way, of course, and the rows of horrible, horrible teeth.
"The Back Room"
After closing, the small shop, in the city of life, in the by-day-busy market now darkened and slicked with dew, swirled with hot twirls of the multicolored smokes of things that had been dried centuries ago and brought to burn in front of the future pictured in the orb. Nimble hands sliced quiet through the air around the radiant thing as entranced eyes stared into the humming red of the back room's decoration.
"Oh yes, I see it now. I seeeeeeeeee."
Outside in the sky, the moon, full and bright, seemed to intensify as it rose slowly into the night.
The hands of the wild soothsayer continued for much time before stopping abruptly. All light ran quickly from the room through the front door, and a room that had once been organic and alive with magic exhaled in the dark, empty and whistling with dust.
October 22nd, 1981
Dictated by Sandra D. Appleby
Transcribed by Michael C. Appleby
I revel in autumn. Months removed from the blistering heat of midsummer days, our world here turns on its side and gives us beautiful days kept warm past noon by a low-hanging sunset that lingers above our backyard's treeline. I often try to describe the effect as the world becoming thoughtful in the weeks before the blanch of winter. It's a swan song, right? And it's not like it can be ignored. The sun comes in from the south window differently, you know. It tilts differently, as if mourning something.
Michael continues his work in the garden, too. I love the man for it, and he rewards me with the spoils of his work. Massive gourds and pumpkins. Late tomatoes more full and ripe than anything purchased in town. He should win awards for his cucumbers - full vegetables that you know never stop drinking from the ground until the moment you pull them from the earth, and you know that they continue to grow afterward. My cutting board regularly features the fresh and water snaps of great produce. You should see!
He finds me to massage his palms and work the knots from his knuckles, too. His hands are always worn and dirty, his nails always needing to be clipped and the dirt brushed away. "'Green Thumb'? More like, 'BLACK and BLUE Thumb'," he'll say. You should hear him!
And never deny the passes of a gardener, dear. Seek them out and marry them quick. They reward you with true dedication. Mother Earth's vanguards - don't you know it?? I've told every neighbor we've had over years. Don't let him go, they'd say. Let him go and you're a fool, Sandra. Good people. It's a shame to have had good advisors move out as they have, you know?
Michael and I were married in the fall of '72. He's been forever grateful to me for my love and I to him for his accepting of my condition with that same love. Never once has he harmed my sense of self for my lack of sight. My Silent Guardian, I call him. He comes in from the backyard. The smell of caked garden muck lingers by the door where his boots come off. I count his steps as he ascends to the bathroom to rinse. He samples the smells of my baking (I'm careful, I admit!), and at this point all I can hear is the unmistakable sounds of a man done and satisfied with his work. The garden tools and ground stone are replaced by a silence that is just wonderful.
I present my work to him - a casserole with fresh potatoes and peas large enough to be grapes! He quietly handpicked most of what ended up in my steamer before his shower. I kept having to slap his hands away from the cooking pot as it built up. The smells! The flavors! You could just die, M. You could just die! Don't you know it? Don't you?
Sandra D. Appleby
"Brinkley's Last Discovery!"
It was a dark and stormy night as Brinkley sat at the messy desk in his basement laboratory. Quite the Thing, INDEED, he shouted to a stack of papers just moments before he grabbed his overcoat and headed out into the rainy pitch black. The way would be long and the work hard, but it was his discovery now, his find. The world would know now as it had not in the past. They would know! They would look upon The Thing and they would understand. They would see it and tremble at the thought of it, for the thought of it was a terrible kind of horror, its implications dry and clear and an unforgiving kind of certain. Their amazement would be total, and they would know what Brinkley had sought to know for some time. They would see The Thing and they would see Brinkley there too, his image embedded firmly in the discovery of the horrible Thing's awful existence.
Some time later, huddled behind the gravestone of someone long since past and gone from the world, Brinkley would fear his own demise in the blanketing light. He would tremble and see The Thing and would, in a sense that he couldn't fully comprehend from that basement laboratory, genuinely discover the horror he had only - and only could have guessed at.
The pain was immense and quick and then gone along with Brinkley.
The young woman aged twenty-six sat in her seat in the middle of Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers and drank Pepsi from a big paper cup. Her dream in her working days was this: a peaceful existence in public doing nothing but drinking Pepsi while waiting for a flight. No noise. No noise at all. No sounds directed at her until her gate gets called. Surrounding her was the business of the smaller-than-average international airport in the western part of her home state. Merchant kiosks. Chains as holes-in-the-wall, the less popular of which being completely devoid of customers yet entirely full of bored employees. Bartenders craning their necks to watch the midday sport behind them on wall-mounted televisions. Sandwich artists nearly asleep or tapping their their fingers as their eyes looked out into space. Bored people in a ghost town with regular traffic. Duty free.
The waiting area she had picked was small. Its resemblance was to that of a hotel phone room or hospital family area. Seats topped in rubber facing a television on a stand by the door. A phone of arguable use. Two comfortable armchairs spotted and nabbed by people with longer waits, the bases of which being circulated by an array of travel provisions - luggage, food bags, phone and computer chargers. Babies.
For her, it was simple. She had gotten out of work earlier in the day. Though she had considered taking the time off, her thought was to press her morning with the mundane of office work to make the resulting trip far more rewarding. Out at three, and the day is her's. She got in the taxi in the parking lot of the office park. The wind caught the big American flag at the center of the font lot and flapped it wildly, as she got her suitcase in the trunk. To the driver, she gave simple directions. "I know where to go, been there before," he said. Good.
She spied, between sips, signage on the walls for things of local import. "The Lee County Port Authority would like you to know this," and so forth. It was just a thing to look at. Her dreams included the place her plane would land in a few hours, a big hotel out in the middle of nowhere in the water that's rumored to be the place for her, a residency for people who enjoy the little things. She could just imagine herself there. The things she had learned to enjoy up to this point in her life included the smaller things and meeting the people like-minded enough to enjoy them with her. And she loved hotels. That was the way of it. She loved being in a place where staying and enjoying your stay are actual goals. Instead of a sign like this, she thought, there might be a sign that says something different.
If she was lucky, she'd get stuck there. Her goal was to enjoy her time cooped up in a room with lots of cable. Hell, if she was really lucky, she'd land a job on site and never come back. Better than being stuck is to stick yourself, she thought - stay lodged through employment, justify your time and your expense with a job that you could back up against if really questioned about it. And what if her job wanted her back? Well, she thought, fuck it. The idea behind this whole thing was aimed at waking up in a room that isn't yours and having that be fine for a while. Leave your room for a hallway and make your way toward an elevator that you would never have at home. Never. Live in a place where you can avoid stairs if you feel like it.
At five, the loudspeaker shot out directions for people boarding at Gate 25, causing her to blink. Entirely forgettable to the rest of the world, Beth Small grabbed her leather bag jingling with basically-shaped metal trinkets with a ticket in hand for the floating hotel, Galaxy.