Friday, October 23, 2015

Free Fiction: Artistic License

A little more Oscar and Phillip this week, and a Halloween theme!


“Make them a little rounder on the bottom,” Phillip suggested. He pointed to the area he meant and outlined the space with his fingertip. “Then more narrow in the corner here. It’ll give a sort of surprised and angry look at the same time.”

“I don’t want surprised. I just want angry. And scary,” Oscar said. He swiped at the pumpkin with his marker, drawing over the lines again.

Phillip grabbed the cleaning cloth and poured more rubbing alcohol on it and then wiped away as much of the marker as he could from Oscar’s artistic styling. In the dark, with a candle in the pumpkin, the ghostly marks would hardly be noticeable. “Give it another go.” Phillip turned to his own pumpkin and considered his options. He wanted motion and movement, possibly a story to be told in the expression. Could the pumpkin be looking behind itself? Would there be something frightening there, causing Mr. Pumpkin to run scared? Yes, and a partially open mouth, trailing away at the corners would enhance that expression. Phillip made his final sketch and then started to score the pumpkin skin.

Next to him, Oscar grunted with frustration. “I think I’m just going to wing it,” he said. “I can’t quite get it as angry as I want it to be.” He started digging into the pumpkin’s flesh with a sharp knife. The actual cutting took less time than the drawing and soon the pumpkin’s face emerged. Mean little slits shaped the eyes and the nose was ignored entirely in favor of a sharp-toothed mouth grinning widely. Finesse had nothing to do with this, the pumpkin's features were shaped by sharply defined holes and basic geometry. The gleeful, vicious expression glared out of the pumpkin, obviously now pledging its allegiance to all things evil. Done, and obviously satisfied with his project, Oscar leaned in to see how Phillip’s had developed. “That looks great.”

“Thank you,” Phillip said. His scoring technique took longer, but it allowed for different amounts of light to escape the pumpkin. Holes let out all the light, but thinly peeled away pumpkin flesh allowed an eerie glow to develop. His pumpkin looked frightened. Phillip smiled. “You know,” he said, “yours looks like it is scaring mine right out of its wits!”

“It does,” Oscar agreed.

“We should make sure to position mine in front of yours. It’ll make a tableau.”

“You know I love a good tableau,” Oscar said, teasing.

Phillip pushed him in the shoulder. “Stop,” he said, but without much weight to it. “Now,” he said, and turned to look meaningfully at the floor behind them. “Only four more pumpkins to go.”

“Next time, we aren’t stopping at that farm stand,” Oscar said.

“You say that every year.” Phillip smiled, and moved the two finished pumpkins to make room for more.

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