Vic strode into the rehearsal room, then stopped and looked around. Empty. He considered for a moment, then went to check the smaller practice rooms. There was no one in the first, but in the second, he startled Nevin sitting at an easel, sweeping blue sky across textured paper with a sable brush. “What the hell are you doing, fairy?”
Nevin smiled. “I’ve been feeling tense lately and thought it would be nice to take up watercolors again. It’s been a long time, but…” he edged out of the way so Vic could see. “What do you think?”
Vic stalked up to the painting as if it might be dangerous. After examining it carefully, he pointed to a gray stone building in the scene. “You should put bats here. And make the sky darker.”
“But I don’t want bats in my painting. And it’s supposed to be daytime.”
“I guess that’s why it’s no good, then.” While Nevin sulked, Vic tapped on Kalila’s lamp and waited while she poured herself out in a cloud of blue smoke. “I thought we were supposed rehearse tonight,” Vic reminded her. “And look at what your useless fairy is doing.”
Kalila glanced at Nevin and shrugged. “If it makes him happy, who cares?”
Before she could say anything else, Bo walked in with Lazaro on his heels. Bo immediately noticed the painting and went to look over Nevin’s shoulder. After staring in silence for nearly a minute, he asked, “Why did you paint the humans with clothes?”
“Humans always wear clothes in public,” Nevin reminded him.
“And that’s one of the problems with them,” Bo said. “So what are you trying to do, be real to life or show how it can be better?”
“I don’t know that nudity would make my painting better. It’s a sunny day and they would get sunburn.”
“I told you to make it night,” Vic pointed out.
“See?” Bo clapped a friendly hand on Nevin’s shoulder. “We’re looking out for you, showing you how to be the best you can be.”
“But guys, I don’t know if darkness, bats, and naked humans are a true expression of my artistic vision.”
Lazaro shoved his way in front of Vic and Bo and stared at the painting. “Sucks,” he finally said. “It needs drums.”
Nevin threw down his brush in frustration. “Why are you being this way? I’m painting what has meaning to me.”
“Since when did sunshine have meaning?” Vic shuddered. “I never could understand you diurnal types.”
Kalila approached Nevin and held out her hand. “It’s not the end of the world that they don’t appreciate your kind of art,” she reminded him. “And they do like your music. Music is art, too, so let’s go rehearse.”
She coaxed him to his feet and led him out of the room, with Bo and Lazaro trailing after. Vic remained behind, considering the painting once more. He picked up a brush, examined the tip, then selected a smaller one and dabbed it in some of the paint left on Nevin’s palette. Then, after a furtive glance over his shoulder, he leaned in close and added a bat.
He stepped back and was admiring his work when Bo poked his head in the room. “You coming, or what?”
“Huh? Oh, sure. I was just thinking maybe this wasn’t such a bad painting after all.”