Monday, November 14, 2011

Chapter 37: In Which Someone Finally Tells The Truth

"I don't know if you've noticed, but there's some pretty creative graffiti around town lately. Some interesting posters, too, and the other day my assistant came across a set of postcards left in a phone booth. I think it's all the same artist -- there's always the word fantastic mixed in. It's really inspired." 

Katie grabbed Eoin's hand and squeezed hard. "You hearing this, Eoin?" 

"I sure am." He squeezed back. 

"I want that artist, whoever it is. I want that artist to design my campaign." Rebecca pointed a finger in Katie's face. "Find me that fantastic person or I walk." 

And then she staggered away. 

"Oh my God, Katie." Eoin grabbed her by the shoulders (having first put his drink down, of course). "This is it! This is your big moment!" 

His eyes were all lit up and sparkly -- if she hadn't overheard him tell Bobby that he loved her, she'd've known it now, anyway. "Isn't this just amazing?"

"Yeah, it's..." Katie felt a little surge of panic. "It's terrible, Eoin!" 

"But why?" He had to shout to be heard over the loud dance music pumping through the Rococo Room's speakers. 

"It's just...Can we go outside?" She shouted into Eoin's ear.

"Sure!" He nodded, then pointed over his shoulder. "I'm just nipping to the washroom! Meet me out there?"

Katie nodded, and headed outside, pleased to be alone with her thoughts for a moment. 

Only when she got outside, she wasn't alone. Melissa was there, sneaking a cigarette with Nora. 

"Melissa!" Katie scolded. "I thought you quit." 

Melissa looked guilty, and shrugged. "I did. I have. This is just..."

"Oh would you lay off, Katie?" Nora took a long drag on her cigarette. Leaning up against the wall in her cool brown leather jacket, one high-heeled foot propped up against the bricks, she looked like a serious femme fatale. "This is her birthday. Shouldn't a girl be allowed to smoke on her birthday?"

"I guess, if she wants to limit the number of birthdays in her future," Katie muttered. Melissa heard her, and she laughed. She took one last drag on the smoke and then crushed it out. 

"So where's that funny-looking Irishman you're hanging out with?" Nora asked.

Katie gave her a long, cold look. "He's inside," she said, evenly, not rising to the bait. 

"Well, that's it for me," Nora said. Melissa went to follow her into the club but Katie pulled on her sleeve, holding her back. 

"What's up?" Melissa asked, quietly; Katie waited until Nora was inside before she talked. 

"So the thing is I've been putting up art all over the city, as a way to reach out to my sister. Like, guerrilla-style. And now Rebecca -- your client -- has asked me if I can find the artist who's been making the graffiti and posters and stuff and hire them to work for her campaign."

"So that's awesome," said Melissa.

"Is it? Because I'm. the. artist." Katie said it slowly, carefully, as though Melissa hadn't heard. 


"And I'm not sure....what happens when she finds out it's me?"

"She hires you and you finally get recognition for your work?" Melissa prompted. At this point Eoin had appeared. 

"Are you saying you don't know if you can handle it?" He asked, pointedly. 

"Maybe? I mean....Rebecca's looking for an artist, and I'm just a girl looking for her sister. I'm not...I never had that show. And we tried to put it on twice. And it was a mess both times. And I took some classes but..." Katie was feeling panicky, she was thinking of those weeks, months, hiding at her aunt's house, after she left Bobby and she came back to "Make It" and all she made was a mess. She was like the kid in Fame who dropped out first semester. (Was there such a character? Who could remember? And did it even matter? (Exactly!!))

"Listen." Melissa bent down so that she was eye to eye with her much shorter friend. "Bobby told me about that talk you had. That you've been, like, crippled with guilt and fear, or something, since you broke up with him." Katie glanced at Eoin, who raised an eyebrow at her. Damn. She knew she should have told him about Bobby when she'd had the chance! "I think, and he thinks, that you have to set yourself free. Right? Otherwise, why did you put yourself, and him, through all that? Jump at this chance!"

Melissa's words were comforting, and they were making Katie brave. But there was another issue. "So let's say I do. Am I selling out?" Katie turned to Eoin, the most "artist" person she knew. "If I do this, if I make my art commercial, am I compromising myself?"

"No!" Eoin said, shaking his head. "Not at all. And there's nothing saying you can't do both. Be a commercial artist and an artist artist. The important thing is you wouldn't be just Office Katie anymore." 

Katie looked off into the distance, staring at the twinkling streetlights. Somewhere, Anne was out there. Maybe the reason to do this for Rebecca wasn't fame, or fortune, or a fancy way to think about herself. Maybe it was another way to smoke out Anne. 

"Okay." She turned back to her friends. "Let's go find Rebecca." 

"Sure." Eoin smiled back. "But first, what's the deal with you and Bobby?"


They didn't end up talking with Rebecca at the Rococo Room -- she'd passed out by the time they went back inside. Instead, Katie and Melissa called a meeting for Tuesday afternoon. 

Rebecca arrived early, with lattes for everyone, and the three of them sat down around the board room table. 

"So." Rebecca sipped her drink. "What have you brought me all the way down here for, ladies?"

Katie's heart froze. Rebecca had forgotten. She'd been so drunk she'd completely put their conversation about the secret street artist out of her mind. 

"Don't tell me you've found the Toronto Bansky already?" Rebecca asked, and Katie felt a sigh of relief. And then panic -- she wanted another Bansky? Katie wasn't that good. Katie wasn't talented enough. Bansky was -- And she was --

"That is precisely why you're here." Melissa stepped in and saved the day. She nudged her friend. "Katie? Why don't you tell Rebecca the truth?"

Right. "Right!" Katie took a deep breath. "The truth is, Rebecca, the artist is...." Katie's heart did a little drumroll. She pulled out a black beret and jammed it on her head. "Ta da!" 

A long, wide silence filled the board room. 

"Excuse me?" Rebecca didn't get it. "What is going on here?"

Katie felt her face growing hot and red, from her peter pan collar to her navy blue tam. She reached up to touch her little hat. "It's me. I'm the artist." Her voice was quite quiet.

"What?" Rebecca's mouth fell open. 

"That's what the hat is for....It was a prop...." Katie pulled the beret off her head and squished it up into a little ball. "Sorry, it was stupid. I just wanted to have a fun way to tell you. " Katie glanced over at Melissa, who was stifling a laugh. 

"Katie is telling you, Rebecca, that she's our Bansky. Katie Christensen is the artist you're looking for." 

Rebecca narrowed her eyes at them. "Really? Do you have any proof?"

Katie pulled out her portfolio, and pushed it across to Rebecca, who spent ten minutes going through it. At the end she took the twisted beret from Katie's hands, and put it firmly on Katie's head. 

"Bien sur," she said. "You are definitely une artiste!"

You Decide!

Katie and Eoin have supper with her mother and her aunt, so that they can finally meet her boyfriend and hear about what's going on with Anne 


Eoin's project is finally unveiled at a gallery downtown and Katie and Eoin talk about love


Anyone else want to help write this story? 

I am looking for people who can write a chapter sometime during the next 3 months as I'll be busy with my book being published by FictionExpress. I won't be able to be as regular with my Katie posts as I've been in the past, so I'm asking readers of this blog to help write Katie's story, if they'd like!

So far Ann, my sister Keri, and Bruna have all expressed interest in helping out. (Bruna, I know you were kind of kidding, and that you worry your English might not be good enough, but I promise, we'd make it work!)

Please email me if you'd like to write this next chapter (jennysryanATgmailDOTcom). I don't mind helping with ideas or edits, and I don't even mind if your "chapter" is just point form what you think should happen. We can totally use that, too! I just think some of you might have fun doing this, AND it would help me out. 

So who's up for the challenge??


  1. Supper! I'm glad I've finally caught up enough to cast a vote. :) Though I like to think your sister Keri spoke on my behalf too.

  2. Supper, save the art show for later.

  3. Supper..get that mother back in there! She wants to meet the boyfriend!

  4. I totally thought I would be alone in voting for the supper, but alas that is my vote!