Tagged: Graphic novella


Latest installment of The Java Knot. An online graphic novella in the making.

“Nabbed this dude while sketching last week on the Metra beneath the streets of Milan. Would hold the phone to his ear, then after a few seconds, look at it and dial or text something, then back to the ear again, whoops, only to pull it away and tap the keyboard briefly before returning it momentarily to his ear only to……. Crossed and uncrossed his legs. Bent ‘em under him. Pulled ‘em out as you see them, then, one out the other tucked behind, and then….. he was practically dancing.
Not sure if he kept getting a call center robot or was getting put on hold, or, or…or, fuck if I know.
And he did seem a tad flustered, {pissed, flummoxed, enraged, confounded} I mean, look at his features. Eyes scrunched up, furrowed brow. Looked like the blood was rushing to his face and shiny head but that could just be a sun burn. Truth be told, I was getting irritated trying to capture a moving target and perhaps, perhaps, I was doing that transferring thing my young, ”woke” therapist keeps warning me about. Clearly somebody was irritated. I was pretty certain he was audibly grumbling under that mask. You could see the muscles in his temple squeezing. Veins were most evident. And his jaw was gnashing about, making the powder blue folds on his mask flex like an accordion.
Somebody said “Gawd Dammit!!!”
It was me. Just shot out of me. Fortunately the mask I was wearing muffled it some. Plus it was a bit noisy on the subway car. Small talk, the constant PA messages and other ambient noises probably covered my English curse in the car packed with Italian speaking commuters. He never looked up, but the person to my left reading a book did slightly tilt their head in my direction.
Nice. Take no note of the vexed cat across the aisle working up a sweat and spewing jibberish into his mask. But I let go something like a verbal sneeze and I get the treatment.
That was it. I could just make out an utterance from my scarlet faced friend and it wasn’t Italian.
And then, I heard it ! “…jeón ce PaA!!!!”

And then, I heard it! “….???? ?? ???!!!!”

Fountain pen and Pitt Artist Pens on Clairefontaine Rhodia Dot Grid notebook.

Latest installment from the graphic novella The Java Knot. “So, it’s more than a habit… this pull to draw out in public. I don’t bring a book to read, I’m too fidgety for that. I’d rather check out my surroundings. Mostly, if honesty overtakes me, I prefer to watch people. Closely. Some would call it staring. But that sounds too passive to me. I go over them like an eagle casing the river below, looking for movement beneath the surface. Trying at times to understand the substructure of cheek bones, jaw muscles, the coordination of a hand’s architecture as it returns coffee cup to saucer then glides to flip the page of a book. But I also watch, as if, like the eagle’s penetrating glare beneath the waves, I can sense a current of thought. Knit brows, pinching lips, the coordinated grip of the masseter and temporalis muscles setting molars firmly into their opposing cousins. Frustration? Displeasure? Disapproval? Disgust? And will my drawings capture a fleeting moment of unguarded commentary, which, if elusive to presumptuous certainty, feels as though I’m now driving the streets of that someone’s neighborhood.
I sauntered to my recently favored cafe to find an interesting looking gent, with long uncoiling ringlets of Grey hair, seated curbside at a table, both hands occupied, one with coffee, the other with cellphone. I seated myself at an adjacent table such that we were facing each other, if obliquely. He no sooner placed his cup, empty, upon the table than the waitress appeared from within the shop and replaced the depleted cup with a full one. ‘Keep ‘em coming?’ she asked. ‘Keep ‘em coming’, he said. She turned directly to me, and asked my pleasure as I pulled sketchbook and pens from my satchel. Hot cocoa, bitter, no whip.
About then, a bicyclist coming up the street, glided along side the curb, slowed, nearly stopping beside the gent working his second cup, deftly laying an envelop on the table before him, and continued on. No exchange of words, nor looks. No nod. As I opened my sketchbook to a fresh page with little fanfare, the envelope slid into his jacket in like fashion with the hand returning to cradle the cup. His heavy lidded eyes never wandered from the cell’s screen.
I had payed little attention to the parking meter directly behind him, but as I began laying in the preliminary lines of his head, torso, the table and meter, I was amused to see the words PAY HERE backing his right arm. The very arm which had retrieved the envelope as if an extension of the meter.”

Drawn with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens and fountain pen on Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook.


Another fragment from the online graphic short story, “The Java Knot”.

“The flight had been the usual affair as flights go. Packed. Turbulence that saw the stewardesses hustle to buckle in for half an hour. Some child with an ear infection hitting a whistling high C at 110 decibels. Somehow, I always manage to be within two rows and to the fore of a wailing buccal cavity in misery. And while it’s a rare occasion, fortune saw to it that the narcoleptic passenger to my right kept metronomically landing 15 pounds of head into my right shoulder. When I’m not fitfully trying to avoid the flop and jerk of my own drowsies, I like to write, or sketch, during the flight. Did I mention I’m right handed? Stewardesses traipsed back and forth up the aisle with drinks and unwanted snacks, more such now that the airlines are hedging the possibility of in flight anaphylactic shock. Ear plugs are the high altitude attire that create some form of gated perimeter for those not wishing to eavesdrop on the politics, sports goop, and small-talk job resumes within earshot. I don’t wear ‘em. Maybe my hearing, like my pop’s, is slowly cruising the dusty road of atrophy and my vanity refuses to take notice. Maybe, due to the swirling waves of public white noise, I welcome it. I don’t sport a very keen sense of smell either. Further protection and comfort in the pool of perfumes and flatulence you could find yourself in on a crowded tube of humanity. Either way, I didn’t get any agitated dialogue from the row in front of me till we had landed. And only then did I get the odd scent drifting towards me from the two men now standing in anticipation of their aisle disembarking. It may have been all the other distractions and my effort to maintain a calm within the environs of my seat that I now swore to a haze, or a light vapor, or smoke, rising from the older gentleman. He was sweating. And both he and his apparent travel companion were wearing very similar reddish brown leather jackets. Jackets like the type detectives wore in cop shows from the Seventies. You knew the second you saw that cop, that he was on the take. The two guys in those brownish red leathers were talking in hushed tones, with the younger one seeming to display an attendance that was at once of tender and threatening concern.”

Pitt Artist Pens on Hahnemühle watercolor sketchbook.


Drew my barista and a graphic novella steamed up outta the page. Title,”The Java Knot”…..thought I’d post just a hint…..”I didn’t see it at first. Something about his refined manner and precise movements told me that when he pulled it, he’d use it with deft application. He kept his right hand notably free. His hair hung in loops that were either satiny or greasy depending I guess on where you’d last eaten and though he was trim and effeminate, elegant you’d say, his bearing was taut and assured. His shirt was pulled across a wide, square chest. I got a glimpse of a cauliflower ear; that and the surprisingly rounded knuckles on otherwise supple hands gave the clue that along the way he’d served up a loose tooth or two. His grey eyes set squarely into mine yet avoided any hint of search or judgement. I found his manner agreeable. No smirk if you chose the cheapest, most pedestrian roast, or mispronounced the blend. No patronizing, “Excellent choice!” My tip was acknowledged in a subtle way so as to avoid seasoning the next customer with a ‘dig deep’ prompt.”

Pitt Artist Pens on Romeo unlined Ivory journal.

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