Ben bought and installed a basketball hoop out in the parking lot, and the plan for tonight was that the neighborhood kids would play basketball with him. The heat changes some minds, and the younger ones drift to the cool of the basement. Someone asks if there are art supplies.
In the corner on some tables there are piles of paper, but Stephanie is drawn to the empty box from the basketball gear. She wants to make a new sign for the Red Brick Church out of it. She asks me to chop off the folds along the edge, leaving her with a perfect piece of clean cardboard, three feet by five.
Now the other kids get involved, and they need to raid the supplies from upstairs: scissors, tape, glitter glue, pens, crayons. I make them promise to put it all back. They promise and mean not a word of it.
Stephanie’s sign, in eccentric lettering, says “Red Brick Church People and 3 Animals”. She asks me to draw some people and animals on paper squares so she can glue them to the cardboard. I draw a fat guy with a combover. She wants him to have a matching wife.
I draw a rural lunkhead wearing a ballcap with an extra long bill. He is saying Duh. I draw a lady with Marge Simpson hair saying Grr.
Then I draw myself, which is easy: glasses and nose are the center of gravity, with a beard-rimmed frown below and some unruly hair above. Add a few consternated frowny lines to the forehead and the likeness is uncanny.
DJ wants me to draw him. I worry because I do not know how to draw black people. I worry that he will look like one of the horrible racist caricatures that were used on the covers of ragtime piano music in 1895. He insists. I tell him I can only draw goofy faces, so he makes a goofy face with his tongue out. Deep breath and go: actually it’s not bad. DJ loves it and shows it to his friends. He takes it home.
Janine, known universally as Pudgy, gets me to draw a dog. I draw a silly one which she takes and shows to my wife. Janine claims she did it herself. Big mistake: Linda knows my cartoon style very well, and calls the bluff. She excels at calling the bluff.
Stephanie glues the pictures onto her cardboard, but wants to work on it more later. It is good ecclesiology: most of us are cartoonishly silly, and some are animals. Stephanie does not, and almost certainly never will, know the word ecclesiology.
Time to go. Sure enough, they leave all the art supplies for someone else to pick up.