The Artist’s Ally by Devon Muhic


Susan placed the last box down on the tiny table they were sharing with Arti’s cousin. It had been more expensive then she had thought at first but at with the guest line up they thought for sure to make the money back in no time. After all they had made enough to the lead up to this on the Esty account to give Kam half for the spot. All around her people were finishing setting up.

Many in the artist ally seemed to know each other and bantered across the narrow aisle-ways. She barely had time to look around and hoped she would have a chance. Three booths down there was an amazing print of a Tachikoma reading a book that would look wonderful on the back of her bedroom door. She wondered if the guy was a Kinny and maybe they could trade. Or maybe that was something she shouldn’t even ask. Looking back down the aisle Susan deiced to wait and ask Kam about that. After all he was the pro at this, selling his zombie Mario stuff at the last few Cons.

He had set up his stuff, including a set of blood splattered Goombas on exactly half the table.


Arti had come down earlier with him and done most of the set up on their half. Susan had wanted to help but had run into some last moment late night sewing problems with the set of house robes she had been working on. It always seemed that earlier you started on this sort of project the later you have to stay up the night before in a panic. Still the time last night was worth it and Arti had been so excited to try it on. So it had been worth it and after all Susan figured she wouldn’t have been all that great at string up all the art on the neatly arranged overhead string. All that was left was to set out the magnets and the buttons and they would be all set.
Before she opened the box she pulled out the Con’s schedule and unfolded it, the fuzzy creases running along the page. She had made sure not to fold over the highlighted line that read “Elgar Reed – A conversion on the state of fantasy in a modern world”. After all what would be the point of all of this if they couldn’t see him talk? They had it all mapped out Susan would go and hold a spot in line then Arti would join her. Kam had told them he would hold down the fort if they could look after his side when panel on “Classic B films” was going on. That two had been highlighted in bright orange so she could make sure they knew what time they needed to be back at the booth.

Over the loud speakers, an announcement was made about the public being let in soon. She made note of the time and quickly unpacked the box.


Things had been moving well, though they were not the only Kinny’s with tables they were the only ones with magnets. Arti had agreed after they had sold out of the Foesmiter magnets that it had been a good idea. They made note to order more for the next Con.

As Arti chatted with someone who wondered if they could do Viceroy zombie cross over, a tall man stopped and seemed to be thinking very, very hard at a picture of Kin and Dom with some little hearts overhead. Susan felt she had really captured the expression of love just right. After all she was sixteen, and knew all about that sort of thing.

“Hi! Do you like it? They are ten dollars each or I can do two for fifteen … sir?” she waited as he turned back to a shorter, dark-haired pregnant woman.

His companion pushed her way forward, her pregnant belly making it hard for her to navigate both the crowed and the narrow space. Her jean jacket was covered in buttons and pins. Many of them marked her as a Kinny, too.

“Pip,” he said. “Am I the only one who didn’t know about Bevel?”

The woman gave a soft smile and placed a hand on his arm. Susan paused for a moment and tried to shake the feeling that she’d meet him someplace before.

“Oh, have you not read any of the slash fic? Not everyone has, I mean it’ not for everyone.” Susan shrugged and pulled out another set of prints, these ones of the more traditional moments from the books. “I have these if you don’t like the fic stuff…and buttons! I have buttons.”

The pregnant woman he’d called Pip looked though the buttons. The man looked with an almost critical eye at Susan. She was about to say something, or excuse herself, when he finally spoke up again.

“You outer garment, your house robe; it is the best I have seen yet in this gathering. Though it really is for home use…”

That was best thing that anyone could have ever said to Susan, and she beamed. “Oh you like it? I based it off the books, I mean the ones in the pictures are good and such but there was always something missing, you know? Well I guess you do. I would have liked to have made a court dress, but I ‘m still working on my sewing,” she rambled as the swell of the crowed pushed her customers closer to the table.

He nodded back to her as the pregnant woman picked up two buttons with the Shadow Hand’s mask on it. Placing exact change on the table, she smiled and took his hand, dispersing with the crowd, though not before Susan heard him say: “Anyone can choose to wear my mask on their lapel?”

Leaning over Arti tapped Susan. “Who was that guy?”

“I don’t know, but he liked my robes. A book Kinny, I guess?” she tried to find them again, but they were far lost in the mix of people.

Arti nodded. “Yeah. ¬†Funny, if he didn’t have that scar, he would have made a great Forsyth.”

With a nod back, Susan returned to setting out more buttons of the Shadow Hands Mask.