The Best Giant Robot Art Teacher Ever
Juana la Cliker-Rooster
Hi all! Here's a new one I've been playing around with for a while, trying to make it perfect. So of course you're going to spot the little errors that I did not. I like this one a lot, and there's going to be more soon. Please review maturely, as you all know the drill by now. Regarding reviews, if you send me a review to inform me that I'm an idiot, or full of shit, please go to my profile, read what I will do if you send me unnecessarily hateful, homophobic, childish, abusive crap. I have never blocked anyone before, but it will have to come to that if people keep using abusive language. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's pathetic. I took a lot of shit as a child, I will NOT tolerate it as an adult, especially over such an anonymous website such as . So review like you're old enough to understand how to critique. If you don't have those skills yet, leave my story.
Thanks to all my wonderful readers and reviewers, I appreciate all of you and your helpful, kind words! I love reviews so much, they help me to continue writing for you guys!
Chapter One: Abstraction Needs a Caption
Everyone could see it: their leader was frustrated, exhausted, overworked and just a little angry. The Elite Guard was giving him grief and threatening to have him imprisoned for his 'lies'. The Decepticons were out there, plotting their next move to take him down, and human/Autobot relations were strained to the point of fear and mistrust.
Optimus Prime was going out of his mind with fears, worries and other exhausting, depressing thoughts, and he really had no way to ease his tension. He tried reading, but that only made him think more, which ended up hurting his head. He tried to get some rest, but that proved to be unattainable, what with everything weighing down on his shoulders as it did. Prowl attempted to teach Optimus to meditate and calm his inner turmoil, but the Prime felt like he was sitting around and doing nothing, which triggered more depression.
Bumblebee and Sari tried as well by forcing Optimus to sit his aft down and play a mindless video game. He stared at the moving images on the screen like a moron before the flashing lights and loud music suddenly brought on an urge he hadn't felt since his exams at the Academy. The two youngsters watched the stressed leader jump from his seat and run outside, where he could be heard emptying his fuel tanks violently. Ratchet ran out after him and helped him back inside when the ordeal was over, and the Prime was too weak to do anything for the rest of the day.
No doubt about it, Optimus Prime was one sick cyberpuppy.
Ratchet helped his leader and now patient to the med bay, where he forced Prime to lie down and get some rest. Optimus wouldn't have it, of course.
"Ratchet, I'm fine," the Prime protested, "I was just feeling a little under the wea—"
"Mute it or I will," the medic snapped back, although he hadn't meant to be so gruff, "you ain't leavin' this med bay until I see fit. You're overstressed and burnt out, everyone can see it. You're goin' to deactivate yourself with all this worryin'." Optimus tried to sit up to leave, testing the medic's patience.
"But if Ultra Magnus calls, he'll—HEY!" Ratchet roughly pushed the leader down and said in a more concerned voice,
"Listen to me, kid, you need the rest. I'm not doin' this because I'm a jerk, I'm doin' it because you're goin' to end up hurtin' yourself if you don't stop. I've worked under Magnus before, I can handle anything he throws at us. He's a good guy; just a little controlling is all. Now lie down and get some rest. Please."
Optimus gazed up at his medic and sighed. He (reluctantly) knew the old mech was right; it was time for a break. It felt wrong, though. What if something happened while he was taking this break? What if one of his men was injured in an attack? It would be his entire fault, and it would be yet one more reason to hate himself.
"Magnus and that aft-headed Sentinel of his will see the Decepticons eventually," continued Ratchet, bringing Optimus out of his current string of worries, "Right now, there's nothin' we can do but pray to Primus that he will send them in the Guards' direction. Now lie down and recharge for a while. If anything happens, I will alert you, I promise, kid."
Ratchet's optics told the young Prime he was being serious, so Prime did as he was told and off lined his optics, despite his spark yelling for him to get up and worry some more. Ratchet sighed, pleased that he'd won this little battle, then reassuringly patted the young mech's arm.
"Good kid," he said, "I'm proud of you. I'll be back shortly, I need to check on that yellow menace and the organic protoform from the Pit." Prime chuckled, then listened to the medic leave the room. Optimus remained there, making an attempt at recharge and instead thinking more about his situation.
After what felt like stellar cycles, he actually went into a very much needed, well-deserved nap. It was so peaceful and perfect that when he woke up, he wasn't even aware he'd fallen into recharge. Optimus sat up and looked around, trying to recall where he was. Upon remembering he was in the med bay (the many terrifying instruments gave it away), he sighed and rubbed his head, then heard stomping coming his way. The room began to shake with the stomps, until Bulkhead arrived at the door.
"Oh, hi Boss-bot," he said quietly, "Didn't mean t' wake you up. I was just lookin' for Ratchet, see if I could borrow one o' his tools. The power washer thingy. I kinda made a mess in my room with a bucket of dirty paint water." Optimus shook his head and said in a still weary voice,
"Sorry, Bulkhead. Ratchet's out. I think he said something about finding Bumblebee."
"Oh, right. Duh. He's makin' the little guy clean some room we haven't check out yet. Prowl and Sari are there too. So, uh, it's just us here. How ya feelin'?" Optimus rubbed his neck and answered,
"I feel a bit better after my little nap. My head doesn't hurt as much anymore, but I'm still worried. It's been a rough couple of weeks. Ultra Magnus' arrival hasn't been as helpful as I had hoped it would be. It's made my function worse, really. I don't know what to do, Bulkhead." The largest 'bot scratched his head thoughtfully for a moment, then said,
"Prime, I think you're thinking too much. Which is okay, I mean, but I think you need to stop for a while. Come with me, I wanna show you somethin'."
"No, Bulkhead, I can't. I have to go make sure Ultra Magnus hasn't—"
"S'okay, Prime. I had my door open while you were out, Ratchet told me to listen for any calls, and Magnus didn't call. Now come on." Optimus continued to sit on the berth, staring at Bulkhead with a twinge of impatience gnawing at his circuits. But a moment later, he decided it would be best to just go and hope for whatever this was to be over soon. He had important stuff to do.
"Don't worry," said Bulkhead in a cheerful voice, "this'll be fun. And you need fun, Boss-bot."
The two walked down the halls, through the living area and into Bulkhead's room, the largest room in the livable part of the base, and Prime saw right away why Bulkhead had needed Ratchet's power washer: there really was a mish-mash of dirty paint water on the floor. Prime had always thought that paint water would be rainbow colored, since all the colors were so bright, yet here it was, all muddy and brown. It was disgusting, really.
"All right Boss-bot, c'mere." Without looking at him, Prime could sense the excitement in Bulkhead's vocals. Optimus obeyed the larger 'bot and found himself staring at a blank canvas. He sighed and turned to face Bulkhead,
"I don't have time for this, Bulkhead. I need to get back to—"
"NO," said Bulkhead, "you're gonna try this. Here," he handed the smaller 'bot a mop, "Sit in front of the canvas and offline your optics. Then, place the brush in any can of paint and blindly paint on the canvas."
"Bulkhead," Prime protested, "I don't—"
"Optimus Prime," Bulkhead said firmly, almost parent-like and catching his leader off-guard, "I am not gonna let you go back out there all stressed out and sick. You were emptyin' your fuel tanks for Primus' sake! This is just a little exercise to help you let go of some control and just let yourself get loose. I don't want you to be sick anymore, you need this." Optimus sighed, then took the brush in his hands, slightly annoyed but keeping his mouth shut. He chose a color, red, sat down in front of the canvas and off lined his optics.
Sighing again (Bulkhead began to make mental tallies), he lifted his arm and pressed the brush against the canvas. He knew nothing about art, so when the fabric reacted to the touch, he immediately thought he had broken it. Bulkhead laughed and explained what a stretched canvas was made from and how it was prepared, then instructed Prime to continue.
Prime tried again, and made a long line across the fabric. He made another line, possibly through the middle of the first line, he had no idea, and made more marks until Bulkhead told him to place the brush into the paint again. Bulkhead had placed a bucket of 'mystery color' next to Prime, who blindly dipped the brush in and returned it to the canvas. He was tense and self-conscious of what he was doing, afraid he was doing something wrong, but Bulkhead made no comment on the choices being made.
After ten more colors, Bulkhead said,
"Okay, online your optics. I want you to see what you've done so far." Optimus did so and gasped at what he considered a horrific mess. Colors splattered randomly on the once clean white surface of the canvas; it was chaos, complete and utter chaos! Prime felt even worse about himself and groaned,
"Oh, Primus, Bulkhead, this is—"
"Beautiful," Bullhead finished for him, gazing at the colorful mess, "isn't it wonderful? It's abstract."
"Really," muttered Prime, "I think abstraction needs a caption."
"Naw," said Bulkhead, "it's fine, it really is. Now, I want you to paint more on it, but with your optics online. Let go of your control. Now you can see it, and it's going to be tougher. Don't think in terms of images, or subject matter. Just let your imagination do its thing."
"I don't know," argued Prime, unconvinced that this…whatever it was could be considered any art form. Bulkhead sighed, then suddenly remembered something.
"Hang on, Boss-bot," he grinned, "I wanna show you something else. In a book." Optimus turned his head to look at Bulkhead with annoyed optics, but the giant was off, rummaging though old milk crates he'd unwittingly stolen and filled with books. He talked to himself as he searched for a certain book; Optimus raised an optic ridge as he wondered if Bulkhead was losing touch with reality.
Finally, the book was found! Bulkhead held it high over his head triumphantly then waddled back over to Prime, head in his hands and bored. He looked up and asked,
"What are you showing me?"
"Artists! This stuff is really cool…a little weird, but cool. Here:" he opened to a page and pointed at some very odd paintings—they looked like thought-deprived, random splatters of paint, similar to his own painting, but more energetic and loose.
"This," explained Bulkhead, "is an abstract piece done by a guy named Jackson Pollack. He did these big drip paintings where he would stand on ladders or over the canvas and just throw paint around. Except he knew what he doing. He had a composition in mind. It looks like a big mess, but a lot of people hold his stuff in high regard! Not everyone, but still."
"It looks like that time Sari got sick, only more colorful…." Optimus muttered. Bulkhead turned the page again to show Prime more of the drip paintings. A moment later, he turned to a different section and Prime found himself dropping his jaw at the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
"What the frag?" he wondered out loud, and Bulkhead chuckled.
"This artist was really weird too. He was really free with his use of color and line. He's not perfect, but he wasn't afraid to let himself loose. Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you Prime? You worry too much about what others think. You need to let go of your control and just…be weird for once, I guess."
Optimus looked back at his own painting, then at a Basquiat reproduction. He clutched the brush in his head unconsciously, then said,
"Bulkhead…fine. I'll do it. Just, give me some time to thi—"
"NO! Boss-bot, stop thinking for once. Just do it! Paint a circle, paint a squiggle, paint a monster with twenty heads and no arms. Paint anything, but don't let thought get in the way."
"Well then tell me how that works, because I don't—" Optimus paused, suddenly understanding what Bulkhead meant. He was too preoccupied with what others thought about him, what he said, what he did, what he didn't do…he had to stop worrying about everything.
Slowly, he dipped his brush into the green paint, then decided to mix it with the purple. It wasn't the most attractive color, but he forced himself to not care. He began to paint an animal he'd seen on the television once while watching a nature show with Prowl, and he decided to stray from the details. The animal became cartoony, disproportionate and completely anatomically incorrect. It was ugly, it was strange, and it was beautiful.
Bulkhead smiled, then said,
"You got it. You let go. Prime, you should be proud of yourself."
"I…kinda am," admitted Optimus, just a bit embarrassed by the praise. It did feel good, he thought, to relinquish some control and thought. He didn't care what anyone would think of it. Bulkhead gave him a clap on the back and said,
"You can come back to it anytime you want and add more, or put layers on, or whatever you want. When you're done, you can hang it in your room. It deserves to be hung on a wall, like those famous paintings are."
Optimus got to his feet and took Bulkhead's hand, giving it a good shake, as he'd seen the humans do with one another.
"Thanks, Bulkhead. It…I do kinda feel a bit better. It's like my processor just took a nap without me going offline. Thank you, really. Maybe you should do this with Prowl, or Bumblebee. Primus knows Ratchet could use this."
"Oh, don't worry," replied Bulkhead, "they're next. I've seen the mess Bumblebee can make with art, but the others are going to feel my wrath. We'll have a little gallery show in our living room one day." Optimus laughed and said,
"I'd like that. And thanks again, Bulkhead. But I do need to get back to work. I'm going to call Ultra Magnus."
"Okay, Boss-Bot. Thanks for letting me tell you what to do." Optimus smiled, just a little embarrassed, and replied,
So yeah, just a cute little thing I wanted to see in the show. Who knows? I'm looking so forward to Season Three! Review!