"Reading about a famous artist, Claudia discovers something about herself." A Claud-centric one-shot.
Author's Note: I was raised on the Baby-Sitters Club books, and I still know the series backwards, forwards, and inside-out. This my first BSC fanfic. It came to me while reading a book similar to the one Stacey reads in this fic.
I Want Candy
Claudia knows it's going to a bad day before she's even dressed. As she's rummaging under her bed, looking for her cowboy boots, she happens to kneel down on her bright orange men's shirt, which has been lying on the floor since the last time she wore it. Just as her knees are pressing on the fabric, she realizes too late that there's something hidden beneath the shirt. Something soft and squishy. Claudia jumps to her feet and snatches up the shirt, but it's too late. She's knelt on a Milky Way bar, and now the wrapper has burst, smearing sticky chocolate all over her shirt. She doesn't know how she's going to clean it without her parents discovering she still hides chocolate in her room.
: BSC :
It goes from bad to worse during breakfast. Claudia borrowed her mom's library card last weekend – she lost hers – and over her cereal, she remembers she still has it. "Mom?" she calls, as her mom is about to head out the door for work. "I just remembered I still have your library card. It's in my jacket pocket if you wanna grab it."
"Okay, honey." And as Mrs. Kishi reaches into the pocket of her daughter's jacket, hanging on the coat stand by the door, Claudia remembers with a sudden panic what else is in there. But again, it's too late, and her mom's hand emerges holding not just a library card, but also a half-eaten roll of Sweetarts. Claudia gets another lecture about eating too much candy, but she doesn't really listen. By now she's memorized exactly when to nod or shake her head.
: BSC :
It gets even worse in English class, when she's caught reading Nancy Drew and the Six-Fingered Glove Mystery behind her textbook. Cokie Mason laughs at her, and Mr. Bailey gives her an extra writing assignment as punishment. Claudia can already see how the paper will look when she gets it back – the page covered in red circles, one around each of her spelling mistakes. The only highlight of her day is lunch. She munches on a box of Junior Mints she'd been keeping in her locker for a day like this, and laughs as Kristy makes fun of the gross cafeteria food and how Dawn's granola looks like hamster food.
: BSC :
That evening, Stacey comes before the meeting to help her with her math homework, and even though it's math homework, the worst thing in the world, it doesn't feel like such a chore when she has Stacey helping her. Still, she's lost when Stacey starts talking about foil and pemdas, and it takes longer than Claudia thought to work through all the problems. She feels so stupid when the other club members start to arrive for the meeting, and they're still not finished.
But her worries are forgotten when Kristy announces from her director's chair, "This meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club will now come to order," and soon the whole club is talking and laughing and taking jobs, like always. Claudia remembers there's a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels hidden behind her painting easel, and she pulls it and passes it around for everyone to snack on.
They've just scheduled a sitting job for Jenny Prezzioso when Stacey happens to mention the book she's reading, about celebrities who had strange eating habits. "It's actually pretty interesting," Stacey says as she pulls the book from her backpack and flips through it. "Did you Ronald Reagan hates tomatoes and has never eaten a single one his whole adult life?"
Claudia is unimpressed, but Dawn is so shocked she actually gasps. "He never ate a tomato?" she repeats in horror. "How could anyone hate tomatoes? I mean, they're so good, and you can put them in so many different dishes. My dad's housekeeper in California, Miss Bruno, she makes this pizza with garlic and tomato slices on it. It's so delicious."
Stacey is silent for a few minutes, reading the book with a thoughtful expression on her face. After a moment, she looks up, smiles at Claudia, and scoots closer to her on the bed. "Claud, listen to this," she says softly, with a sort of awe in her voice. She begins to read, "American painter Andy Warhol took eating sweets to a whole new level. Warhol visited bakeries near his home daily, often buying a cake or a dozen cupcakes and eating them all by himself."
"Holy cow," Kristy says, and a few other club members laugh, but Claudia is silent, taking this in. She knows who Andy Warhol is, of course. He was one of the most famous artists of the century, and Claudia has seen his paintings in plenty of art books. But she never knew...
"His luggage was once searched at an airport," Stacey continues, "and it was found to contain nothing but cookies, candies, and bubblegum. Warhol, who was a leading figure in the pop art movement of the 1960s, was also quoted as saying, 'All my life, all I've ever wanted to do is eat candy and paint.'"
"Wow, Claudia," says Mary Anne with a little chuckle, "he could be your soul mate."
But Claudia still doesn't answer. In her mind, she remembers every time she ever got in trouble for doodling in class instead of taking notes, for hiding candy in her room, for getting paint all over her clothes, for blowing all her money on chocolate and art supplies. Suddenly, it doesn't seem so strange, or wrong, or different. Suddenly, she doesn't feel so alone.
Stacey raises her eyes from her book and looks at Claudia, waiting for her reaction, but she just smiles and seems to understand when Claudia doesn't say anything. Stacey has always understood her. And, Claudia now feels certain, so would Andy Warhol. She smiles as she pops another chocolate-covered pretzel into her mouth. What a great artist to have in her corner.
: BSC :
For her next piece, Claudia starts with the lid of the shoe box that her high-tops came in. First she glues a collage around the edges, creating a thick border. She uses tiny reproductions of Warhol's paintings and photos of sweets, ones that she thinks Warhol would've liked - cakes and candies, Pez and peppermint patties. She glues each piece down carefully, leaving a blank white space in the middle. There, in her best print, making sure to spell each word correctly, she writes down the quote.
"All my life, all I've ever wanted to do is eat candy, and paint." — Andy Warhol.
Later, after the glue dries, she shellacks it, making it glossy and hard. Then she holds it at arm's length to take it in. The thick black ink is bold and easy to read in the clean white space, and the white space jumps out at the viewer from between the colorful, eclectic border. It's exactly what she was going for.
It's one of her better pieces, and Claudia considers entering it in a art show... but she dismisses the idea. Looking at it, she feels the same way she did after writing her autobiography for school; this piece is another sort of autobiography, perhaps more about Claudia than about Andy Warhol. She mulls over what to title it and where to hang it. Fortunately, a title comes to her soon, one that names the artist and the food who both inspired it. She writes in permanent marker on the back, I Want (c)Andy. By Claudia Kishi.
Finally, Claudia hangs it on her bedroom wall, in a place of honor directly above her easel, where she'll be able to see it whenever she's painting. She might have found all the inspiration she'll ever need.
The quote attributed to Andy Warhol in this fic is not actually a verbatim quote from Warhol. He did, however, say things very close to it about his love for junk food.
Thanks for reading. Please review?