Two Strangers Bond Over Voltron
Jimmy extracted himself from his 1998 hatchback and stretched. He found a rogue fry in his red beard, glanced around and found exactly zero people watching him, and tossed it into the parking lot for the group of birds that seemed to be waiting for something.
“There you go,” he said as he made his way to the only building at the rest stop.
The place wasn’t bad. He’d been in worse on this trip, but he was happy that he’d be at his destination in less than three hours. And the next morning…Salt Lake FanX would begin! Back outside he breathed in the thin, mountain air.
He’d been through the list of artists several times, and there were quite a few that he’d never met before. That boded well for his geeky art collection. He needed a few more characters to fill out his Star Wars wall, along with two more versions of Harley Quinn to go with all of the Jokers he had.
This would be his first time in Salt Lake, and he was looking forward to the convention.
Jimmy stopped in his tracks, pulled out of his musings about art by a short, muscular girl with long blond hair that was up in a ponytail. She wore a tank top and shorts. He looked down at himself, because he had so many geeky shirts that he literally forgot which one he put on about five minutes after he got dressed, and smiled. “You like Voltron?” It was the classic version, not the newer Netflix remake…which wasn’t half bad.
She smiled and held out a notebook the size of a regular piece of paper. “Keith is my favorite.”
So she was into the brooding characters, huh? There could be hope for her. When she turned her notebook around Jimmy’s jaw dropped open.
He’d seen a lot of comic and geeky art. He owned more than most people would ever see in their lifetime. He had whole walls dedicated to different fandoms, and had driven from New York to come to this FanX event.
The drawing was rough and black and white, but in a way that made it better. Keith, the brooding character from Voltron, practically leapt from the page, his dark eyes fixed on Jimmy, and his Blade of Mamora coming for Jimmy’s throat. He looked at the girl. “Wow, that’s really good.”
“Thanks.” She blushed and looked at the drawing with a smile. “Are you going to FanX?”
A couple with a little boy passed Jimmy, giving him the evil eye.
He sighed inwardly and looked around for this girl’s parents or siblings or whatever. The last thing he wanted was for someone to call him in as a creeper.
“Do you like the original better than the new one?” the girl asked.
Jimmy shrugged and made sure there was plenty of distance between them. “The old one is pretty cheesy. Have you seen it?”
“Yeah. It’s okay.” She shifted, and Jimmy couldn’t help but notice the muscles in her arms and legs. Why a thirteen-ish year old girl so buff?
“But you like the new one better?” he asked.
“So much better.” She grinned. “I mean, the plot is great, and I cried like three times. I’ve watched the whole thing at least ten times.”
If Jimmy had had a younger sister, this is the girl he’d want it to be. “Do you have any more drawings?”
Her eyes lit up, and she flipped through a few pages. Different characters from the show that were almost as good as her depiction of Keith. “Seriously, these are really, really good. Are you going to FanX?”
“No.” Her shoulders slumped and she looked down at her drawings. “I’m on my way to a gymnastics meet.”
“Oh, that’s cool.”That explained why she was so muscular. “Have you been doing it long?”
“Yeah, we’re going to a national tournament.”
“Wow. How do you do gymnastics and draw?” And watch Voltron, he wondered. The only personal experience Jimmy had playing sports was in the Wii, but he knew athletes spent a lot of time training. Like all of their time.
“I do it when I’m waiting. It helps me not freak out.”
“Anxiety?” Jimmy asked. Now that he had personal experience with.
“Yeah. Especially when people keep calling me the Cinderella story of gymnastics.”
Jimmy shook his head. “Sorry, I don’t keep tabs on women’s gymnastics.”
“It’s just a dumb nickname, but it makes me feel like because my family is poor that I have to transform into some perfect gymnast or something. I even have to put glitter all over my face.”
“That would be a lot of pressure.”
Jimmy shifted from one foot to the other. He felt for this girl. He’d battled anxiety his whole life, and wanted to say just the right thing to help, but knew that thing didn’t exist. But he did have an idea. “Hey, tell you what, why don’t you go find your mom or whoever, and I can give her my phone number, then she can give me her number and I can text pictures of some of the art that I buy from FanX to you?”
Her clear blue eyes went big like sauces. “Really?”
“Really. And then you can see other styles that you might like.”
She smiled and clutched her notebook to her chest. She looked over Jimmy’s shoulder and waved at someone. “Mom! He’s going to show me stuff from FanX!”
The woman gave Jimmy the once over—he could hardly blame her—then smiled. “What’s your name?”
“Jimmy Warrant, ma’am.”
“Well, Jimmy, I guess I need your phone number.”