Publish Novella 25 January 2023
A young lady begins her career as a visual artist, but soon finds herself fighting vices on the path to success.
New Local Talent
Yelena has enjoyed drawing since she was a little girl. Her skills have always outpaced peers. On a digital tablet, she became proficient with the art program called Creator Studio in middle school. So it seems natural that her college training would include fine art and graphic design.
Degree in hand, she types her résumé and credentials into online job-search sites. Yelena includes links to some of her best work. But the only email messages she receives are advertising automobile warranties, weight loss discoveries, or invitations to view hot foreign women.
Her best friend, Genean, offers encouragement. “Don’t get discouraged. It’s only been a few weeks. You have talent!”
“Thanks. I’m still schooling myself, I guess.”
Studying the styles of busy contemporary artists, Yelena notices that their techniques and interpretations of backgrounds are far beyond her own abilities. Genean comments, “It looks like some of them are on drugs.”
At first Yelena laughs. Then she wonders if it’s true. Researching the role of psychedelics among creatives blows her mind. Wondering if LSD will provide a competitive advantage, she begins microdosing. It definitely alters her perception. But she can’t hold a job that depends upon her coming to work half stoned.
Considering freelancing as a viable option, Yelena decides to gradually increase drug dosage throughout the week. Each day she draws a new illustration. When the week is over she wants to compare them with her current portfolio pieces.
By day four, the drugs are affecting her personality and inhibitions. She attends her first rave. There, Yelena discovers the dangers of indiscriminately grabbing drugs from a candy bowl.
Flanked by two half-dressed females, she awakens early the next morning on a dingy sofa in a warehouse loft. Her own underwear is inside out. One bra strap is under her arm, and a shoe is missing.
“Hey ladies! Who are you? Did you do something to me… or did someone else do something to us?”
There is no reply. Stumbling through vertigo to stand up, she unintentionally breathes in the aroma of cigarette butts and puke. This lands her on a floor that is covered with party streamers and trash. When Yelena awakens at noon, the two females are gone. She locates her other shoe and finds her purse without any cash inside.
The bright sunlight pierces her dilated pupils like needles through a pincushion. Finally seated in her automobile, she locates sunglasses within her glovebox.
Using a credit card, she pays for a coffee at a nearby drive-thru. The white foam in the cup resembles a yellow volcano to her. She begins blowing bubbles through the red coffee stirrer. When the beverage cools, Yelena finishes it in her emerald green car before driving home.
Still feeling the effects of the LSD laced with who knows what, she begins another illustration. This one takes on a dark dimension. She tries to piece together the evening’s activities.
The next morning, Yelena is contemplating a colorful painting of her sharing compromising positions with two strange females on a sofa. A chanting crowd of revilers are dancing around them in the starry night while popping pills.
Despite disgust with her behavior, Yelena craves more than a microdose of her psychedelic supplement. This inspires her to paint vivid murals on her apartment walls. In a short time, Yelena develops an addiction, attending more parties with similar outcomes.
Genean, visits Yelena’s apartment and is shocked by an invitation to attend a rave. “What’s happened to you?”
“What’s happened to me? What’s happened to you? You’re the one who doesn’t know how to party!”
“I’m not going with you and I don’t think you should go either. It looks like you need some rest. Have you been using drugs?”
“I’ve just been expanding my creative potential.”
At that moment, Yelena receives a text message that confirms an entry-level job offer at an advertising agency.
“You see? That’s what I’m talking about!”
Very soon, her vices become manifest. Coworkers find her crouched over the toilet an hour past lunch. Because of frequent self-medication, lack of concentration, and blackouts, she doesn’t last a week.
Genean urges Yelena to contact her parents. After receiving treatment, Yelena averts the worst outcome to the dangerous path she was pursuing.
Visions of Grandeur
Using free time to develop a unique style for herself, Yelena experiments with digital effects within Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Formerly average artwork becomes exceptional. This progressively leads to freelance assignments.
One Monday, while still in her pajamas, Yelena discovers a fantastic job offer in reply to a posted résumé. She acknowledges the offer. Then the company asks to see her right away for a nearby in-person interview.
“Yikes! I was expecting a video conference before meeting face to face.”
Yelena is hopping around her apartment like an orange kangaroo, with one vermilion stiletto, while putting on ruby red lipstick and tying a lemon yellow ribbon to hold her hair back. Rushing to get there as soon as possible, she finds herself in a loud-color creative building.
A redhead receptionist leads her to a cobalt blue conference room, where two women await. When the door closes, she recognizes them from the ones seated on the sofa with her in her illustration. At the center of the conference table is a bowl of tempting candy. It’s just like the one passed around at the rave!
“Hello. Have I met you before?” Yelena asks.
“Perhaps. The illustration of the rave on your portfolio site impresses us,” remarks one of the interviewers.
“Thanks. My work is very creative. I may be the best candidate for this position.” Looking around, she continues, “The interior sounds rather blue and lavender to me.”
“Yes, I hear it too,” an interviewer says, while bopping her head out of sync with her wriggling shoulders. “Have a pill?”
Yelena places one on her tongue and begins smiling as her eyes roll to the back of her head. The room darkens and loud music begins thumping. The three women are dancing as iridescent light illuminates their garments.
“Hey, can you tell me what happened between us on the sofa at the rave?”
The two women just laugh. Then, in an out-of-body experience, Yelena sees herself wringing to the music while laying supine on the table. The women are pouring the candy down her throat while she writhes to resist. She coughs and gags until awakening within her sparsely furnished unlit apartment.
This was just another bad dream. Flashbacks and hallucinations are unfortunate side effects of her black acid experience. But she doesn’t regress. Confident in her sober abilities, Yelena builds a successful career as an illustrator without resorting to mind altering drugs.