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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Written Character Description & Dialogue

Sketch A – Banks

Brooklyn “Banks” Marshall is an artist first and foremost. At an impressive 88 years old, Banks is unusually reserved, often not leaving his apartment for weeks at a time. He has all his groceries delivered, and he tries to avoid face-to-face contact by any means necessary. There’s a deep, aching sadness hidden behind his dark eyes, and his stringy platinum hair supports this. His blunt demeanor can be intimidating, so his neighbors tend to keep their distance. In spite of his old age, Banks is fully capable of living alone, and he takes pride in his independence.

There is nothing in the world that Banks wants more than to return to his youth. Having grown up below the poverty line, he feels that he missed out on the simplicity and innocence of childhood, mostly because he was forced to go to work the moment he turned 12. After a lifetime of fending for himself, he found a slight sense of personal fulfillment in retirement, but it still wasn’t enough. He had to go back.

For the last fifteen years, the man has been at work on his self-proclaimed magnum opus, aiming to capture his childhood street in painting form. To him, it’s like a time capsule to his youth, transporting him right back to the breezy afternoons of old. Because of his constant work on the project, he only ever wears worn-out overalls and formerly-white T-shirts, now stained permanently with every color of paint imaginable. He’d worn them so long that they felt like a second skin. He also wears a simple but practical pair of leather work boots, with a hole in the left toe. He couldn’t be bothered to have it patched up.

With the constant fear of dying before completion, Banks works day in and day out on his painted masterpiece. With just over three quarters of the canvas covered, he’s set to finish in the next three to five years, but he’s not even sure that’ll be enough time. With an unpredictable deadline growing closer each day, his self-care has completely dwindled over the years, and he has started to neglect his own needs. He still powers forward, though, not caring about superficial things like appearance. He’s 88 years old, anyway. He doesn’t know (or, quite frankly, care about) who he’s supposed to be pleasing.

Sketch B – 

Charlie Reed is energetic and sociable. Despite having only moved to Norwalk the previous summer, she already feels like she has a solid footing in the community. She makes it a goal to talk to at least one new person a day. The only person she has yet to meet in her apartment complex is her upstairs neighbor, Mr. Banks. She had heard his name, but he never struck her as the social type. Charlie’s name means “free one”, and that title certainly suits her. She was given the birth name Charlotte, but decided at a young age that it was too flowery for her taste. 

The 18 year old is an absolute minimalist, living in a modest 1-bedroom studio with almost zero decoration. Her personal wardrobe is also incredibly basic. She never wears anything fancier than a pair of jeans and a graphic tee, aside from maybe a leather jacket or cardigan in the colder seasons. She is also never seen without her worn-out red converse, having owned them for half a decade. She hadn’t changed a lot since junior high. She almost always wears her dark hair in a messy ponytail, held tightly by her lucky hair tie. The only makeup she cares enough to wear is some basic smudged eyeliner, which she throws on haphazardly each morning. 

Although she doesn’t care much about physical appearances, she cares greatly about first impressions. She always tries to come off as honest and approachable, even if it means making a fool of herself. She carries a round tin of mints in her disorganized fanny pack, always making sure to pop one in her mouth before greeting someone. She also carries a hair brush and a tube of leave-in conditioner.

While a majority of her dreams seem lofty and unrealistic, Charlie’s true goal in life is to better her community. She volunteers at food pantries in her free time, and she spends the rest of her time delivering groceries for the neighborhood supermarket. The pay is modest, but she doesn’t mind. It gets the bills paid. She isn’t the type to blow her paychecks on superficial and material things, anyway. The most expensive purchase she’d made in the last six months was a $150 food processor. 

You can tell a lot about someone based on their eyes. They’re said to be the window to the soul, after all. Charlie’s are vibrant and shining, inviting anyone with a spare minute to stop and talk to her. Her side swept bangs frame them well, also complimented by her awkward but endearing grin. She has a slight lisp because of her overbite, giving her voice a distinct, one-of-a-kind quality. Taking this all into consideration, Charlie is incredibly easy to befriend. She’s very understanding, giving everyone a second chance, even if they don’t deserve it. It would take genuine effort to get on her bad side.


Character A: Brooklyn “Banks” Marshall           Character B: Charlie Reed

Scenario: After receiving a grocery delivery, Banks offers to tip Charlie extra to help him hang a picture he had recently purchased, not knowing who else to ask. She takes the chance to finally introduce herself. While inside, she catches a glimpse of his impressive painting, offering to help him work on it.

“This is really impressive… you made this?” Charlie inquired. She was absolutely stunned.

“Yeah, been working on it for 15 years… it’s not that impressive.”

“Oh, please… drop the modesty! You know damn well how cool this is.”

Banks looked up at Charlie, cracking a coy smile. “Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. I just like the attention.”

“That’s what I thought,” Charlie retorted. “How long do you think it’ll take to finish?”

Banks silently pondered. “I don’t know… four, maybe five years?”

“Well, at least the end is in sight. Have you ever thought about getting help-”

“I don’t need help,” Banks interrupted. “This is my undertaking.”

“Are you sure? I took art classes in high school, you could really benefit from letting me on.”

“I couldn’t if I wanted to. I’m too protective of this whole thing. It’s eclipsed me.”

“That’s exactly why you need me. You need to loosen up, you’re a total recluse. No offense, of course.”

“None taken.” He clearly didn’t mean this. 

As Banks weighed his options, Charlie took a good look at the painting. She noticed an almost gradient effect. One one side of the painting, the streets were alive, painted vibrantly and hopefully. As she scanned the horizon line, however, she noticed a gradual tonal shift. The opposite side was mundane and lifeless. When an artist commits to a project, they become wrapped up in its creation, often losing themselves in the process. She could see the progression of Banks’ unwellness before her.

“This… means a lot to you, doesn’t it?” Charlie asked concerningly.

“Yeah, it does. We should probably get to hanging that painting, though. Don’t have all day.”

“Oh… right. Let’s do that.” Charlie’s mind lingered on Banks’ masterpiece, however. She couldn’t describe how badly she wanted to help him, but he clearly wasn’t interested. That thought wouldn’t leave her mind until she went to sleep that night.

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