Katie Brastow


Common Interest

I rolled my eyes and tried not to look bored out of my mind. To make up for not taking notes, I was studiously scribbling away at anything and everything I could think of. First it was the podium and the ancient professor standing behind it droning away at us about the effects of mental illness upon famous painters and their artwork. At least, that's as much sense as I could make of the lecture.

I'm not all that fond of history classes at the best of times, but this was the worst history lecture I'd ever been through. He kept saying the same things over and over, and then referring back to them again, without so much as a powerpoint to keep organized.

When I had catalogued an excruciatingly detailed sketch of the wrinkles on the speaker's face, I moved on to some of the desks around me, and the people in them. I obviously wasn't the only one in this state of near-comatose boredom. My peers, with a few of the usual psychological exceptions scribbling madly away at perfect transcripts of the lecture, were sprawled in various states of disarray at the desks, their notebooks being filled with the same apparitions sprung from our heat-oppressed brains. There wasn't much there, so I drew my cat, a Russian Blue named Wendy, about six months old, curled up on her pillow on my desk, her cute little feet in the air and her whiskers sticking up in perfect contentment. I half-smiled at the shadow, and somehow I got the idea to draw her as a human.

That would probably be the time when my mind started seriously wandering. Wendy started looking like Disney's Wendy, so I went with that, drawing Peter before I started on Tinkerbell.

That was about the point that a balled-up piece of paper hit my nose, dangerously close to my notebook already, and bounced off, eliciting an embarrassingly high-pitched squeak from me, and tumbled down to land directly upon Tinkerbell's half-finished pouting face.

I glanced up to make sure my stratospheric utterance of surprise hadn't alerted the dinosaur at the front of the classroom of my inattention, and thus assured, I un-crumpled the projectile.

It said:

Bored? I've got a challenge: let's exchange Disney prompts. Here's your first – Surprise.

Whoever had written it had also kindly included an explanatory illustration of Tinkerbell sticking her tongue out and waggling her fingers at me.

I looked up casually, smiling, and stared right into the eyes of my challenger, sitting one desk to my left.

The guy was probably about my height standing up—nothing impressive—had light brown hair a little too long, just long enough to put it back behind his ear and not fall into his face. He had boyish features and a light dusting of freckles, with the body of a swimmer under the grey sweatshirt and blue-jeans he wore. He reminded me of Peter Pan, weirdly enough.

He winked, and I smirked back at him, lazily returning my attention to my desk and flipping to a fresh page. I proceeded to outline Captain Hook, his hair on end and his face one of absolute distress, obviously directed toward the contented-looking alligator staring him in the face.

This I supplemented with the caption:

Challenge accepted. Good luck.

Next prompt = dumb blonde

I rolled this all up in a ball, then, and sent it rolling his way, returning, for the moment, to my pouting Tink.

Only a few minutes later, I found another crumpled page in my lap, which I opened to see Eilonwy, that forgotten little blonde from The Black Cauldron, glaring at her pre-teen love interest, Taran's back and looking like she was about to kill him. Taran was smirking, his arms crossed and his mouth open to a speech bubble of "Dumb Blonde." At the bottom was written:

Remember this movie? It's a shame she didn't make the Princess club – she was spunky.

Next – Modern

My fingers flew and I smiled, deciding upon my response with Tarzan, in his loincloth, squatting upon a table in the foreground of a very rough sketch of the local mall's food court, holding a page up to his face and studying it, while a woman who might have looked suspiciously like me – average height, skinny, small chest, stick-straight strawberry-blonde hair to her waist and wisps floating everywhere, you know the type– had both her hands clapped over her mouth, her eyes bugging out and her hair on end, as well as the rest of the papers, books, and pencils she had been carrying flying around her.

I followed with:

Of course I do! I can't believe you know it too! It's so underrated it's hard to find anyone who's seen it.

Prompt = gender-swapped

Have fun with this one! ; P

I smiled to myself, remembering all the time I had spent with my friends doing something like this. In high school we had had weekly competitions with prompts like these. It brought back great memories which seemed somehow in perfect cooperation with his easy smile and his crush-worthy cuteness.

I looked down to find myself doodling him, and blushed before turning to a fresh page and forcing myself away from that subject. I ended up drawing Peter and Wendy kissing…or rather Wendy trying to kiss Peter and Tinkerbell flying fast to prevent it. I sighed, giving up.

I was about to put the finishing touches on Peter's hat when he came up with another piece of paper, this time neatly folded in half, now that it was clear that our lecturer was completely unaware that he might have been talking to a brick wall for all we were paying attention.

I should have seen that one coming, definitely. Fine, let's see if you get this one.


He had written the above at the top of the page, and underneath there was a small, blonde boy with big eyes and a curious smile in a sort of blue and white uniform, staring at a larger man in fancy robes bedazzled with hearts, who seemed to be screaming his head off at the boy.

Alice and the Queen of Hearts. Cute.

But he couldn't really have meant the 80's movie with David Bowie and Jennifer Connely when he said Labyrinth, could he?

Frowning a little and stealing a sideways glance at him I began my work on Cinderella in the ball gown Jennifer Connely's character Sarah wore in the movie, who had apparently tripped, caught the hand of, and was now looking up into the face of a Disney-style David Bowie in the trappings his Goblin-King Jareth wore, complete with what was an obscene amount of glitter in any time but the 80s.

Don't tell me you know this movie, too?!

Try this one = Monty Python

I slipped the paper back to him and my drawings took a turn for the incriminating when they began to resemble a magical glam rock star and his underage love interest in a fantastical land "where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems."

I always did like that dress she wore. I remember I had designed a pattern for it a few Halloweens back as a potential costume, but I gave up when all my friends thought it was Giselle's from Enchanted.

Terry Jones, part of Monty Python, had written the original script for Labyrinth, which was what had put me in mind of the comedy troupe.

I unfolded the paper I was soon given eagerly to see what my new acquaintance had come up with.

I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I had a great deal of trouble not laughing aloud at Philoctetes, the midget satyr who mentored Disney's Hercules, dragging Hercules by his cape away from a grinning Meg, who was standing, her hand on her hip, with one of the straps of her dress slid down from her shoulder.

"Just a little bit of peril?" Hercules pleaded to Phil.

"No, it's too perilous!" the goat-man replied, scowling and firmly pulling in the opposite direction. He had gone a step further at the bottom with a quote along with the regular caption.

"Bad Zoot! Wicked Zoot!"

Of course I know it – it's David Bowie. Anyone who doesn't shouldn't dare call themselves cultured! How about this one now?

Douglas Adams

I shook my head and scribbled at the top of the page before answering the prompt,

Cultured, eh?

But what to do about Douglas Adams … in keeping with the Disney theme, of course?

This one was difficult – really, what Disney character would it be even mildly appropriate to throw into space… leaving Buzz Lightyear out of the picture. Somehow, I couldn't quite imagine him in Adams' sarcastic alien-filled 'verse.

I wrinkled my nose in concentration, and stuck my tongue out when I heard quiet chuckling to my left.

Finally, I drew Snow White looking down at Grumpy in her doe-eyed curious, childish way. Grumpy was staring back up at her, perpetually ticked off.

"What's GPP?" Snow asked the dwarf.

"Genuine People Personality," he replied, "I'm a personality prototype… you can tell, can't you?"

Upping the challenge, huh? Bring it on.

Neil Gaiman

And then, of course, I had to draw Marvin, the Manically-depressed Robot. I was about halfway through, after that, with Disney-ish designs of Zaphod, Arthur, and Trillian by the time I got the paper again.

Clever, that. And very evil.



His picture response consisted of Aurora, also known as Briar Rose or Sleeping Beauty, just sitting up from her coma-like sleep and giving Prince Phillip a look which could kill.

"Do I look like I'm your mother?" she spat into his bewildered face bending over her.

Stardust. Yvaine when she first meets Tristan. I had to give him props for that one, despite the illogicality of it.

Question, now…

I decided to go with something simple, unable to come up with anything that prompt could reference which was not the obvious meaning of the word.

I drew Jasmine, grinning from ear to ear, sitting cross-legged on a pillow, looking up at a thought bubble:


I shrugged, not able to think of anything else to write, and put down:


It was not long at all, for him to respond this time. He had drawn, at the top of his paper, Aladdin and Jasmine kissing inside a heart-shaped frame. The next bit surprised me, though.

Will you come to dinner with me tonight? Assuming we ever escape this room, of course…

Say, 8:00 at the diner down the street?

That was the extent of the writing. Below this was another picture however. It was a cartoonish version of himself, in a stylized version of the stereotypical Disney Prince outfit, holding out a hand for a version in the same style of myself, garbed in gloves, a tiara, and an astonishingly glittery dress. His 2-dimentional self blushed a bit, and my representation had one hand out delicately, half reaching toward him, and half seeming to be withdrawing. My other hand was clutched to my chest in typical surprised-princess posture.

I stared at it for a while, then began to draw, imitating his designs for our cartoon selves. In my picture, he had taken my gloved hand and drew it to his lips to kiss it. I stretched away from him, my other hand now covering my mouth delicately, a blush prominent upon my cheeks. I looked down my arm at my new beau.

See you there.

I tossed it to him, and glanced up at the clock and was only a little late processing the fact that we had been dismissed. I gathered up my papers and rushed out to my apartment to get ready.