“Grab a bag?” I ask the camera man. The camera stays on me. “Great.” I take a deep breath, blow it out and head out into the malestrom known as an Atlanta storm. I ran around to the back of the Jimmy, opened the back and grabbed my bags. At this point I’m completely soaked and cussing up a storm, out loud but to myself. I close the back and almost trip running into the camera man. I really had to start remembering that he was there wherever I went. As I headed toward the building I remembered to set the alarm on the Jimmy and turned around to aim my remote at it. I ended up backing into a cameraman, but not mine.
“Dammit y’all!” I said. I started looking around to find my camerman, spotted him a few feet away and then walked right into a wall. Or at least I thought it was a wall. Quickly I saw that it was a person and for a second I thought it was the second cameraman and was saying “What in the Goddamned hell….” when I noticed that it wasn’t him at all. It was the person he was following.
It was Scott Dell.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
We stood there staring at each other in the pouring friggin’ rain for twenty minutes. At least that’s how long it seemed. More than likely it was three seconds but who’s counting. He looked the same as he did in high school, only…..better. Damn. What’s funny is that even back in the 7th grade I thought he was handsome, in a sort of rednecky and gruff way. Puberty was good to him in high school, as opposed to how it eviscerated me. I had zits and coke bottle glasses – what a beaut! He had retained his good looks into his twenties and his body had certainly matured. You could tell that he had remained athletic throughout college because his body was nice and solid. No, my x-ray vision hadn’t kicked in, it was raining, remember? His clothes were stuck to his body just like mine were.
“Do you always bring your own cameraman wherever you go?” he asked, smiling. Fucking perfect teeth, too.
B-duh, b-duh, b-duh I stammered in my head. It took me a second to speak as I looked around at the cameramen patiently enduring the rain in their fashionable ponchos.
“Well….” I tried to think of something funny to say (surprise) but couldn’t. “These poor saps are gonna really hate their jobs if we keep yentering out in the rain.” Mentally I squeezed my eyes shut. That was a pretty dumb thing to say.
Holding out his hand he said, “You’re obviously part of the reunion show too. I’m Scott Dell.”
“Yes, I remember you,” I replied smiling. Only I didn’t smile for long. I was still carrying my bags, one in each hand, and as I extended my own hand to shake his, the bag in it swung through the air and crashed into his shin.
“Damn!” he said, wincing, “what in the hell’s in that bag?”
“Dude, I am so sorry! Are you ok? This friggin’ shit-ass rain’s got me kind of flustered.” That and the fact that my childhood bully was standing there with hunky body and perfect teeth. Ok, so he’s the one that had me flustered.
“Rain gets you flustered?”
“Only when I’ve been standing out in it for twenty minutes,” I said laughing.
“Well, when you laugh, the rain just goes away.”
My eyes shifted back and forth between cameramen. “On what planet is that logic true?” still smiling. At this point I was contemplating building an arc and rounding up the Good Lord’s creatures.
“Oh, it’s just something that my….a friend used to tell me.”
“Oh really? Is that friend here today?” What the fuck am I doing? In the damned rain?
“I wish he’d start laughing, then.”
Chuckling, Scott said, “Why’s that?”
Putting my bags down I cupped my hands around my mouth like Elaine on Seinfeld and said “Because it’s raining out here! And we’re getting soaked!”
“Shit, you’re right. Dude, I’m sorry. Let me take your bag.”
He took the suitcase that clobbered him and headed toward the shelter at the main doors of the factory. I was completely soaked and so was he. But hey, he looked good wet so I wasn’t going to complain. Ok, so I had bad memories of his personality, but I sure had good ones of how he looked. Once we got inside he set my bag down.
“No, no baby, you aren’t dropping that this quick," I said.
Sticking out his hand he said “Nice to meet you.”
I set the bag down that I was carrying and shook his hand. “Well, it’s good seeing you again.”
“Yeah, in case you’ve missed it, we’re at a reunion party, which means we’ve met before” I laughed.
“True. I'm just having a hard time placing you, that’s all.”
“That means that you don’t recognize me, which is good because I really hope that I look nothing like I did in school. I’m Mike Logan.”
“Well the name sure sounds familiar,” he said.
You should always know the names of the people you bully in school, jag-off. Broke my pencils, threw my books on the floor, called me names. Fucker. Oh come on Mikey! That was a long time ago, remember, you’ve changed in the years too. Give the guy a break.
“Yeah, I remember that we went to elementary school together too.”
“Yep. Seventh grade, at least. That’s when I moved here.”
At this point we were walking toward the elevator. “From where?” he asked.
“Yankee” he said smiling. Perfect teeth.
I laughed my belly laugh and said, “You know, that’s what you said way back then. Douchebag.” Shaking my head I was still smiling. Changing the subject I asked him where his bags were.
“They’re upstairs already. I had forgotten to lock my truck and came down….shit, I ‘ll be right back. Forgot to do that. You had me flustered!” he laughed as he ran out of the building. Sighing inwardly I watched him run away. At least I watched his ass while he ran. God, I remember his ass. But that was just high school ass. Now he had a mature 28 year old ass.
I turned to my cameraman. “Got a towel?” No response from him. “Prick.” I wiped the rainwater out of my eyes as Scott came jogging back into the foyer. The front of him looked good too. Criminy. Eight weeks slobbering over this hot guy, knowing I can do absolutely nothing about it. I mean come on, we were to be on television and I was still in the closet then. And the sheer fucking irony that he used to be such… a…dickhead. Back to the front of him. He had nice solid legs that were good and hairy. His arms were hairy and tanned and he was also sporting a goatee. Oops sorry, I need to describe him. He’s a little taller than me, about six foot or six foot one, and probably weighed around 195. Blue eyes and brown hair a little lighter than mine. Woof!
“Nice day, isn’t it,” Scott said.
“Well maybe things’ll start looking up. Hey is anyone else here? I know it’s kind of late in the day already” I asked.
“Let’s see…I think her name’s Deanna, a chick named Jessica, and the other guys, Freddie and Charlie are here. Six down, two to go.”
After we all unloaded from the elevator I got to see the inside of the factory better. We were on the 4th floor of the building, which was also the top level. There was a huge skylight in the center of the building and all of the apartments opened up onto balconies that you could look over and see the ground floor. Scott showed me to our apartment and I finally got my first look inside. What an apartment! There’s no telling how much this place must’ve leased for. We took the entire west side of the building. Basically the factory was an old car factory, rectangular in shape with the long side running north/south on the property. The building immediately next to us was the old Sears building. It was a bit taller but you could still see the Atlanta skyline which also runs north and south on Peachtree Street. The windows went almost floor to ceiling and the floors were made up of huge wooden planks. The concrete columns were exposed, as was the ductwork and electricical conduits.
“Hey man, let me give you a tour.”
“Well, it’s pretty obvious that we’re in the main living area, with a ton of seating and the kitchen area open. Hey man, check it out. We have a pool table and a big ass t.v. with Playstation and Nintendo. On that side of the loft is the girls’ bedroom.”
“Yeah. I guess they want to be able to—“
“catch us on t.v. yentering about each other in bed?” I interrupted.
He chuckled. “I guess so. The girls’ room overlooks Ponce. Here’s our home for the next five weeks” he said leading me to the other end of the building.
“Shit, that’s right. So the place is basically three rooms; the two bedrooms and the living room slash kitchen.”
“With one helluva view! Check that out! I’ve always wanted to live in the city but I know there’s no way I can afford it on a teachers’ salary.”
“Oh, so you’re a teacher?”
“Cool. Where at?”
I told him the name of the school and he recognized it. “I have a nephew there. It’s supposed to be a really good school. What grade do you teach?”
“I teach U.S. history to the juniors and seniors. What grade’s your nephew in?”
“I think he’ll be a junior next year.”
“So your nephew…is he your wife’s sister’s kid, or whatever?”
“No, actually he’s my sister’s kid. I’m not married.”
“Wanna be?” Scott looked at me kind of funny. “I mean, most guys our age are married by now.” Crap.
“Ah. Not right now. Here, check out our room.”
I checked out the bedroom. It was huge! There were four double beds throughout the space, each with a night stand. A couple were against the windows and the other two against the walls. At one end of the room was a cool bathroom with this really big walk-in shower/steam room. Hmmm….the possibilities…..not! All of a sudden I realized that something was missing.
“Well Scott, where did the camermen go?”
“They pretty much stop at the door. Look out here.”
I poked my head out into the bedroom and looked to where he was pointing. Cameras in various locations meant to pick up on any and all activity within the apartment. I turned around quickly and checked out the bathroom.
He chuckled. “Nope. None in there. I already looked for them.”
“Good! At least we can take care of our ‘bidness’ in private” I said with a wink. I also have this tendency towards inapropriate humor.
He laughed out loud. “Oh my!” and it sounded exactly like the “oh my” from the Howard Stern show.
“Hey, you listen to Stern too?” I asked.
“Every chance I get. Dude cracks me up.”
“Me too! I love all of the sound effects that Fred plays throughout the show. That’s what usually cracks me up the most. Always love Robin’s newscast with Stern’s commentary. Not a big Jackie fan, though.”
“Oh your kiddin’! I love the Jokeman!”
“Oye” I said rolling my eyes. “Say, where’s everyone else?”
“You know, I don’t know. They were all here a minute ago.”
“Well I’s gwine take a shower” I said in my goofy black man voice. I have many voices and depending on the mood or the joke that I’m trying to get over at the moment. Don’t be gettin’ all trippy on my now. I bet you wouldn’t complain if I used my redneck voice, would ya! Shee-it!
“Wanna take one?”
Scott didn’t laugh and had a somewhat puzzled look on his face.
“I don’t mean with me” (yeah right) “I just didn’t know if you wanted to go first or not.”
“Oh, there’s actually a couple of stalls in there.”
“No shit. I must not’ve been paying attention; I thought it was just one big shower.”
“No man, that’s the steam room. The shower’s on the other side.”
I walked around the steam room, which was in the middle of the room, and spied the shower room. Yes, there were a couple of stalls in there. Oh goody! I guess I’d have to get up earlier or take my shower at night. Ever since my skinny days in high school I was painfully shy in the locker room. Being so thin seems to draw the eyes of everyone in the room when you start taking off your shirt. Even though there were half walls between the shower heads it still was just one of those things that skinny people don’t grow out of. Sure I was a nomal weight and size now but…hey, you know what I’m saying.
“So you must be Mike” a voice behind me said. I turned around and smiled at the person.
“That be me!”
“Hey man, I’m Freddie. Dude, it’s been like ages since I’ve seen you.” He shook my hand and then grabbed me up in a hug.
“Well ain’t you happy!” I said. I pulled away and said “Well Freddie, before you nail me would you at least kiss me first?” sarcastically. Scott burst out laughing at this. Freddie looked kind of weirded out. “Baby, you’re half naked and wet. Did you forget to lock your truck too?”
“No. Dudes, you gotta check this out,” and he took Scott and I each by the arm and walked us out into the bedroom and then the living room.
“I can walk, pal.” I grinned. Freddie dropped our arms and went over to a bookcase near the kitchen.
“Check this out,” he said. He grabbed part of the frame of the cabinet and pulled. It swung out to reveal a stairway leading up some stairs.
“What’s up there?” Scott asked.
“Hey man, we found this right after you went downstairs. Check it out.”
We followed him up the stairs and came out on what was the roof of the building. But up here there was a complete workout room with nautilus and free weights, a treadmill, stair stepper and all of the other things you might find inside a mini-personal gym. The gym part was towards where the guys’ bedroom was and had a wall on two sides, which was smart because of the southern and western exposure to the sun. The roof was made up of greenhouse windows which continued down over to the other side of the space and also covered a hot tub. It was big enough to hold around 12 people or so. On the north side was just a wall of windows and you could see all the way up to Buckhead and beyond. You could even see the treetops over at Piedmont Park if you knew where to look. Everything up here was really pretty private. I loved having the entire roof as a skylight. Right now you couldn’t see anything because of all the rain.
In the hot tub were Charlie, Deanna and Jessica. We walked over to where they were at; all of them were sipping champaigne. Yuck! I fuckin’ hate champaigne.
“Come on guys, the water feels great!” Jessica said. Freddie had just slipped back into the tub.
Scott and I turned to look at each other. I swear we must have read each other’s minds because we both kicked off our shoes and stepped right into the water. Clothes on and all.