Gritty Details

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Saturday's Storyteller: "He was the best model because every photo had a piece of his soul."

by Belinda Roddie

He was the best model because every photo had a piece of his soul. It was like The Picture Of Dorian Gray, only sexier; I mean, he at least showed off some of his skin in the shots. No one else could made a shirtless promo for Italian salad dressing so tantalizing.

At forty-two years old, Mark Wimbly was brown-haired, green-eyed, slim, svelte, and square-jawed. He looked just as young and dashing as he did at nineteen, the first year he started modeling. That was when he snagged a lucrative gig at Denny's Warehouse, parading tuxedos and three-pieces in front of the camera. At twenty-five, he was the spokesperson for Lancaster Sportswear, the prime actor in Babble Cologne commercials, and a representative for about seventeen other brands of clothing or accessories. Throughout his early years of success, Mark worked with esteemed photographer Lauren Schultz, who managed nearly every photoshoot and wiggled her way into Mark's modeling contracts every time. Basically, the beautiful man would not work for anyone without his picture-taking buddy Lauren.

"Don't think this is a romance thing," he would say to the advertiser heads at each company he signed on with. "It's not. I don't go for blondes. And she's super gay. Like, premium petroleum gay. Not the unleaded cheap stuff."

In fact, Mark and Lauren had known each other since college. Lauren had taken an interest in cameras, and Mark always knew he was gorgeous. She started taking headshots for him, and it all went from there. Mark felt that in front of Lauren's lens, he was immortal. He would always remain youthful and spry, and he would dominate the modeling world forever.

Then, at age thirty-two, he got his first gray hair. And his true existential crisis began.

It wasn't that he wasn't a viable model anymore. Sure, his gigs had slowed down a bit as he got older, but they were still consistent, and the ladies were still flocking to him. But the realization that he wouldn't be young forever took a toll. At first, Mark was tempted to drink. Then he was tempted to smoke. After reminding himself that both of those things would simply age him further, he showed up at Lauren's beautiful penthouse and asked for her advice.

She was stone-faced as she led him into her office.

"I wasn't going to show you this," she said, pushing away a strand of yellow hair that had escapedher rigid bun. "But you're my ticket to the modeling world. I need you to stay handsome."

"I'm sure I could be like a silver fox," said Mark. "But all they model are hair growing solutions and SUVs. I'm not up for that."

He watched as Lauren opened a chest of drawers and pulled out a beautiful, almost old-fashioned looking SLR. It seemed to be built of leather and brass, lovingly built, but was it digital? Lauren turned it on and set it on her desk. Her expression was still stoic.

"My grandfather used this camera," she said, "before he discovered its power. We're pretty savvy with building and rebuilding technology. So after a while I was able to attach the lens and other parts to a digital apparatus. But it's years old."

"You converted it to a modern camera?"

"I'm very good," replied Lauren. "The lens is what holds the magic. This thing sucks away the soul of anyone who shows up on its memory card. Piece by piece, photo by photo."

"Don't fuck with me, Lauren."

"I'm not!" snapped Lauren. "My uncle always posed for the camera, and he looked like a twenty-year-old at sixty-five! Look, I'll start bringing this camera to your photoshoots, and I'll use it for at least one photo each other. You'll notice the distance. Trust me."

And Mark certainly did. He even offered to snap some pictures of Lauren to make sure she could stay young forever, too. But Lauren laughed. Her eyes twinkled, her youthful face now glowing.

"I'm one hundred twenty four, Mark," she informed him. "My uncle's one hundred fifty. Why do you think I spent so many years in college before you met me?"

This week's prompt was provided by Daniel Bulone.

No comments:

Post a Comment