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Excerpt from TPOD:…

 We all three heard the unexpected opening of the door at the same time and turned toward it. Afternoon light spilled in with Dick’s long shadow. He was home in the middle of the day. Unannounced. Naturally, by this time both the boys were naked, wrapped in the red satin sheets that were my standard, a trademark in every one of the romance shoots. He looked at me, then them, then back to me. It was the first eye contact we’d shared in ages. He didn’t have to say anything. His dilated black pupils were angry and accusatory. He gave nothing away to the models. His color momentarily fluctuated between tan and blanched, but he covered it with his practiced smile. He apologized for the interruption. I introduced him as my roommate. He sat down at the edge of the studio in a chair, pretended to read mail he’d brought in with him. He’d carried in that ‘bad vibe’ sensation. It now clung to him like cheap cologne.

I finished the shoot in record time, thanked the boys and promised to have copies of the shots in their emails by that evening. That left me with Dick moving through the house acting as if he wasn’t angry, but I could feel it there swimming beneath the surface. He’d caught me in a lie. I didn’t want to feel guilty and didn’t know why I did. I think that’s the difference between people who have consciences and those who don’t. Dick would never have felt guilty for lying to me.

He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. What began to happen after that made it clear that everything between us from friendship with occasional sex to business would never be the same.

I drank even more, had more frequent hangovers, and worried ceaselessly. It was one thing to have a friendship temporarily on the rocks, but we were business partners as well. We had tied ourselves together like kids in a three-legged race. I had held on to hope that things would get back on track. That he’d recover at least some of his old self, that I wouldn’t have to lie awake and worry about someone I no longer trusted, who no longer trusted me.

The problem for him was that I was the problem. The longer we lived together, the harder I was to explain away. There aren’t too many supernatural things I believed in, but the one thing I know is that humans have a built-in sense of intuition. We can sense something bad or dangerous. I was sensing both.

*  *  *

Together Dick and I had reached our tipping point. It’d taken many years and a near tragedy for me to overcome the hurdles of his family and friends while maintaining his secret sham. I could finally behave in a normal manner again. This time I was being pushed down and back because of his homophobic employers. I didn’t know how many more sacrifices I would be expected to make on his behalf. I was living a twilight life.

This wasn’t fair to someone pushing into his forties. Dick's life of lies was impeding my personal freedoms. I was making endless concessions and he was making none in return. I was being met with hostility because he considered me more of a liability than a friend. I was depending in vain on the value he placed on our friendship to redeem us, and salvage everything that seemed to have taken a left turn in to hell.

I respected his intelligence too much to think he didn’t see this. He had to understand why I was reluctant to have him in another shoot after his homophobic outburst at Ran. His ego had been scraped down to raw nerves because Ran had cottoned to his secret. I couldn't have someone so explosive at a shoot; always worrying over what might flip the switch that turned him into a monster. The distance we had to go to find our way back to our friendship just kept getting wider and icing over.

He would test my honesty more frequently now to see if I’d booked any more romance shoots, but no matter what answer I gave him, I wasn’t believed. Skepticism doesn’t have to be seen to be felt. I had plenty of unused shots from over the years that had never been seen that I could sell. He began to spend more of his weekends out at the ranch, but occasionally he’d sneak back early, and I knew it was to see if he could catch me in another lie about a shoot. The seeds of mutual distrust blossomed quickly. I was going through cheap boxes of Cabernet like they were lemonade. Hangovers, extra calories, and added weight were the unwanted side effects of leaning on that crutch.

He’d mentioned the name of the ranch, and out of curiosity I Googled it. It was one that was classified an historic location and was being refurbished and revitalized by a fifty-five-year-old woman named Selma, a divorced mother of five youngsters ranging in age from eight to twenty-one. Her help came in the form of a band of volunteers, a member of which Dick could now be counted. There was a picture of her. She was a short, zaftig woman with long, dark hair she pulled back in a ponytail for the picture. What you might call handsome. Time may have given her a few pounds, but her looks transcended them. She seemed completely at ease with herself, and had no qualms being photographed in unflattering positions in overalls, while saddling or shoeing horses.

My first thought was one of nagging worry and fear that Dick would try to do to her, this honest hard-working woman, what he’d done to Mr. Walsh and all the rest of his victims. She was already a client, but she had something that meant more than money to Dick. She held the key to the door of his fantasy life as a cowboy. An entire ranch on which he could act out his Lonesome Dove dream. I could only feel dread over her proximity to him. I hoped she was a smart woman and would see through his bullshit.

We were spending less time together during the week. He worked very late, sometimes until after ten. I first assumed he was taking on new clients and getting buried in paper work in an effort to avoid me. However, I knew Dick and recognized his patterns of behavior. This was the one he used when he was plotting damage control for his reputation. I’d been here several times. I didn’t have to see the motor to know what drove the car.


United States



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vandersonart Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy Birthday!
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Happy birthday
The-Darkwolf Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2016
Happy birthday! :cake:
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Happy Birthday. :)
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Happy Birthday. :)
LakelandFL56 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Birthday cake  icon   Hope that you have a great, wonderful, and fun-filled Happy Birthday with all your friends and family!  MenInASuitcase 
dehevia Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2016
I have no especial words to describe my admiration for all your pistures. Good luck, dude!!!! You're awesome and a real artist!!Heart 
SonicBlueRanger Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2015
Just discovered your gallery and I love it.
SpaceCowboy91 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015
Happy Birthday. :)
Fiction-Art-Author Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015
Happy birthday. :)
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