It was a warm sunny afternoon the Friday I met him. The studio was empty and I had sent my assistant Dave home early so he could get a start on his weekend binge. He promised to be level headed on Monday and I intended to make him keep that promise. I was hoping that a little extra time off would help with his Mojo. We couldn't afford another film flub-up. The boys in the lab were just as guilty, but there would be hell to pay at the production meeting come Monday morning.
I was cleaning off the accessory rack and wiping down the mens dressing room counter when I heard the door slide open. The fashion division was in an old warehouse connected to the even bigger furniture division of LMB Studios. It was a cavernous space with massive eighteen foot sliding doors that made it easy to hear entrances but hard for hasty exits.
"I thought I heard you. Your camera and lens case are on my desk."I yelled out. Dave was well, a bit forgetful. I knew he'd be back for them. It seemed this assistant was going to take more time to break in. As I rounded the corner there he stood. "Oh, hello. I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else. May I help you?"
"Um," he was clearly uncomfortable at having startled me." The agency sent me over. Matt says you're the best with the new comers. Would you like to see my book?"
Damn do I. This kid had that, " Je ne sais quoi" dripping from all corners. " Well I was just closing up for the weekend but since Matt sent you over, let's see what you got." I gestured towards the sofas up by the front windows. The huge wall of glass block windows beckoning with better light. "I'm Lucas. I'm sorry I didn't catch your name?"
"Oh that's cause I didn't give you my name. It's Marcus." He smiled as he offered his hand and the thin black portfolio." Marcus Grant. Thanks for seeing me."
I could swear there was a bit of a flirt in his voice. I took his hand in mine. Tepid. His manner smooth. Grinning, he handed over the typical 5 by 7 glossy. All the agencies started out with the same black and white card. Stats...Not too big 6'2", not overly built 40" chest, 34-36 inseam, 165 lbs. Wamer. That Matt had an eye. Note to self, call Victors on Monday.
"Please have a seat," I gestured towards the sun washed sofa. Tiny prisms of light beginning to appear. I wondered if he would catch his light. Most of agencies had a tendency to let me do their sorting and snuffing.“Well let's see what you got for me.” I leafed through the skinny portfolio.
The amber glow was almost perfect for late afternoon shooting.
“Wow, the light here is wonderful.” His face was luminus.
There was something different about his answers to my customary questions. His age? How long have you been a model? What do you want from the industry? Why did you decide to become a model? Like warm delicious honey it was plain and simple. Marcus needed a job. He was putting himself thru school. Medical School.
Hot and Sultry.
“Nice. Your very photogenic. Great angle, did Jon Piffling shoot that? Isn't he fun to work with? Nice catalogue shot. Not much editorial. Ever been to Europe? Nice jean shot.” I glanced over, my eyes darted downward. He smiled. “Not too much “fashion” here. No full body pics and you need an underwear shot.”
“Thanks, Matt said you would have some great suggestions.” His smiled swelled. “ How about we take advantage of this light and get that skivvy shot out of the way.” And with out loosing a beat, he stood up kicked off his black drivers,and walked over to an old prop chair. Dropping his pants and T shirt, he straddled the chair and leaned back against the wall.
“Hold that right there.” I grabbed Dave's camera off the desk." Don't move. Click.
It was as if he could read my mind.
“Come here.” Marcus stood up, put his left foot up on the seat and stretched his left arm forward. Opening his torso out towards the camera, he put his chin down. Reaching for the beam of light, “You gotta see this.” He Laughed conspicuously.
“I know.” Click. “I know.” Could I get any luckier? I laughed too, instantaneously.
He was pure and genuine. Not self conscious at all. Sulphurous.
Then as if he really could read my mind. Marcus hoisted the chair over his shoulder, twisted his torso and took a step back with his right foot. Staring through the lens, through me, he pleaded, “Got what you need?”
Not exactly. Click. “I think we got it. The shot I mean." I got what you need, I thought.
He laughed as he set down the chair and gathered his clothes. “Thanks that was fun. I'm famished, are you hungry?”
I handed Marcus his T shirt. “What say you and I grab a bite and talk about getting those editorial shots. I've got a trip to Sitges coming up and something tells me I might need a new assistant.”