The wonderful Friday Flash Fics challenge continues. Today’s characters aren’t from one of my published pieces, but instead from my Village project, a series of Novellas set in a fictional version of the Ottawa gay village where a bit of magic happens to come through. There’s no actual magic happening here, but as you can see from the picture that inspired it, there’s all kinds of magic.
“I look ridiculous.”
Caleb lowered his camera and waited. Beside him, Jian tapped a thumb against his bottom lip, a line appearing between his eyebrows.
“You’re right,” Jian said.
That was a surprise.
Jian stepped forward and picked up the drafting pencil. “Put this in your mouth.”
The shirtless, muscular man in front of them both stared at Jian.
“Are you kidding?”
“It’ll add sizzle, Angelo.” Jian waved the pencil like a wand.
“No one does woodwork half-naked with their jeans hanging off their ass.” Angelo raised the saw in his right hand. “This isn’t even the right saw.”
“No one will be looking at your saw.”
Caleb couldn’t hold it back any more. He snorted.
Both Jian and Angelo turned to him with twin looks of annoyance.
“Sorry.” Caleb tried not to draw attention, usually. Not on purpose. Odd things tended to happen when he paid too much attention to people.
“Pencil,” Jian turned back, holding out the pencil again.
Angelo crossed his arms and raised his chin.
Enough. At this rate, they’d never get a good shot. Caleb put his camera down. “Angelo? Jian?”
Both men aimed their angry glares at him. He flinched, but he cleared his throat. He liked things better when he had his camera between him and the world. Especially when the world was made up of a shirtless hunk and an annoyed drama bear.
Caleb cleared his throat. It took him a second to find his voice. “This is for charity. This is our first shoot. There are eleven more months after this, and it would be fantastic if we could have the calendar actually ready to sell before, y’know, next January.”
Jian opened his mouth.
“Not done,” Caleb said. “Jian? We all know you know your stuff. No one sets a stage like you. We’ve seen your plays, you’ve worked magic and it totally looks like a woodshop in here. But if Angelo says it’s the wrong saw? It’s the wrong saw.”
Angelo grinned and opened his mouth.
“Still not done,” Caleb said. “Angelo, we are so, so appreciative you’re doing this. And while I get you’d like things to look professional, here’s the thing: this isn’t a woodworking manual. The VBA is counting on this calendar. You’re our August. Decks, deck-building, deck-weather. And you look…” He swallowed. “Well…trust me. Jian’s lighting, the make-up? You’re many things Angelo, but none of them are ridiculous.”
Caleb waited. Both men were staring. They looked a little shell-shocked.
“Oh,” he said. “I’m done.”
“Sorry,” Jian said, at exactly the same moment Angelo said “My bad.”
They grinned at each other.
Caleb raised his camera. “Shall we?”
Jian stepped back. But Angelo raised his hand. “Wait.”
Caleb sighed. So much for speaking up. He wasn’t sure what else he could say, but—
“Pencil,” Angelo said.
Jian handed it to him, and Angelo put it in his mouth, picked up the saw, and stood over the piece of wood.
Caleb raised the camera and started shooting.