Short Stories, Siskiyou

The Subject, A Siskiyou Writers’ Club Story

A Bob Mason Story

Rich examined the camera carefully, to make sure everything was in proper working condition. It was an 8mm silent movie camera, sent along to college with him by his doting big brother Les. In the late 1940s at a small Christian college, a movie camera was rather a novelty for him and his peers.

Wind the spring—check! Lens cap off—check! Everything was ready for yet another film shoot in sunny southern California. The eager cameraman was about to meet his eager subject.

Jack was his subject, a campus bodybuilder, proud of his finely honed muscles, and only too pleased to show them off for posterity.

The camera, of course, was not the only thing sent by big brother. Les also sent Rich with an incredible appreciation for athletic pursuits of all kinds. Les, you see, was his de facto father, 18 years his senior, raised by their divorced Armenian mother just off of Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Les was quite successful in amateur athletics around the area, and taught ‘Richie’ everything he could: football, shot put, and discus, among other things. In fact, Rich ended up setting a shot put record at his college that stood for at least 20 years. Underneath all of that teaching was a core belief that muscles were for moving, for doing, and especially for working.

And so, subjecting himself to his part in Jack’s vanity project, Rich took his camera and made his way to the spot where the show would begin.

Using his photographic sensibilities, he set up the first shot, a chin-up sequence. The camera whirred. Jack sprang up, grabbed the bar, and commenced the display. Up down, up down, up down . . . .

“Just a few more!” yelled Rich from behind the camera. “Okay!”

Jack let go and dropped to the ground.

“Now let’s get those pushups.”

Jack dropped completely to the ground, placed his hands, pointed his toes, and started in. Down up, down up, down up . . . . He was careful to make his form perfect. Rich continued filming, moving from side to front for a face-on view. Down up, down up, down up . . . .

Rich gave direction as he filmed, “Good! Good! Just a few more! Keep it up! I just need to get this one more angle!”

Despite his strength and training, Jack was getting a bit winded, but he kept it up.

As the whirring stopped, Jack looked up, incredulous to see Rich opening the film compartment on the shiny camera, flabbergasted to hear him say, “You did great! I sure wish I had some film in this camera!”

And thus began the footrace portion of their athletic endeavor.

The Siskiyou Writers’ Club is a local group of folks with a passion for creative writing of all genres.  The club generally meets the last Thursday of the month in various locations throughout Siskiyou County.  The next meeting will be Thursday, April 27, 5:00 PM, at the YMCA in Yreka.  For more information, contact Bob Kaster, 530-598-5204, email [email protected], or Mike Grifantini, 530-710-4882, email [email protected].

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