09-04-2011, 10:21 PM
"So, what'd Seamus say?" Criss asked George at the production meeting the next day.
"He'd said he'd do it," George replied, "for eight grand."
Criss was flabbergasted. "Eight grand!?"
"That's what he said, eight grand. He wanted ten at first, but I had to negotiate my ass off to get it down to eight. You said you were willing to pay him."
"Yeah, but eight thousand dollars for a two-day shoot? That's outrageous!"
"It's his gym, Criss," George reminded him. "He calls the shots. You wanna back out?"
"No, no," Criss said hastily. "It's still a good plan. If he wants eight thousand for it, then...what choice do we have? Like you said, it's his gym."
"Maybe he's got some heavy bills he needs to pay," Costa commented.
George remembered the pile of bills on Linehan's desk when he first broached the subject of using the gym for taping the show. Poor guy must really be in debt to ask for that much, he reasoned. No wonder he's such a crank!
"So when do we start taping?" Dave Baram asked.
"First thing tomorrow morning," Criss told him. "We go to my gym first, get a few shots there, then we go to Linehan's Gym."
"Anything special planned?"
Criss smiled mischeviously. "You'll see," he replied. "I don't want to spoil the surprise."
Later that day, while Criss was performing a matinee show, JD sorted through old photographs of his father to use for the upcoming Sports episode. There was one in particular he was looking for: an ad dating back to the late Fifties of John Sarantakos as Mr. Universe. The last he had seen of it was when Criss used it for his book MindFreak. Criss had sworn up and down that the original had been returned to him after publishing, but for the life of him JD could not find it anywhere. It had to be in that box somewhere, he thought.
In spite of his diligence, JD came across the occasional photo which made him pause and reflect, stirring emotions he had believed he'd overcome after eleven years: Dad and the family on Long Island Sound; Dad sitting with a youthful Chris on the hood of JD's car; Mom and Dad cuddling in the living room; Dad's last birthday party, posing with a long-haired Christopher; Mom and Dad's wedding portrait in black and white, now faded to shades of gray after fifty years. God, Mom looked beautiful back then, he thought.
A large worn Manila envelope lying on the bottom of the box caught JD's attention. Curious, he picked it up and opened it. Inside was a stack of John's Mr. Universe publicity photos, eight-by-ten glossies shot in black and white, their images still crisp after half a century. JD examined each picture one by one, hardly believing the Adonis in the tight black briefs who graced the film and paper he held in his hands had been his own father. Every shot highlighted a physique worthy of the Olympian gods themselves: rippling muscles, broad shoulders, tight, firm abdomen, arms strong enough to lift a horse. He must've worked out like a demon! JD thought. I've never seen Dad look so ripped!
He laid the glossies next to the snapshots of his father in later life, comparing the two. It saddened him deeply as he reflected upon the cruel irony that such a perfect specimen of humanity should have succumbed to cancer at the age of sixty. Sorrowfully, almost reverently, he slipped the glossies back into the worn envelope. He debated with himself whether to show these to Criss and Costa; he knew they had the right to see them, but feared they would only bring back sad memories of their father's passing. In the end, family won out over fear. He had to show them to his brothers; it was up to Criss to decide whether or not they were too personal to use on the show.
JD picked up the envelope and headed for Criss' office. I hope he's got a box of tissues in there, JD said to himself, because once he sees these, he's gonna need them.