Thursday, March 1, 2018

Antony (Part 1 of 2 Parts) -- A Guest Post blog post #274

Mark Wildyr, a fellow author from Oklahoma, shared one of his stories with me, and I was so taken with it, I asked if I could guest blog it on my website. He agreed, so long as I give him credit as the author (would I do anything else?), so the first part of his short story “Antony” appears both here and on his website (  I have no shame... I even appropriated his photograph. I even added a comma where he left one out. Uh... thanks, Mark. Appreciate your generosity.

Courtesy of COO Creative Commons
By Mark Wildyr
The mere sight of Antony Abó raises the testosterone, excites the nerve endings, exercises the libido, and loosens involuntary clouds of pheromones.
That was my reaction the first time I laid eyes on him and remains so today. I met Tony last summer at a powwow at the Indian Village in Expo New Mexico. An artist, I wanted to grab some photos and make quick sketches of dancers decked out in full regalia. Past Greg Gartzen paintings of Native Americans sold well, and I was inclined to see if I could replicate the success. Greg Gartzen… that’s me.
That summer day, I got no farther than a hundred steps through the gates of the village before I halted in my tracks… pole-axed by the sight of a masculine vision. A young man stood half-facing me as he engaged two companions in earnest conversation. What initially attracted my attention was his nakedness. Lightly—but definitely—muscled, his slender frame was covered only by a beaded breechclout. A real one, not a pair of short shorts with a flap in front and another in back. That was obvious by the brown flesh visible all the way to the garment’s waistband. An unbound cloud of glistening black hair flowed around his face and down his back, shimmering in the sunlight as he moved. The features did not match the physique, his was the beautiful, unlined face of innocence, seemingly younger than the rest of him.
I dropped onto a nearby bench, snapped quick photos with my iPhone camera, and flipped open my sketch pad. With quick, bold strokes of the pencil, I managed to capture the essence of the youth before an announcement over the loudspeaker broke up the trio. To my surprise, the thing he clutched in his left hand turned out to be his regalia. He opened the flat package and slipped his arms through straps, revealing a cape of blue and yellow and white feathers. He slipped a beaded headband over his brow and moved with the others toward the announcer’s stand.
I drew furiously for the next hour, as dancers, both male and female, took to the big patch of white sand utilized as a dance floor. I filled almost one entire sketch pad with images of the marvelous Tony as he performed the hoop dance solo. He seemed to be a featured dancer, at one time piping a haunting ballad on a wonderfully painted flute, accompanied only by doleful drums. Even as I reproduced his grace and beauty on paper, I learned his name, his tribe, and that he must be older than he looked because he was a recently decommissioned air force pilot. How had he managed to keep those flowing locks in the military?

I remained longer than intended, and the powwow was coming to an end before I started putting away my things. As I swiped my graphite stained fingers with wet towelettes I carry for the purpose, a voice startled me.
“Someone told me you had sketches of me? Do you mind if I see one?”
Gripped in the gut by that deep, gravelly voice, I lifted my head to regard Antony Abó, now dressed in denim, cowboy boots, and black Stetson. He pierced my soul with the onyx marbles he used as eyes. I had to catch my breath before I tapped one of the pads. “Mostly in this one. Feel free to take a look.”
I watched him turn the pages and examine each sketch before going to the next. What a paradox this man was: he possessed the frame of a young man coming into his prime, the face of an adolescent, and the voice of a commander. I believe a piece of my heart broke off and dropped into my gut at that moment.
At last, he raised his eyes and speared me with a stare again. “You’re good. But tell me something. Why so many of me?”
I drew breath to steady my voice. “Because you were the most interesting dancer out there.”
He flipped a couple of sheets and held out the pad. “What about her?”
I glanced at the sketch of a lovely young woman. “Can’t hold a candle.”
He frowned momentarily as something flashed behind those flinty eyes. “Guess I oughta be flattered. What are you going to do with them?”
“Three or four will be turned into paintings. I’ll keep a few as sketches to decorate my home or office. Would you like a couple?”
His mouth broadened into a smile. “Sure. Thanks.”
“Okay, pick out three and I’ll finish them later today. You can pick them up at my studio or I can bring them tomorrow.”
He selected three drawings and agreed to pick them up the next morning, the final day of the powwow. When he asked my name, I handed over a business card with the address of my studio… which also happened to be my home. Just in case.

I hope you found the first part of the story as enchanting as I did. Do you think there will be a further meeting between Greg and Antony? Will something positive develop, or did Tony’s quick frown and flashing eyes signal something else? If you read the story on my blog, you’ll find out next week. You see, I put something over on my friend. Spoiler alert! I publish weekly, he publishes the first and the third Thursday of each month. I wonder when he’s wake up to that fact? Too late now.

And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you feel like dropping me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.

See you next week.


New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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