The Photographer By John Henry Beck
By John Henry Beck
Bob and Ethel invited my wife and me to their house for dinner and another tedious round of travel slides from their latest trip. Ethel couldn’t allow us to simply scan through a pack of photos at our own pace (and mine would be decidedly fast) she would display each snapshot as if it was a pinnacle of the photographic art and describes in minute detail the scene. My wife and I would gush with wonder for both the slender of the picture and Ethel’s skills as a photographer. Upon reaching the proper level of flattery Ethel would advance to the next slide and the cycle would repeat.
The torturous slide show began after a mediocre dinner of chicken, pasta and red wine. In the past I had tried excusing myself to use the bathroom but this only compelled Ethel to wait for my return and increased the length of the ordeal. So I seated myself with an empty bladder and a head full of empty praise.
“Because of my cataract surgery, I wasn’t able to make the photo record of this trip. So Bob took all these pictures. I can’t vouch for their quality” a slightly drunk Ethel announced.
As the wonders of the San Diego Zoo began to unfold before me I noticed a startling phenomenon. In each and every photo Bob had managed to place a beautiful young woman in the foreground, the background or center stage. As Ethel stood before the Polar Bear exhibit, her arms gesturing towards the snowy white animals, to her right a shapely blond woman in tight denim shorts leaned over the railing. A stunning Latin beauty smiled in front of the pencil thin legs of the pink flamingos, as an angry Ethel scowled into an empty bag of zoo popcorn.
A cryptic smile danced secretly across Bob’s face as the show continued. I glanced over my shoulder at him and he winked at me. The pleasure of a shared secret created a conspiratorial friendship between us. At the end of the night I congratulated Bob on his eye and an unsuspecting Ethel promised that in the future she would allow Bob more use of the camera.
I am actually looking forward to the next slide show.
John Henry Beck lives and writes in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He has been published in Runner’s World Magazine, Willow literary magazine and will soon be published in The Rusty Nail literary magazine. He is not allowed to use the camera on family vacations