It was in mid-July when I got the call. A couple of years ago a new high school had been built, and the decision had been made to tear the old one down and let someone build an apartment complex on the old grounds. However, the superintendent of schools wanted me to go through the building and take photographs of interior before it was razed. There were some murals and mosaics he especially wanted photographed along with some "mood" pictures of the abandoned hallways and offices.
We came up with a suitable time when he would meet with me to go through the building with me so that he could show me what was to be photographed. When I inquired about my fee, he hemmed and hawed, then bluntly asked me what I wanted. I knew there were some old lockers in the locker room that would make a great senior picture prop and maybe some odds ends. He was happy with the price, as it meant nothing had to come out of his budget, and he knew it was mostly junk in there, anyway. A little fix up and paint I'd have a fairly unique set for a couple of years.
I called Lou, my on-again, off-again assistant and full-time girlfriend and she agreed to come out after the superintendent left. It seems he and she were old acquaintances from back when she went to school there and he was the principal. Let's just say that she was not a model student and let it go at that! She also wanted to look around and see if there were any souvenirs she might like to pick up.
The agreed-upon date was a bright and warm day, but not nearly as bad as it could have been for late July. The superintendent and I arrived within a couple of minutes of each other about mid-morning. He had a number of keys on a ring, and used one of them to open the main doors. The hallways echoed hollowly when one of the doors banged against the wall. Despite the warmth outside, there was a certain chill in the air of the old building.
The water and electricity were still on, according to the superintendent, and the school board had decided to try to gather anything that was still lying about for an auction in August or September. It sounded fine by me, and he let me know that they had not done an inventory, but whatever I wanted to take out at the end of the day would be mine, no questions asked. He then proceeded to show me around and to tell me what he wanted. After about an hour, we were back at the main entrance to the school.
"OK, Jon," he said. "I think you know what I want in the way of pictures. Any questions?"
I shook my head. "OK, then," he continued, "here is a key that should open all in the interior doors so you can go to those classroom and office pictures. Be sure I get it back tomorrow." He hesitated a moment. "Also, be sure you don't leave the building until you're done. I can't give you a key for the exterior doors." And, with that admonition, he turned, walked down the hallway and out the door.
No sooner had he gone, I turned and heard a giggle. "He never did figure out how I could get back into the building after I had left in the mornings." Suddenly, there was Lou, right in front of me. Her voice turned serious; "I could come and go whenever I wanted, because I had my own entrance. It's still there and it still works!" There was a note of triumph there.
"I'll bet you did," I said. She came running up to me and jumped into my arms, her legs wrapped around my waist. She slid down and just stood there. I held her slim form for a couple of minutes and I kissed the top of her head. She leaned back a little, reached her right hand up and behind my head and kissed me thoroughly. I could feel my toes curl in my tennies. She ended the kiss and laughed.
As she pulled away and turned around, I was able to see what the shadows had hidden before. Today, she was dressed for the warmer weather with a very light black tank top and short-shorts with lots of pockets in them. How light was that tank top? Light enough for me to be able to see she had neglected to wear a bra. Her tits wobbled beautifully under it and hr nipples threatened to poke someone's eyes out! As she walked away from me, I also got any eyeful of just how short those shorts were; they were just long enough to qualify as shorts and not panties. In fact, a little bit of her lovely cheeks peeked out with every step she took. Every step was the poetry only women's hips can achieve. I found I was following those hips like a little lost puppy.
She walked down the hallway, looking into classrooms until we came to the first project, a mural done in mosaic tile, made by the class of '25. It was a picture of the world, set against a black sky filled with stars. It was too bad that it couldn't have been disassembled and put into the new school. That had been tried, but some of tiles, homemade by the students, started to crack and break as soon as any pressure was brought to bear. There was still some talk of taking the whole wall, but the superintendent wanted a picture in case it couldn't be done. It was height of irony that this mural, made so long ago, could stand up to students bouncing off it as a part of daily student life, would crumble in the act of saving it.
Lou looked at it and said, "We all wondered how they could so accurately portray the world without having seen any of the pictures the astronauts made. It's always been so beautiful."
I agreed with her, and I told her I had to get started if we wanted to finish before dark. I went to a side entrance nearer to where I parked my van and had her hold the door while I got the necessary gear from it. We stacked it in the entrance, allowing the door to close and I picked up a camera, a tripod and some portable strobes and headed down to the first assignment.
There, I set up the lights facing away from the mosaic. I did a couple of test shots and adjusted the lights so that they did not glare onto the tiles. We wanted to be sure that the mosaic came out in all its glory. I moved down a hallway in front of the mosaic. I took a couple of pictures with the strobes, and then turned them off. I also wanted some pics with ambient, or available, light. It would be the same with the other murals and I certainly would not be using strobes for the "mood" pictures. Lou was instrumental in moving the lights where they would do the most good. She also had one of my cameras, so she was taking less-traditional angles while I got what the client wanted. Of course, I'm not psychic, so who really knew what the superintendent would want to get posted on the school's website.
After the murals, I took my camera and headed for the upstairs halls, opening doors and setting up pictures from the ends of the hallways. I even took some in the stairwells. I asked Lou to work on the downstairs, including the gym and the auditorium, and I told her I would do the offices last.
We had been working for several hours, and I found myself in the principal's office. It had large desk and matching chair that was really very nice. I found myself being a little envious of it. I walked around it, rubbing the beautiful hardwood surface. It had a leather blotter built into its center. I had taken a few pictures of it from several angles, including out in the outer offices. I was standing there, my back to the doorway, looking out at the trees outside the office. It was really a shame that all of this would be torn down in a few months.
"Mr. E?" I heard a small voice behind me, a little girl's voice. I didn't turn around. "Mr. E?" it repeated. "Mrs. Johnson told me I should come and see you. I don't think she likes me."
I turned at that, and promptly sat in the chair behind the desk, stunned. There, in the doorway to the Principal's office stood Lou, hands behind her back, looking down at her shoes, her right foot pawing at the floor in little half-circles. The late afternoon sun was streaming in, golden, behind her from the main office area beyond her, putting her almost in silhouette. But, she was no longer in her short-shorts and tank top. In their place was a mid-calf length skirt, and I couldn't believe my eyes, a genuine cheerleader sweater. The skirt looked like something from the early '50's, with wide pleats of contrasting maroon and gold, the school's colors. The sweater matched, with a large "C" in the center of the chest and a megaphone beneath it.
I looked closer and saw that she had on white sneakers and bobby-socks, for goodness' sakes! Where had she found it all? Completing the look, she'd done something with her hair, and, from where I sat, stunned, I could swear I saw a couple of barrettes holding her hair in place!
I took a deep breath and sighed. I didn't know where this might be going, but it might be very interesting. Lou had a very active imagination. If she wanted to play a game, who was I to not play along?
"Come in and have a seat, Miss LaRue." No wonder Lou hated her name. How would you like to be named "Lulu Annabelle LaRue"? Lulu LaRue? Some parents are just cruel. "Please tell me why she sent you down this time. Were you late again?"
"Maybe," she temporized, drawing out the syllables. Damn! That little girl voice was really starting to get to me.
"That's four times this week you've been late to class, three times for Mrs. Johnson. What do you have to say for yourself?" I was trying to be stern.
"Well..." she said, unsure of herself.
"Was it a meeting with some girls that made you late?" I asked, trying to be helpful.
"Did a teacher hold you up and make you late?"
"Then it must have been a boy." I said. "What is his name?" I asked, resignedly.
"Tommy Geezus," she blurted. Her eyes went wide, her hands to her mouth.
.... There is more of this story ...