By Cindy - Edited by Barney
"So who the fuck are you?" the very well dressed man asked.
"You sure do know how to be charming," I said sarcastically.
"Right, I'm not charming but I can make your life a hell of a lot better," he said. "So who are you?"
"You are going to send me a ton of new business, right?" I asked.
"That's right sweetie, not just work, but work you can do any damn time you want, within reason of course." he added. "So, tell me who you are."
"My name is Abigail Adams. Most people call me Abby. You already know that I am a wedding photographer. I'm divorced and have a 6 year old daughter. I'm 28 years old and my daughter and I live alone and like it that way. Now you," I demanded.
"My name is Tommy Jeffers, and I'm divorced and live with my girlfriend Heidi. You should know that I am in the pornography business. The other thing you should know is that I'm looking for someone to make promotional posters for my videos. I'm told you are damn good with that digital shit," he said.
"They tell me I'm very good with it. So what exactly do you use them for?" I asked
These days it's on line advertising. I don't need any printing, but if I do you can get that done can't you?" he asked.
"I know a guy who owns his own color copier, so yes I can get you a few posters printed for a trade show or something like that. If you want more, I can give you the digital file and you can find your own large job printer," I informed him. "The question is not can I do it, the questions is will I do it. So now you tell me why I should."
"Well you didn't storm off when I told you what I do for a living, so you are either fascinated or you need money bad enough to turn a blind eye to it. Either way, you were willing to listen to the offer," he said.
"I guess there is truth to that," I agreed. "So make me the offer."
"You have a studio don't you?" he asked.
"Very small, but yes," I replied.
"You could do two people engaged in sex there couldn't you?" he asked.
"Yes, I could do that," I replied. I never had but my equipment, and studio space would be more than adequate.
"That's as bad as it gets, anything more and we can shoot them on the sounds stage. As long as you are as quick and organized as you were at my niece's wedding, you should do fine." he said.
"I always work fast and the only way to do that is to be organized, mentally at least," I replied. I waited a moment before I went on, "You have mentioned everything but the payment. What are you paying?"
"What did you have in mind?" he asked.
"$250 an hour or any part thereof," I replied.
"That's less than those Hollywood pukes want," he said.
"That isn't just studio time that is also post production time as well. If I lay out a poster it could run several more hours, depending on how many times I have to redo it to satisfy you."
"Okay when can you do it?" he asked.
"If I am shooting in my studio it has to be before noon, if it is a short notice shoot. If I have time to arrange a place for my daughter that is safe, with a little flexibility in scheduling, I can do it most any time." I knew that it wouldn't be very often, so I wanted to keep it from interfering with my real work. I knew in my heart that I was a wedding photographer and not really much else.
"Okay, would you consider a week enough time for a definite shoot appointment in the evening?" he asked.
"Sure, what do you have in mind?" I asked.
"I have a couple of guys I need photographed. It is gay porn. It that alright with you?" he asked.
"The camera insulates me from anything that is legal. If you stray into any other area, we are going to have a real problem. As in, I will turn you in myself if it is kiddie porn," I informed him.
"Don't worry; I don't think I would do well in jail. No matter how well it pays, and it does pay well. So how about a week from Thursday?" he asked.
"I can handle that, what time?" I asked.
"Let's say 8PM for now," Tommy suggested. "If we need to, we can adjust the time somewhat."
"Alright, I assume this is a cash on delivery business. I don't like to wait for checks from people I don't know. Send me a $250 deposit or bring it with you to the shoot." I informed him.
He nodded, shook my hand then left me standing in the parking lot of the downtown motel. His niece had her reception in their grand banquet hall. It was 10PM on Saturday and I was exhausted. I had been working since 1PM. I always started early for a wedding. The one that day began at 2PM and actually started half hour late, so it was early by most wedding standards even in those days.
Angelina was spending the weekend with her biological father. They shared the name Williams. I had reverted to my Maiden name. I did that because my father had helped me so much after the divorce. It was also his business which I had taken over. The name of the business was Adams Photo Service. It made sense that I be an Adams to cash in on the name recognition.
My ex-husband would be bringing Angelina home after church the next day. He usually took Angelina to lunch after church, even though it wasn't part of the custody agreement I never complained. Because Mark had Friday till Sunday custody every week, I could work weddings whenever I could get one. I also had a sister who loved Angelina. She was not just willing to have Angelina stay at her house during the week when I had a job, even if I didn't have a job she would find an excuse to have Angelina come visit with her kids. Her two were within a year on either side of Angelina's age. I was counting on that so that I could work for Tommy Jeffers.
For the next eight days I went about my normal work schedule. I did the things I needed to do to promote the business as well as the post processing of my images from the weeks before. It didn't require all day every day. It did require some part of the day, every day. That time, no matter how small, tied me to the business all day. I was either working or thinking about work all the time it seemed.
On Wednesday Tommy called, "Abby I need to change the time to 7PM so that we can finish early. One of the actors has a curfew. He has to be home by midnight or his parole officer will be all over us." he said.
"I will have to make a call, but I think it will be okay. I'll get back with you," I said.
I made the phone call to my sister Julie. "So Julie can I leave Angelina with you a few hours Thursday night?" I asked it pretty sure that it would be just fine.
"Of course Abby, what time do you want to bring her over?" she asked.
"How about I send you all out for pizza around six?" I asked. "I have a seven o'clock shoot. I can bring Angelina and pizza to your house or you can pick her up here. If you pick her up, I'll give you the money for that kid friendly pizza place."
"My kids love the Pizza Pit. I'll pick Angelina up and we can go to the Pizza pit and I'll take her to my house after. She can spend the night here after. You can get her Friday morning." Julie suggested.
"That would be great," I agreed.
"I pick Billy up at school at 2PM, I can be at your house shortly thereafter. If that is okay?" she asked.
"Of course it is fine. Julie I really do appreciate this," I said.
"Are you kidding my kids will love it," Julie informed me.
"Okay Thomas," I said into my phone. I'll look for you around 7PM."
"Good, see you then," he agreed.
"Don't come without your deposit." I said it to remind him that it was all about the money. I didn't consider that there was any art at all in what I would be doing that evening. Julie picked up Angelina right on time, so I had a couple of hours at least before they showed up. I spent the time in the studio.
It never hurt to check things one more time. The camera was ready, it turned on and booted up as it should. The computer did the same. It also projected the image onto the 35" monitor mounted onto the wall in the control room. I seldom used the remote viewer but now and then it came in handy. Sometimes I had a customer who wanted to see the shots as I made the image. Usually that customer was checking out a commercial product. I did a little work for the small local manufacturers. That's the kind of thing Tommy meant when he said he had heard that I had a studio.
My dad had set the studio up. I just inherited it along with the name. I installed the video equipment and upgraded to the digital camera, but they were really all his ideas. The large studio began as a two car garage attached to a small house by a breezeway. The breezeway I turned into the control room, but the studio conversion of the garage had been his work.
Angelina and I shared the two bedroom one bath house where my mom and dad first lived before either Julie or I existed. I joked with him often that he never threw away or sold anything. He had kept the first house he and mom bought.
My grandmother had been installed in it after my grandfather died. Then after she went into the nursing home, my dad used the two car garage as a studio but no one lived in the house part. At least not until my husband Mark decided that he wanted a different woman.
My dad's brother made damn sure that Mark did not have a happy divorce. Fred was an attorney who specialized in criminal law. When he handled my divorce, he went after Mark like a shark. It required almost two years after the hearings for Mark and I to become friends. Yes, we were friends, not good friends but friends.
.... There is more of this story ...