This was my dream with Art Deco, CuriousJockAZ and Matiz (Ariodante). I'm more twisted.
"The Boys Next Door"
Part 1 of 2
The bike wasn't eagermuscle's style, a vintage girl's Schwinn with a white vinyl seat and matching wicker basket, but that's what he inexplicably found himself riding down a baked ribbon of asphalt sidewalk one blistering Miami afternoon. Why was he here back in his parent's neighborhood, pedaling away, just blocks from their house? It was too hot to even theorize the how's and why's, so Eager kept cycling along, admiring the eclectic architectural mix. His parent's house had been overbuilt for its time and reigned supreme for over three decades until a dozen years ago when the McMansion boom hit, leaving their sprawling rancher overshadowed by two story, $2 million dollar faux Mediterranean palazzos built from lot line to lot line, with one exception - Art Deco's house.
Eager had met the neighbor lady when he was five, before his dad had even driven the stakes into the ground of their vacant lot to mark the footprint of their future home, and had thought Art Deco old even then. Her house was the type of tear-down typical of the neighborhood; constructed in 1952, it was a low lying ranch with a cathedral ceiling, fireplace, levered glass jalousie windows and slung, cantilevered roof that extended over a carport. Built when South Florida residents actually used fireplaces on chilly winter nights, in an era when few had central heat or a/c, it was designed to catch the breezes and seemed perfectly suited to the one plus acre lots of Dade County pine and swamp palmetto on which they discreetly stood. Only until recently deemed "ugly" it was odd how today they were considered "retro," mid century masterpieces worth preserving. The native pine and scrub? So long gone that oak and black olive trees matured in their place.
Eager's train of thought was suddenly interrupted when a ten-speed bike raced in front of him, its rider clad in a pair of snug red Dolphin shorts and nothing else, all the better to display his tanned, muscled body. Something seemed a bit "off" about him; the face didn't quite match up to the physique or
haircut, but that was the new normal, wasn't it? Eager was no slouch at the gym himself and, taking in the eye candy during his rests between sets, had become expert at what he called "The 60/40 Game" - was that member a well preserved 60 or a haggard 40? Seeing the rider hang a hard right on his parent's block Eager suddenly wanted to play.
He was surprised to find the bike leaning against Art Deco's house and a late model SUV parked in front of the now-enclosed carport. It was once the pariah of the neighborhood, but given the market crash had been renovated and landscaped instead of razed. Had Art Deco died? Art had always played the Empress Dowager card to the hilt but had been nice to Eager when he was little, offering him treats in a porcelain candy tray when he'd go knocking on Art's door. He'd loved Art's house with its cuckoo clock, collection of Hummel figurines and ersatz blonde furniture - as a kid he thought of it as a big dollhouse. Eager had always felt a pang of remorse at not following up with Art whenever he'd visit his parents in the years after he'd left home. Last he'd heard, Art Deco had become somewhat of an infirm recluse, the block's own Miss Havisham. Eager looked down at his bike and realized that without the horizontal crossbar it'd make a perfect gift for Art, for her to safely rejoin the living if she was indeed still alive. So with equal parts charity, compassion, curiosity and libido, Eager knocked at the door. He had to check on Art, check out if the house had been more faithfully restored inside than out, and he just had
to examine those tight shorts up close.
"Who's there?" a voice called out.
"I'm your next door neighbor Eager, I've come with a gift for Art."
The door opened and a shirtless, sunkissed blonde of indeterminate age stood before him. "I'm so sorry, we're just short-term renters. I'm CuriousJockAZ but you can call me 'CJ'. Would you like to come in?" CJ's pecs were hard and firm, with a light sprinkling of sun damage. They looked like they were encased in taut salami skin, and between them and the running shorts the effect was hypnotic.
"Sure," said Eager, feeling a blast of cold air from a portable a/c unit sweep across his body. He knew what awaited him at home - his parents were stingy with the air conditioning and standing there, about to keel over from the humidity and bright noonday sun, Eager found the invite irresistible. "Boy, that feels nice!"
"We like keeping it cold," said CJ. "Ari? Ari, we got company!" Ariodante glanced up from a giant computer console on a teak Danish modern workstation in front of the freshly painted brick fireplace. Blinking as his eyes adjusted Eager didn't know where to look first. Ari? CJ? Or the fact that the designer had retained that darling original scalloped trim detail on the built-in bookshelves flanking the mantle?
"I'm Ariodante, but you can call me 'Ari,' said the handsome brunette with the do-rag. "Don't mind me, I'm just working on my blog."
Eager's eyes were still darting between the newly buffed terrazzo floor and CJ and Ari's faces. Yes, something was definitely, well off.
They had youthful, well muscled bodies - bigger, taller and stronger looking than even his own - but the skin on their faces looked too-tightly pulled and seemed somewhat blotchy and mismatched in tone, as if both had recently returned from an intensive chemical peel. Telltale hair plugs sprouted from beneath Ari's headgear, and their lips were disconcertingly plump. Were these two plastic surgery junkies?
"We're plastic surgery junkies!" Ari gushed enthusiastically. "We keep a blog on it! In fact we're in town with our club. We're going to have procedures together! Group discount!"
Were they 60, or were they 40? Or 30? Or 70? What did it matter - Eager's curiosity was piqued. "Oh, I love that!" Eager said, trying to peer at the invasive cosmetic procedures plastered across Ari's screen. "You tell me what you had done, and I'll tell you what I
Ari swivelled the screen so Eager could take a full gander. "You first," he said.