I was spending a quiet, reflective afternoon beside my pool. The sun was hot but a refreshing breeze came up and over the lattice fence every now and then. It felt just right.
Our pool boy was gently applying sunblock to my shoulders as Micahel Buble’s latest CD played in the background. The “boy”- Eduardo was his name, had strong, tanned hands. He gently kneaded the cool and creamy lotion deep into the pores of my shoulder blades. I could feel is hot breath and smell his musky underarm odour as he moved slowly over me.
Then the phone rang.
Damn, why does it always ring when I am deep in the middle of my pool boy fantasy?
My MacLeans Magazine slid to the verandah floor as I stood up to reach the phone.
“Hello?”- I said
“Shay, is that you Robbie old buddy?”
“Shit!” I said out loud. It was the most familiar of voices. It was Hank.“Whashts the matter?”- he asked
“Nothing. Nothing.”-I said. “I um, just knocked my shin on the table leg. That’s all
“Better be more carefull. Geesh. You could really hurt yourshelf and then you wouldn’t be able to do thoshe high kicksh when you dance the rhumba.” He laughed.
“Hank!” I yelled into the phone. “I can’t dance the rhumda!”
He didn’t miss a beat- “But jusht imagine if you could!”
“Very funny.” I continued. “So, what’s up Hank?”
“Oh nothing musch. I was just sitting her wondering and schtinking. Do you think you could write a Christmas Schow for me again thish year?”
“Hank!” I was quick to raise my voice. “It’s only bloody August!!”
“Yesh. I know. Doesn’t the schummer fly bye. So what do you think?”
With that, I have been sitting at the keyboard in front of my computer- getting my own drinks- since the pool boy was an apparent illusion, jotting down some fast ideas and even typing some lines of dialogue for Hank’s Holiday Show this December. I could hardly say no.
He pays well.
He’s great to work with and very generous.
Did I mention he has deep pockets too?
Well you have to in show business- don’t you?
If you want to perform anyway.
It’s not cheap to lease a theatre’s stage for a bit of the old knee slap and tickle!
So it’s on again. Third year in a row. A Christmas Tradition?
It’s beginning to look that way. Mary Lou will be pleased.
As long as the ideas are new, why not?
Hank suggested a talent show of sorts this year.
Some famous and not-so-famous folks will hopefully be a part of the talent pool.
I hope that many of the same characters will be back on stage.
Hank is just working out contract obligations now, so I am unable to release too many details.
You might well ask if Mayor Orsi or even Garfield Dunlop will return.
Tom and I ran into Garf at the park a week ago.
“Gee that was fun with Hank last year!”- he quipped. Maybe he even hinted. Of course Hank hadn’t called me a week ago, so I didn’t say anything to him. Last time I was in Garf’s office- back in July, the 8x10, full colour of Hank that he presented to Garf and all his guests last year, sat proudly on top of the filing cabinet. I told Hank it was there and he was quite impressed.
Mayor Orsi has his own kettle of fish to fry what with politics in Orillia, so he might not want to be on the show this year. If he were asked, maybe he’d consent to break a brick or a block of wood with his bare hands. Isn’t that what green belts do?
So the race is one. I have to put a bunch of words to paper in the next month. Hank tells me I can mention that Jo Anne Debreczeni will be back for set design and costumes and maybe even an onstage appearance too. Jo Anne’s soprano voice is legendary! She is also one of the nicest and most sincere people on earth.
I have been told that Mrs. Whitchurch has consented as well. Her piano playing- although not exactly legendary, was certainly tackled whole-heartedly and if anything, it put us all in a glorious holiday mood. For me, I think Mrs. Whitchurch’s selection of accessories for last year’s show, remain one of the hi-lites of the Holiday Season!
It might be a good idea at this point to tell you to take some time to brush up on your joke-telling skills and your singing and dancing, as Hank might just be holding some auditions in advance of his Holiday Ho Ho Show.
Have a good one….and Happy Holidays!