Two excerpts follow . . .
As JD watched, Ben, with exaggerated ceremony, unfolded a sheet of glossy-colored paper, cleared his throat, and read the words out loud. “The Fantasy Maker is Looking for a Few Good Men.” The guys stared at JD. Apparently, the ball was in his court, but he had no idea what game they were playing.
Eyebrows raised, JD shook his head and poured himself another beer. “So? What does this have to do with me?” Ben explained that his girlfriend had found the advertisement in a travel magazine and thought of JD and his workaholic ways. Curious, JD was willing to play along. “Okay, but who is this fantasy maker and what would the good men be expected to do?” “We don’t know, but we want to find out. There’s a phone number you can call for more information.” Ben’s enthusiasm had prank written all over it. “Come on, JD. Make the call. Let’s check it out.” Three out of four heads nodded their agreement.
Although JD was skeptical, he was also intrigued. Was this a job application? An escort service? Was what they were doing legal? Could it be something like the old TV show, Fantasy Island? That would be too good to be true. His buddies kept egging him on to make the call. When the second pitcher of beer was empty, Chuck dared him to do it.
JD double-dared back. The four men hesitated before each man picked up his smart phone and tapped in the phone number. A recorded message said, “Thank you for calling The Fantasy Maker. Please leave your email or snail mail address. An application will be sent to you in the near future.”
Staring at each other, they paused. With shrugs and nods of approval, the four men keyed in their email addresses. A round of high-fives followed. If anyone was experiencing edgy anticipation, he was too macho to express his doubt. They pushed back their chairs preparing to head out when a chorus of pings, dings, and buzzes sounded from their phones. Their applications from The Fantasy Maker had arrived. Instead of leaving, they took their seats.
Chuck said, “Hey, JD. You’re going to fill it out, right?”
Before answering, JD took a deep breath and blew it out. “Maybe. I have to read it first. And don’t forget this was a double dare. So, if we do this crazy thing, you guys must send your applications in first.”
“Okay, smartass,” said Ben. “Let’s meet here tomorrow with our filled-out applications. We’ll hit our SEND buttons together. What time works for you, JD?”
“Tomorrow evening? Eight o’clock should be okay.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw his friends wink at each other. No, that couldn’t be. None of them was the winking type.
# # #
Summer loved the surprised look on his face. She’d been amazed the first time she’d rounded the sudden curve of the land and saw this picturesque ridge of rocks forming a small cliff and overlooking a dark blue, water-filled cove.
“Come on,” she called impatiently. Not waiting for him, she began her ascent. The climb wasn’t as difficult as it appeared. JD could do this easily. His strength and physical fitness was obvious. He might even enjoy himself, which was her sole purpose for bringing him to this spot.
He arrived at the top moments after Summer. They sat gazing at the view of nothing but blue. Blue water, blue sky … and three dolphins! Could this day get any better? No doubt about it; he was smiling now. Not at her, but that was all right. She didn’t need his smile for herself.
Summer stood up ready to have some fun. She hoped he’d watch and follow her lead. JD tilted his head to the side to look toward a screeching noise that came from the palm trees to their left. Summer saw him turn back as she jumped from the cliff. Surfacing, she looked around expecting to see a splash in the water. The splash never came, but within seconds, JD arrived, wide-eyed and breathless, at the cove’s edge.
“Summer, are you all right?” he asked, appearing shaken and a little green around the gills.
She didn’t understand why he looked so bewildered.“Yeah, I’m great. Come on in. The water’s perfect.”
“No. I think you should come out and explain yourself.” JD resembled an annoyed shark that had undergone cosmetic dental work.
“What’s there to explain? I just cannonballed into the water. I’ve done it before. I knew the depth of the water, so it was safe. I thought you’d follow me.”
“Follow you? I thought you fell off the cliff and might be injured and then you’d sink and not come up.”
“Falling off a cliff and performing a cannonball look nothing alike.”
Was Mr. Grumpy showing concern for her well-being? She mellowed, climbed out of the water, and sat with him on the sand. This great-looking guy was hard to figure out, but she’d keep trying.
# # #