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by Joseph H. Stryker

A lot of folks seem to think that if you aren’t getting paid for something it ain’t worth doing. That’s a load of shit, you hear?

Couple months back I was standing under some palm trees on a college campus. Waiting for this real classy chick. She had strawberry hair and was an actress, a musician, or something fancy like that.

You see, she was the only ten on campus I hadn’t gotten a shot of. And man, was I itching for a shot of her.

My name’s Randy, and I’m not a creep or anything. I just love women. Love their curves, their scent, hell, I even love their flaws. You gonna tell me that’s wrong? What did Gandhi say? Live and let love, or maybe that was Jesus.

Anyhow, the gal’s class got out. Big crowd of fellas and felines if you know what I’m saying. Less keen eyes may have missed her. But not me — from where I was standing she shone in that silk skirt of hers.

Once I was certain she wasn’t gonna be held up, I started hoofing it. You see, there was only one good spot on campus for me to take my shot. Below the grassy hill with the staircase. That particular position had the perfect lighting and, if I was especially lucky, maybe even a breeze for a real candid moment.

You see, I’ve been capturing stills ever since Counselor Jenny wore a two-piece during swim instruction. Couldn’t have been more than ten then. Before summer camp ended I had dozens of Polaroids. I’ve come a long way from a little box under the bed, too. The Internet and digital photography really expanded my horizons. Taught me new techniques. Most important lesson I’ve learned is to plan for every shoot.

So I scoped the place out beforehand. Watched her movements. She always went straight from class to her car. But no plan can account for everything.

I ended up bumping into an old model while taking my shortcut. She said I looked familiar. I said, I just got one of those faces. Gave her the bit about being mistaken for George Clooney. She walked away before I finished it.

Once that was over I got where I needed to be. It was too late. Ms. Strawberry was already in the parking lot.

But then there was a moment of providence. Out of nowhere this massive Hummer came flying by. Nearly splattered the poor girl.

She flew onto her face and her butt went in the air.

With me snapping shots the whole way through. When it was over I went and helped her up.

She asked if I saw what happened.

I said, I did, even got the whole thing on camera.

She thanked me, said I was a real gentleman, even gave me her number.

Now if I was working overtime down at the station you think that would’ve happened? So don’t go telling me having a hobby ain’t rewarding.

Joseph H. Stryker is a writer of lowbrow fiction, usually of the crime genre. Born in 1994 in Laguna Hills, California, he now resides in Lake Elsinore, California, on the other side of the Santa Ana Mountains. His stories can be found in Near to the Knuckle and Out of the Gutter Online.