It mattered little to Justin that the others might think
he looked out of place wearing thick prescription
sunglasses and a long scarf even with swimwear.
They had become his trademark, his badge of
celebrity. Those who knew about such things would
"So whose idea was it to have the reunion beside the
lake?" Justin's tone had grown in self importance in
the ten years since school. Warm under the midday
sun, he opened another beer and stuck the ring pull
down into the sand. He looked 'round the dozen or so
old classmates spread out on towels and rugs. The
passing of the years had been kind to some. Others
looked overweight, uncomfortable and out of place in
swimwear. Not yet thirty, they had joined the ranks of
those who should keep their clothes on.
Mary, one of the few still well-proportioned girls
answered. "It was my idea. We used to have such
good times here when we slipped away from classes.
I thought it was time to take our clothes off and just
have some fun again." She started to sing 'Just in
Time.' The words didn't come out quite right.
Justin thought back to when clever little organizer
Mary had just laughed when he suggested they might
get to know each other better. About to say something
unkind about the empty beer cans spread around her,
he remembered how much he had drunk himself and
Patrick moved over to put an arm round Justin's
shoulder. "Don't give up the day job Mary. We can't
all be stars like my old buddy." Eyebrows were raised
by those who remembered how Justin used to treat
Patrick. But that was then and this was now. Patrick
had put on weight and not all fat either. He no longer
looked like he could be pushed around and certainly
not by Justin, not anymore.
Mary saw a photo opportunity. "Our Celebrity
Designer and our Celebrity Photographer. I've got to
get that," she said, taking out her camera. She took
snapshots of the others too.
"Okay, you can stop holding your tummies in now,"
said Mary, for most really had been holding them in.
Everyone settled down to exchanging stories in the
small groups and cliques so easily remembered from
their school days.
Patrick stuck close to Justin and pressed him about
his new celebrity status. Some of the others
overheard and started chanting, "Tell us Justin."
Justin was happy to tell. "Celebrity has a currency of
its own. Once you can get enough TV exposure,
people recognize you. They tell their friends they've
met you. You get paid to open things and endorse
products. Folks like to see a well known face in the
advert or on the packaging, someone they can trust.
Celebrity is a profession just like being a lawyer or a
doctor. I've got to work hard at my image. I don't ever
go out without the long scarf and the dark glasses.
My image is my trademark. But didn't I hear Mary
say your a celebrity now too Patrick?"
Patrick didn't answer. He just pointed towards Mary
who was now deep in conversation with one of the
other girls and gestured with his beer can to suggest it
was only the drink that had been talking.
It was then that someone shouted, "The old cafe's still
over there and it's time for beef burgers and Pepsi."
They all made a move except Justin who drew some
loud and unkind comments when he asked to be
excused claiming he was now a vegetarian.
"That's okay," said Patrick. "I'll stay with Justin and
talk about the good old days and we can keep an eye
on the things." They watched the others make their
noisy way along the path beside the water. Then they
were alone in the quiet of the lakeside.
After some old stories and a few more beers, Patrick
sat up straight and pointed. "There's Mary's camera.
It's a real one, with film. Not a digital. Her father has
a camera shop and does the prints for her. Sees every
picture she ever takes."
Checking no one else was near, he went over, made a
few adjustments and passed the camera to Justin
indicating that he should take a picture.
"What will her father make of this one?" he said with
a wicked grin as he turned his back to the camera,
slipped his pants off, bent over and grinned at the
lens now seen upside down between his legs.
"Now you, Justin," he said. "Hurry, before anyone
The drink had taken its toll. Giggling like a
schoolgirl, Justin fell over in the warm sand several
times while trying to bend over for the pose.
Thinking of how Mary had once treated him, he
persevered until Patrick said he had a good picture.
Patrick carefully put Mary's camera back exactly
where it had been.
They were still laughing when the others returned,
but refused to say why. After a while everyone ran
out of stories, the conversation started to fade. It was
time to get dressed and go.
Remembering how much beer they had put away,
Justin and most of the others waited for taxis. Patrick
and Mary roared away on a shiny new Harley
Davidson, shouting and laughing.
"Patrick and Mary?" said Justin.
"Oh, you have been away a long time Justin," said
one of the others.
"Nice bike," said Justin. "But he shouldn't be
"It's okay. It was the low alcohol stuff they were on.
"Sure looks like he's doing well. Someone said
Patrick was a Celebrity Photographer," said Justin.
"Well that's a nice way of putting it. Everyone 'round
here just calls him Paparazzi Pat."
Snapshot was First Place
Adult Creative Writing Club
Competition No. 76, 2007.