Sunday, June 10, 2007

Handsome Man

I saw him for the first time about a month ago.

It was a Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Wonders and I were in the car together. We were returning from the local grocery emporium. He was running on the sidewalk of the main road adjacent to the Sack. He was moving with a slow, easy gait.

The man's running shoes looked expensive, yet considerably worn. Despite the cool temperature, he wore a simple, pale-blue T-shirt and baggy, black gym shorts. He was comfortably dressed and certainly no slave to fashion.

Clearly, it wasn't his clothing that made him distinctive to the eye.

The running man, however, stood about six feet, three inches tall. Although quite muscular, he was trim in the right places. He had a narrow waist, but his chest was broad and taut. His legs were long and well proportioned.

He had the bearing of a man with physical power and agility.

His skin was deeply tanned. He exuded good health. On his head was a shock of tousled, black hair. It had the appearance of being wild, yet expertly-styled at the same time.

Through a grimace of exertion shone a set of brilliant white teeth.

Mrs. Wonders and your agent caught a glimpse of him at almost the same time. We were about half a kilometer from the Sack. He was running toward us on the right side of the road.

"Whoa," said Mrs. Wonders with restrained delight as we passed him. She turned around in her seat to catch another view from the back window.

"Now, that, " I said magnanimously, "was a good-looking man."

Several days later, I saw him again. This time he actually ran through the Sack. I was puttering about in the front yard when he ambled around the centre circle. He was wearing the same clothing. But this time, he also wore a pair of discrete headphones and dark, stylish sunglasses.

As he passed, he gave me a slight nod. Then he raised his right hand in a modest, silent greeting. I replied with my trademark peace sign.

But beyond these occasional sightings of the good-looking running man, I didn't give him much thought. Maybe he just blended into my own view of the Sack's landscape.

But then I learned something very interesting. Not only were Sack residents aware of his frequent appearances, but he had quickly attained celebrity status amongst them. In fact, Oscar had already bestowed a moniker upon the man.

"That's Handsome Man," he said calmly, when the matter was raised.

The matter of Handsome Man came to full light last Saturday. It was another rare, glorious day in the Sack. The street was a beehive of activity.

Although Sack residents were busy with various outdoor tasks, several simultaneous gatherings had formed. Oscar, Weed, Little Doug and your agent were standing on Computer Doug's driveway. Ben was there, as well.

Computer Doug was showing us the stitches in his mouth. He had gum surgery last week.

Across the street, Mrs. Wonders and Florence were standing with Norma at the foot of her driveway. Marion, Computer Doug's wife was there, too. Behind them, Jeff Christ was carefully washing his Aunt Norma's car.

Jeff Christ, of course, is a very fine fellow.

Sack residents don't typically gather around gender lines. None of the women, however, were particularly interested in seeing Computer Doug's stitches.

Mrs. Wonders had already caught a glimpse of the carnage. Norma said she had the same surgery last year and didn't care to be reminded of the experience. Florence said she would rather poke herself in the eye than see mouth stitches. Marion, of course, already had intimate knowledge of her husband's stitches. She said Computer Doug should try having babies, if he wanted something to complain about.

The two gatherings had just been formed when everyone suddenly paused and looked down the cul-de-sac. Sack kids stopped cavorting around the centre circle and turned in the same direction. Later, Oscar would say that even dogs stopped barking at this same moment. I remain doubtful about this.

Everyone's attention, of course, was focused on a figure moving slowly, but steadily up the street. It was Handsome Man.

This time, he was shirtless.

It was one thing to see Handsome Man in his usual running attire. But it was quite another thing to see him without a shirt.

His deeply-tanned torso was glistening with sweat. Despite his rather swarthy features, he had only a smattering of hair on his chest. Florence told Mrs. Wonders this was exactly the amount of chest hair one would prefer in a fellow.

The most admirable part of Handsome Man's appearance, however, was his abdominal region. In this area, he was lean, hard and muscular. Oscar said it was exactly the look he was going for during his ill-fated Man Boobs Be Gone exercise regimen.

Computer Doug noted he could probably share some resemblance to Handsome Man's Adonis-like figure if he put his mind to it. Quite frankly, however, he said his mind is usually occupied with other things.

Elizabeth was the first person the shirtless Handsome Man passed as he powered up the street.

She was standing at the foot of her driveway with a shovel in her hand. I have no idea what she was doing with the shovel. Philip, her new-old husband was working on the lawn. He was still clear cutting the forest of dandelions in their front yard.

As Handsome Man approached, Elizabeth stood motionless and observed him. After he passed, she studied him from behind for more than a few moments. Then she removed her sunhat and mopped her brow with the back of her sleeve.

It was, after all, a rather hot day.

Handsome Man moved ever closer to the gathering of women on Norma's driveway. A hush had fallen over them as he grew near. Each of them was standing with an identical pose. They had their arms crossed in front of them. It was a collective stance of critical appraisal.

It didn't take long for Handsome Man to pass muster. After he ran past, the women remained silent for a few moments. When he was out of earshot, one of them made a remark that caused the others to erupt with laughter.

Later, Mrs. Wonders told me it was Norma who instigated the merriment. After Handsome Man ran by, she said quietly to the others:

"Well, I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers."

Florence, on the other hand, admitted that she wouldn't abide with even Handsome Man eating crackers in bed.

"A bed," she said wisely, "is no place for anyone to eat crackers."

Mrs. Wonders said the women thought very highly of Handsome Man's physique.

Norma, for example, said he looked like he had escaped from a romantic novel. She said Handsome Man is the spitting image of a man on a book she has on her bookshelf. If she remembered, she was going to look for it when she got home.

Marion thought Handsome Man was a very fine specimen, too. She wished Computer Doug would look after himself in the same fashion. Computer Doug, of course, did commence a running regime about a year ago. Sadly, he contracted a bad case of jogger's nipple. Apparently his newish running shoes are now sitting forlornly in their hall closet.

Mrs. Wonders also admitted that she made a singular comment herself after Handsome Man ran past.

Her only words were, "Hubba-Hubba."

Handsome Man ran around the Sack's centre circle and neared the men's gathering on Computer Doug's driveway. Oscar, Ben, your agent and Computer Doug were leaning against his car. Weed and Little Doug stood facing us with their backs to the road. Neither made an effort to turn around, but each turned his head to watch as Handsome Man approached.

When he came within a few feet of our gathering, Handsome Man looked in our direction and held up his hand in greeting. Everyone nodded politely, except for your agent. I replied again with my trademark peace sign.

As Handsome Man ventured out of the Sack again, he passed one more resident. Doo's mom was cutting her grass with a noisy lawn mower. When she spied his approach, she stopped, but allowed the mower's engine to continue. She stood still with her arms at her sides and simply stared as Handsome Man passed by. Her gaze followed him until he disappeared from view.

Weed said it was a shame that Doo's mom wasn't wearing her trademark sweatshirt. It's the one that says Foxy Lady on the front.

"She would've stopped him in his tracks with that," Weed said confidently. Then he added, "Handsome Man could've replaced Sticky as Doo's new step dad."

After Handsome Man disappeared from the Sack, it became evident that everyone had caught their own previous glimpses of the man. Oscar said he had seen him on numerous occasions over the last month. He said they now enjoyed a firm waving relationship. In fact, he claimed that Handsome Man's most recent wave was directed primarily at him.

"That's what handsome men do," he said evenly.

Oscar went on to explain that good-looking people have an unspoken code. It would be arrogant to openly discuss their attractiveness. Therefore, they use silent means to communicate their awareness of the matter.

Both Little Doug and Computer Doug immediately interjected at this point. Each had received a discrete wave or two from Handsome Man in recent weeks. Your agent, of course, noted his own experience of the same.

"Yeah, he was probably just being polite," Oscar replied coolly. "That's another thing handsome men do."

Ben, on the other hand, had been rather mute about the whole affair until this point. He said runners tend to come and go as far as the Sack is concerned. Handsome Man will either change his route or simply give up on running as a form of exercise. Sack residents, he observed, won't even remember the man after that.

"There's no point in getting your knickers in a knot about this stuff," he said philosophically.

Oscar disagreed. He raised the example of Puff Daddy, an older gentleman who ambles through the Sack with some regularity.

Puff Daddy is a portly fellow in his sixties. His face is always beet-red with exertion and covered in a feverish sweat. His gait is a curious mix of running and walking. He takes short, painful steps as he moves through the Sack. His breath comes in short, furious gasps, as if each one might be his last.

Oscar, of course, came up the older man's moniker. Since Oscar allegedly works from home, he sees him with the most frequency. Puff Daddy's appearances have always made him uncomfortable. He's afraid that the man will collapse in the Sack one day and he'll have to deal with the matter.

Whenever he sees Puffy Daddy struggling past, Oscar is reminded of the need to take a first aid course.

The final word on Handsome Man came from Weed.

Like Ben, he had been rather quiet about the matter. Now, he pointed out that Handsome Man's presence in the Sack could only be a positive thing. He said if there was ever any trouble in the Sack and Handsome Man was nearby, we could probably depend on his capable assistance.

"Handsome Man," Weed declared, "is our very own super hero."

"And what's his super power, then?" asked Computer Doug.

"That's easy," Weed replied. "He can disarm the bad guys with good looks alone."



Balloon Pirate said...

Was he running with gusto?

I used to have 6-pack abs. Now I have a keg.

I love Mrs. Wonder's use of words. It takes a certain type of woman to pull of 'hubba-hubba.' I don't remember who I had originally cast as your wife, but I think I may fire her and hire on Renee Russo. She can pull off a hubba-hubba.


Balloon Pirate said...

pull off, not 'pull of.'


Guy Wonders said...

Mrs. Wonders could definitely live with Renee Russo in the cast. I could live with Renee Russo, too. I'm okay with her in the cast, as well. . . .

The Jotter said...

Oh, Guy, I'm fawning. This was one of the best postings ever. I have some frequent flier miles. I'm coming to the Sack. I may never leave.

Then again, what made this telling so wonderful is that this has happened in my neighborhood. Hasn't this happened to us all? Does Handsome Man make a career of jogging around neighborhoods all over the continent?

Well, whatever the higher truths and greater secrets to come out of this, I'm blogging it.

And by the way, I recall my response to our Handsome Man sightings was a verbal, "That's what I'm talking about!" even though I wasn't talking at all.

And when he waved, I flashed him my trademark peace sign. I think he knows that we know each other.

Dear Lovey Heart said...

i hope handsome man returns with much haste

Guy Wonders said...

Thank you for the kind comments! Yes, Handsome Man has been making quite a spectacle of himself. Something tells me he just might be the same dude running through neigbourhoods all over North America. . .


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