Garrett couldn’t wait to start his new job at Paramount Pictures as the assistant to the Head of Production. It was his first day, and he was excited to be working for the studio responsible for some of the most influential films of the twentieth century. His boss, Howard Zusman, was a salty older man who had seen and done it all. He was in charge of ensuring that all the movies got made on budget and stayed on schedule; he ran the studio and its services. Garrett knew he had a lot to learn about the craft of moviemaking from him and was grateful to work for someone with as much experience as he had. This was Garrett’s big break.
He moved to Los Angeles only a year before to start a new life. Garrett was bashful and awkward as a child and still hadn’t fully grown out of that phase. He was 21 years old with a quirky yet adorable style about him. His clothes were dull and his hair uncut, but with his disheveled style, he exuded an undeniable charm. Garrett knew he was lucky to have secured the job at the studio. He had met Mr. Zusman at an industry event where Howard was the guest speaker. The two men began talking about their love for science fiction and monster movies. Howard said he saw a lot of himself in Garrett and offered to take him under his wing at the studio by making him his assistant.
As adorable as Garrett was, his bashful nature and almost crippling insecurities made it impossible for him to find love. Growing up in his small town, he had never met a person he connected with, so he was still inexperienced in love and the art of love-making.
Across the hall in his one-bedroom apartment lived a man roughly his age named Silvan. Loud and gregarious, Silvan was a true sportsman and the building “bro”. You name it, Silvan played it. Silvan and Garrett’s apartment faced each other, and whenever Silvan’s door would open, Garret would rush over to look through the peephole in order to get a glimpse of him. Garrett hoped to one day gather the courage to say more than a casual hello to him and wished that their relationship would evolve into more than just a passing friendship.
The alarm rang at 7 AM, and Garrett sprung up from the bed like a piston. Today was a big day for him, and he would not be late for work! Freshly showered, Garrett attempted to dress his best. He searched everywhere to find something that wasn’t frumpy and distressed. It was no use; he knew that whatever he wore, he’d look like a dork.
At 7:30 sharp, Garrett darted out the front door of his apartment. As he locked the door and turned, he found himself chest to chest with Silvan. A wide, bright smile greeted him as Silvan enthusiastically wished him a good morning.
“Word in the building is that you got a job at Paramount! Congrats, man. That’s awesome. Well, break a leg, as they say in the movie business. If you’re not too beat from your first day, knock on my door. I’ll throw back a brew with you,” Sylvan told him.
Garrett bashfully looked away from Silvan. He knew eye contact with this brawny bro would just make his heart flutter and his brain turn to mush. He dreaded saying something silly to this sexy stud. Rather than answering Silvan directly, he just mumbled towards the floor, “Thank you. Very nice of you to offer. I’ll probably be too tired, but I appreciate you inviting me over.” Garrett made haste in exiting. He was eager to get to the studio and away from the man who made him so flustered.
The impressive, iconic Paramount gates caused Garrett’s eyes to go wide. He had always fantasized about the day he’d drive up to the guard at the entrance, give his name, and be welcomed into the lot.
Garrett’s new boss, Howard Zusman, was already in the office when he arrived. “Come in kid. Glad to see you’re on time.” Garrett eagerly sat in the office, awaiting his first task. Howard was on a phone call with United Talent Agency and couldn’t properly give him the attention he deserved on his first day. “Sorry, I don’t have time to talk to you right now. I’m dealing with this idiot agent. Why don’t you head to the prop warehouse just behind soundstage 9? Familiarize yourself with the place and how things are organized. Soon, we’ll need to clean out the old crap in there. We’ve got stuff from 1912 that should have been thrown out a century ago. See what’s there and let’s meet about it tomorrow. I’m going home early today, so come talk to me when you get in tomorrow morning, and we’ll talk more then.” Garrett was happy to comply with Howard’s order. His first day, and he’d get to dig around the old studio prop house? What an incredible adventure this will be!
Garrett left Zusman’s office and walked past the soundstages. The studio was quiet today. All the productions were shooting elsewhere, and the lot was still. Garrett reached the massive warehouse at the end of the lane and pushed open the tremendous loading doors to gain entry. With a flick of an old switch, the giant warehouse was slowly and methodically flooded with light. The vast space was filled with furniture, artifacts, and props dating back to the silent movie era. It thrilled Garrett to explore this wonderland. It was quiet, and brimming with everything he loved from the movies he’d watched as a child. Crates of old paint lined the walls, as did old lights, equipment, props, and artifacts. Holy crap, is that the robot from Forbidden Planet? Next to Robbie the Robot was the costume from The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Crates of green gelatin used to create the special effects for the movie The Blob were tucked behind tall shelves of knickknacks.
Far in the back of the room, behind an old backdrop, the edge of a very cool-looking steam-punk-styled device could was visible. Garrett couldn’t wait to investigate what it was. After clearing what seemed to be a mountain of boxes was a treasure beyond compare. What movie could this be from? Probably something from the 1920s. How ornate it is! It looks like an old-time machine. Who could want to throw these riches in the trash?
Garrett resisted the urge at first, but then he could no longer combat the temptation to play with the miraculous machine. He climbed into the sled and sat on the seat of the ancient, ornate device. I wonder if this thing still moves like it did when it was built. Garrett had to know just what this magical contraption looked like when activated. He grasped the handles and pushed down on the petals before him. He was concerned at first that he would break it, but then realized it hadn’t been touched in a hundred years, so there was no harm in playing with the old machine. As Garrett pedaled, the giant ornate wheel behind him turned. At first, it took quite a bit of strength to start the mechanism, but once the enormous wheel started spinning, the centrifugal force made peddling easier and more manageable. The large wheel whirled faster and faster until it whistled, then it hummed. The gyroscope spun rapidly, generating electricity for the myriad of lights, dials, and gauges that adorned the fanciful mechanism. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN! Garrett couldn’t help himself. He peddled faster and faster, amazed at the delightful light show the machine emitted as he pushed it to its limits. Please don’t blow apart into a million pieces; he prayed as he peddled faster and faster. The machine arced, snapped, and sputtered as electricity sparked off the metal chassis. The engine was now powered up, and Garrett realized he had crossed a threshold; he was no longer in control of the device. How do I stop this thing? Garrett panicked. No sooner did he realize that the machine now had a life of its own did it emit a loud blinding light and guttural thumping boom!
Garrett wasn’t sure if he had blacked out or if the blinding light had just startled him. Whatever the case, he was disoriented. What added to his confusion was that the once messy storage room brimming with props was now tidy and organized.
What happened here? I must have been knocked out for a while. Something weird is happening.
Garrett climbed off the machine after the wheel spun to a stop and he began snooping around for answers to the mystery of why the once cluttered space was now empty.
As Garrett emerged from the warehouse and into the daylight, he was surprised to see the old, quiet soundstages were now brimming with life. The studio looked brand new and teamed with workers, actors, and movie equipment. As Garrett’s eyes adjusted to the bright California sun, a disarmingly handsome Italian man about his age with dark, short, slicked-back hair wearing a brilliantly tailored European-styled suit approached.
He looked deeply into Garrett’s eyes and put his hand on his shoulder. His deep, hypnotic voice with a heavy accent inquired, “Are you all right? You look pale and confused. The striking man continued. “I’d assume you’re a worker looking for the soundstage we are filming on by the way you’re dressed.” The dashing man quickly apologized. “I’m sorry, but clothes make the man. A fellow’s first impression tells the world who he is. Am I correct in assuming you are a worker?”
Garrett answered, “You are right. I work here, and you’re a movie star by the look of you. I’ve never been on set before. I would love to see the set you’re filming on!”
The dark, sexy stranger answered in a swoon-worthy tone, “I am indeed a humble thespian. We are on Stage 9, right next door. I have just finished my scene and have a brief break. Why don’t you allow me to get you a cold refreshment until your complexion returns? After that, you may accompany me to set for my next shot.” The man’s inviting and sultry eyes were not to be trifled with. Garrett knew that saying no to this handsome actor wouldn’t be right. Plus, why not spend a few minutes getting to know this sexy man better?
The two men stepped into the actor’s palatial bungalow. “Please, sit. Make yourself comfortable. Drink this.” The actor handed Garrett a chilled glass of water in an ornate crystal glass. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Rudolph, and what might your name be?”
Garrett didn’t answer at first. The expensive décor and delightful fragrance from dozens of roses distracted him. Who is this guy? He must be an enormous star in Italy. Garrett snapped out of his thoughts and answered. “I’m sorry. My name’s Garrett. Today’s my first day working here.”
“Well, Garrett, welcome to the movie business. It’s quite an exciting profession. One day, I hope to be behind the camera like you probably aspire to do. I’d like to direct, but for now, it seems my fortune is to be found in front of the lens.”
Garrett could see why this man was a star; he was as charismatic as he was good-looking. Garrett joked, “If I looked like you, I’d be an actor as well, but for guys like me, we should stay behind the scenes.”
The self-deprecating statement surprised Rudolph as he joined Garrett on the couch. “You should never speak poorly of yourself. You have a beautiful smile and a… how do you say… precious energy coming from your heart.”
Garrett wasn’t sure if it was the heavy Italian accent, the sultry brown eyes, or the invitingly sincere smile, but he knew this man intrigued him and he was desperate to get to know him better.
Rudolph gently placed his hand on Garrett’s chest as he whispered. “Love starts from within your own heart. Cherish yourself as if you were the rarest of diamonds, and all the world will desire you.”
What lovely words, indeed, a message to live by. Is this man seducing me? Garrett wondered as he could feel his heart beating heavily and his head swooning.
Soon all his thoughts of inadequacy disappeared as Rudolf placed his tender, sweet lips on his and softly stated, “I can see you are nervous. Don’t be. You’re an impressive young man. It would be my privilege to introduce you to the world of pleasure. Lay back and allow me to explore you.”
Garrett breathed deeply as he reclined, allowing this sensitive stud to discover him. He wasn’t sure where the experience would take him, but it didn’t matter. He was fully committed to being one with this passionate stranger.
Rudolf’s tender, firm touch and powerful grasp made for an experience that Garrett could never have imagined possible. “The key to happiness is to put all your energy into living, laughing, and loving. Savor every second. Don’t waste a bit. Gulp–don’t sip from the fountain of life.” Garrett fully understood those words and was liberated from his thoughts of self-doubt and insecurity. Why be concerned with the negative when you can spend your time embracing the positive? The two men spend the afternoon making love and exploring each other’s bodies and souls. The experience was dreamlike and unforgettable.
After an hour of unrelenting passion, Garrett was exhausted. He lay in the bed as if he had sampled the entire bounty life offered. Rudolf was casually nestled beside him, pleased to see that he gave his lover an experience he’d long remember.
It was mid-afternoon when a knock on the bungalow door came. An enthusiastic, high-pitched voice followed it. “Mr. Valentino. The assistant director sent me. He wanted to let you know you’re wrapped for the day. We decided to shoot your love scene tomorrow instead of today. Here is a call sheet with your arrival time tomorrow. I’ll slip it under the door. Have a wonderful night!”
Rudolph called out to the voice outside, “Thank you. Have a wonderful evening. See you in the morning.”
Garrett joked, “Lucky for you that you don’t need to shoot another love scene.”
Rudolph replied without flinching. “Love is what I do. Pleasure is the air I breathe, and sex is the nourishment that feeds my soul.”
Wow. No wonder you’re so good at it. Garrett thought to himself as he silently chuckled.
As Garrett put the first and last names together, he became even more confused. Rudolph… Valentino? How strange that this young, handsome Italian man would assume the same identity as the world’s most famous lover? Presumptuous, Garrett thought, but if the shoe fits.
The assistant slid a sheet of paper under the door as promised. It was tomorrow’s call sheet. It listed everything a crew member would need to know to prepare for the next day. Rudolph casually tossed the bed sheets off himself and nonchalantly walked over to the door. As he strutted naked across the room, Garrett couldn’t take his eyes off this perfectly proportioned European stud.
He’s certainly built for sex. Garrett thought as he pondered if he should suggest another session with this stud. Rudolph turned to return to bed. The front view of Rudolph was just as good, if not better than the back view. Garrett observed as Rudolph slipped back under the covers.
“Wonderful. I don’t need to arrive to set until 10 am. Since you’re also working on this film, would you like to see what time the crew is to arrive?” Rudolph casually inquired as he handed Garrett the paper with the movie’s information.
The film’s title clearly stated “Cobra,” with Rudolf Valentino listed as the lead actor. The date next to the title was “1923”. Garrett was speechless.
The date was exactly 100 years earlier than today’s date! Could this all be an elaborate hoax? Was he dreaming this entire experience, or was it possible that the rickety old machine he discovered in the cluttered prop room was really a time machine that he rode a century into the past to have his first sexual experience with THE Rudolph Valentino?
“Your face is white again. Are you well? You look like when I found you. Very disoriented.” Rudolf was concerned as he grasped his hand to comfort him.
Garrett knew he needed to return to the prop warehouse as soon as possible to find the time machine. “I’m sorry, I must be going. I shouldn’t be here. I have to leave now.” He kissed Rudolf intensely one last time so that he may have a lasting taste of his lover on his lips as he made haste out of the bungalow.
Garrett dashed out of Valentino’s bungalow and ran back to the old prop warehouse, where he found the large apparatus, he rode in from the future, sitting in the corner right where he left it.
Thank God no one touched it. Now, what to do?
He examined the machine and found a dial on the dashboard that set the time and date. The gauge was set to minus 100 years. Garrett didn’t think twice about what to do next. He quickly climbed into the machine and adjusted the dial to the current year. With a mighty heave, he feverishly pedaled, hoping the device could still do what it did hours earlier; travel in time.
As the large fly-wheel spun, the antique lights glowed and pulsated. The machine began sputtering; it whirred and hummed intensely.
Suddenly, a deep voice from the other side of the warehouse shouted out, “Hey, you, get away from that thing. We just bought that from Nikola Tesla. It’s not a toy!” The husky old gentlemen ran towards Garrett. He was agitated and determined to stop anyone from using the studio’s newly gained prop.
Garrett knew this would be his only opportunity to return home; to the time when and where he belonged. As a science fiction fan, he was all too aware of the dangers of altering the timeline and the repercussions of changing past events. Getting stuck in the past would wreak havoc on the timeline and cause irreparable damage to the future.
Garrett peddled frantically, praying with each thrust that he’d reach the required speed to activate the device once more before the imposing man forced him to stop. He pushed himself, driving the machine’s giant wheel to spin wildly. The lights pulsated, and the sparks flew frantically as the angry man approached.
The burly worker grabbed a broomstick and prepared to thrust it into the spokes of the exposed, spinning wheel. He was only a foot away, and disaster was imminent, just as the machine heaved and discharged a sonic boom and blinding flash of light. The furious man was tossed backward onto the floor as the machine leaped one hundred years into the future in the blink of an eye.
All was quiet when Garrett regained consciousness. He had only blacked out for a few seconds. The jolt from the jump disoriented him. As he apprehensively looked around, he could see the warehouse was dark and messy. All seemed to be back to normal; At least, he hoped it was. He asked Siri what year it was. She dutifully answered, “2023.” Garrett felt an immense relief come over him. All was well. Then it occurred to him. Was the machine safe to be left unattended? What if someone were to discover its abilities just as he had? Garrett reached beneath the dashboard, where a small panel was full of small glass tubes. He knew that by removing just one of these tubes, the machine wouldn’t be able to time jump.
Best that I’m the guardian of the machine. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if this machine fell into the wrong hands! Garrett carefully put the small glass transistor in a tiny box and left work for the day.
Garrett had a few stops to make on his way home tonight. The first place he needed to visit was a refined men’s shop. With a credit card, he purchased the finest clothes he could afford. Once meticulously dressed, he admired himself in the mirror. Rudolf was right; clothes make the man. Now dressed sharply, he headed to the barber for a haircut and a shave. He went with a classic cut. Timeless; you can’t go wrong with a tight, clean-shaven look. Garrett no longer looked like an unkept assistant, but instead, resembled a dashing leading man. Now to the florist. A lavish bouquet of roses was in order for his next stop. If flowers don’t set the stage, nothing will.
He parked out front of his building, and with a confident and excited breath, he rang the doorbell adjacent to his own.
Silvan immediately opened the door. He was surprised to see Garrett standing there, looking so dashing.
Before he could utter a single word, Garrett gazed deeply into his eyes and spoke, “These are for you. We’ve been casual acquaintances for a year now, but I want it to be more. I would like to take you on a proper date if you allow me.” Garrett’s confidence brimmed over. He believed that if he could please Rudolf Valentino on his first go, then chances are, he could also satisfy Silvan.
The reply couldn’t come fast enough. “I’d love that!” Silvan shouted. “I’m flattered that someone as sexy and sweet as you would want to take me out. Just name the time and day you’d like to get dinner, and I’ll be ready.”
Garrett boldly replied, “How about now? I’m starving and eager to spend time with you.”
Silvan smiled, “Let me just put these magnificent roses you brought me in a vase, and then I’ll be set,” he replied.
The two men had a marvelous date that evening. It began with drinks, a fine dinner at a casual club, and then dancing afterward. After hours of talking, laughing, and getting to know each other better, they once again settled in the hall just outside their respective apartment doors.
“Would you care to come in, or do you have to get up early for work tomorrow?” Garrett felt the evening was already perfect. “Why don’t we plan on seeing each other again this Friday night? Saturday morning, I’ll make you the most amazing pancakes.”
Silvan smiled. “It’s a date then.” Silvan grinned as he sweetly leaned forward, lips puckered, with closed eyes ready for another kiss.
Garrett was happy to meet his lips with his own. They enjoyed a long, tender embrace in the hall in front of their doors. Garrett thought that was nice. Just as I imagined for the last year. I definitely need more of that this weekend!
Silvan admitted, “I had the most incredible time with you tonight. I love the flowers, sharp clothes, and sweet, self-assurance attitude. It’s all working for you, big time! This new job seems to have done wonders for your confidence.”
Garrett smiled knowingly and simply replied to him, “Yes – I truly had an amazing first day.”