NYSD readers may recall an early contributing weekly series "The Adventures of Dickey Scott." Dickey Scott, the creation of a New Yorker named Scott Briggs, was a kind of roman à clef about a personal trainer working in the gilded halls of Manhattan's higher social circles. Once upon a time, in real life, Mr. Briggs was one of those personal trainers. He discontinued the series a couple of years ago when he sat down to "write the book" about Dickey Scott, and today with Feel the Burn completed and now available, we are serializing a part of it beginning with this first chapter.
Chapter 1: Man’s Favorite Pleasure
It was a rainy October morning and Anika’s downstairs neighbor, Carl Parks, was flush beyond words. It was all the poor man could do not to stare at her breasts as the three of them ascended in the oak paneled elevator.
Dickey started to laugh and Anika was almost in tears. The poor man wearily smiled and was visibly relieved when the elevator stopped on his floor. “We should all look so good in the flesh,” Carl stuttered.
“Why thank you darling, that’s so sweet. And say hi to Dolores for me!”
Carl nodded and despite himself, managed to get one more glimpse of Anika’s conspicuous and ample chest before the door closed.
Their ribs ached with laughter by the time they stepped out of the elevator and into Anika’s penthouse foyer.
Dickey’s relationship with Anika Rand had begun three years before, nearly to the day. He was sitting in Tod’s – the chic shoe store on Madison Avenue – staring at his feet, imagining his parents back in Kansas City looking on with disdain as their son tried to justify the need for a five hundred dollar pair of driving shoes. He hadn’t seen her approach.
“Shoes make the man. Go for it.”
Dickey looked up and couldn’t help but give her the once over. The raven-haired beauty with doe-like eyes to match and olive-colored skin, seemingly glazed with a buttery emulsion – the type that defies wrinkles, even at fifty-two - was in a skin tight, fuchsia, goatskin dress that was probably a Gaultier, and black, knee high, Gucci biker boots.
“Anika Rand,” he announced, stating the obvious.
“Hi, Dickey. I wasn’t sure you would remember me.”
Dickey chuckled. In his world, everyone remembered Anika Rand.
Anika had made her mark as a socialite by not being your Mother’s socialite. You won’t find her lunching at Doubles with a gaggle of social x-rays. Instead, check out the back booth at some trendy dive in the meat packing district or the counter at Florent – an all night diner - around 5 a.m. and you might find Anika – clad in a chrome-colored, wrap dress by Versace, holding court with the artist or bad boy actor du jour. But that’s not to say that Anika doesn’t have a keen sense of history. After all, she’d gotten to the top the old fashioned way. She had slept her way through three husbands and a couple of lovers, adding another zero to her net worth every step of the way.
“Rumor has it your ten o’clock training slot is open and I want it,” Anika declared, taking the seat next to Dickey in the shoe store.
“I’m sure you would understand if I told you that there are several people dying for my coveted, ten a.m. slot,” he said matter-of-factly.
“I have no doubt. But have you promised it to anyone? Is it already written in stone?”
“No,” Dickey admitted. “Not yet.”
“Excellent!” Anika blurted, as she stood and rifled through her Louis Vuitton bag. “It’s a done deal. You can call me at home or on my cell.” She handed Dickey her card.
“Would my fee be of interest at this point?” he asked, as her attention strayed to the shoes on his feet.
“Is it less than those pebble-skin driving shoes?” she asked, nodding towards Dickey’s inevitable purchase.
“Barely,” he said.
“A bargain!” she beamed, as she turned and walked away.
“Anika,” he called after her. She turned with arched brow.
“I thought you had a trainer. Weren’t you working with that expatriate from L.A.?”
“I had to let him go,” she said evenly, stepping back towards him. “Too much sexual tension.”
“I see,” is all Dickey said.
“But I trust that won’t be a problem with us,” she said, with a wry smile and wink.
“I’ll be a good boy if you’re a good girl,” he responded, with his own twinkling eye.
And so they were, until nearly three years later - the cool, wet morning when Anika’s unitard turned to flesh.
Parker Rand, Anika’s husband, was standing in the foyer of their penthouse when they stepped out of the elevator – still laughing hysterically at their encounter with her neighbor, Carl.
“So much for your two thousand dollar hair and make-up extravaganza at Elizabeth Arden yesterday,” Parker said, peering over his reading glasses, still in his robe and slippers, his foppish silver hair hanging across his brow, yet to be gelled and groomed to perfection. “I hope no one of importance saw you with your protection armor in disarray.”
“Can it, Parker – you drip.” Anika sniped. “We got caught in the downpour. It’s the most fun I’ve had north of Fourteenth Street in years.”
“That’s a sad statement,” Parker added, absent-mindedly adjusting the belt of his robe, which was struggling to contain his post-middle-aged paunch.
“I agree,” Anika snarled.
Parker was Anika’s third husband. They had been married for five years, which was about four years too many for Anika. She had met Parker when they were both married to their second spouses. Their affair – like most affairs – was incredibly exciting and according to Anika, Parker was quite the stallion. But then they both went through ugly divorces with Parker getting screwed and Anika becoming rich (well, richer) and by the time they got married the bloom was nearly off the rose. The relationship had been contentious ever since and Parker had a fair amount of disdain for Anika’s downtown social life – something that hadn’t seemed to bother him when they were both involved in high infidelity.
In the three years that Dickey had known Parker, he had come to view him as a partner in crime with his wayward wife. He knew that Dickey knew more about the days and nights of Anika than he did; and it had turned what had once been an amicable relationship between the two men into a cool one at best. Therefore, as you’ve just witnessed, he didn’t play nice just because Dickey was in the room.
“Parker, Dickey has a dentist’s appointment in less than an hour. Can you find it in your kind heart to let him use your shower?”
Parker stared at his wife’s handsome trainer as if trying to decide if he would leave some kind of fungi on the tile.
“Whatever. Just remember to wipe it down when you’re finished. I hate mildew.”
Anika simply rolled her eyes, grabbed Dickey’s hand, and pulled him towards the bedroom.
As with many Park and Fifth Avenue apartments belonging to extremely wealthy people (mildly redundant), the master bedroom was set up to accommodate the luxury of getting dressed in the morning as if one’s spouse is not even in existence.
Anika and Parker’s bedroom was designed so that Anika could enter her walk-in closet – which was really a wide hallway – and in turn, her bathroom by using the door at the far end of her closet. Parker could enter his dressing area through another door and in turn, enter his bathroom in the same fashion. But unbeknownst to Dickey, at least until this soon to be infamous day, was that there was a door connecting the two bathrooms from a shared wall.
Anika excused herself to make a phone call after showing him the door to Parker’s dressing room. With his backpack in tow, he entered Parker’s domain. The room was a luxurious hideaway. One wall was covered in navy felt and the opposing wall was floor to ceiling curtains of identical color and dense felt fabric. The two remaining walls were covered with floor to ceiling built-in closets that appeared to be lacquered Rosewood. The middle closet was open and revealed a full-length mirror that was flanked by shoe nests down either side. There were black and white photographs on a dressing table and a television mounted in the corner. It was all Dickey could do not to snoop in the closets but his time was limited.
Dickey had shut the door that led to the bedroom so he didn’t bother to close the door between the dressing area and the bathroom. He quickly peeled off his soaking wet – and now disturbingly cold – workout togs and reached into the shower, turning on the water jets and overhead spigot, an enormous showerhead the size of a dinner plate. As the water warmed, Dickey studied himself in the full-length mirror that flanked the shower. “Not bad for thirty-four,” he said aloud, absent-mindedly running his hand over his washboard stomach and then through his full head of chocolate brown hair, thankful that his Midwestern, awe shucks good looks and lithe, sinewy, five foot eleven inch body were as attractive as ever. It was a fact that Dickey never took for granted and worked hard to maintain, partially out of pure vanity but also because he knew that his appearance, combined with a natural quick wit and charm, were really what kept his stable of high-flying clientele in his barn, not his knowledge of preacher curls and peck decks.
Minutes later, Dickey was enjoying the soothing massage of the water jets when he heard the sound of a closing door. The glass shower was substantially steamed over so Dickey rubbed a circular hole on the door with his hand. He could see through the reflection in the mirror that Parker was in his dressing room. He was putting on his dress shirt and had a tie draped loosely around his neck.
Dickey finished lathering and happened to notice Parker leaving the dressing room in a hurry. Perhaps the phone had rung, he thought. Regardless, he forgot about Parker and returned to his slice of spa heaven.
The next thing Dickey remembered was a waft of cool air against his body. He opened his eyes and gasped when Anika stepped into the shower.
“What the hell are you doing?” he shrieked, in a manic whisper.
She put her hand over his mouth. “It’s okay.”
“I know. Isn’t it exciting!”
Dickey looked at her dumbfounded. She simply giggled and started stroking his hairless chest and kissing his neck. He glanced back in the dressing room and his knees nearly buckled when he saw Parker standing in the mirror, fiddling with his tie.
Dickey said nothing. Anika had started working her way down his body and his breathing had become shallow – his vocal chords paralyzed. Dickey found himself staring at Parker’s hands. It took him three attempts to tie the perfect knot, which was ironically the same amount of time it took Anika to provide Dickey with man’s favorite pleasure.
Monday, October 29, 2007