Our story so far: Freddy Williams bids farewell to Magazine readers today after sharing his world for four months. Next week we'll begin chronicling the life of a new volunteer: Frank Connell, a 43-year-old free spirit about to open his first restaurant. If you think you are a good candidate for this series, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jake, an arthritic yellow Labrador, walked alongside Freddy at the end of a slack leash. Normally, the walk with Jake would be the last of the day, but not anymore. Recently there's been a surge in Freddy's business Southpaw Personalized Pet Care. In part, Freddy credits the uptick to being the subject of this weekly series. Not long ago a woman stopped him. You're that dog walker I've been reading about, Freddy remembers her saying. She asked if he could take care of her pet.
"It's strange being recognized," Freddy says later at his apartment. But he likes it.
Freddy and old Jake were about to cross the street when an unfamiliar voice called out, "Freddy!"
Freddy says he turned to look. He saw a man he didn't know carrying a ladder. "I've been keeping up with your episodes," the man told him and wished him good luck.
Freddy shook the man's hand and said thanks. He figures he knows why the man cheered him on: "Maybe he's got no health insurance; maybe he's got some bills just banging on his shoulder constantly." In short, maybe he's a lot like Freddy.
Yet not everyone has been so encouraging. A couple of Freddy's friends think the stories have been humiliating. To them, it seems like every week has brought another unflattering drama: Freddy fainting on an airplane, having his phone disconnected, locking his keys in a client's house.
"Yeah, it's been slightly invasive," Freddy agrees, "but again, this is who I am . . . What am I supposed to do?" He doesn't find the details of his life embarrassing. "It's entertainment," he says with a laugh.
In the end, Freddy's 15 minutes have not been all he had hoped. At the outset, he thought that publicity would boost his career as a deejay. He even talked about the possibility of being able, finally, to quit his day job walking dogs. That hasn't happened. In fact, he says, the owners of one nightclub where he spins were so irritated with him for reporting how slow business had been that they didn't talk to him for a week.
Freddy says that his family didn't want to appear in Adventures, but that his mother and sister have read about him every week, often e-mailing the stories to relatives in Missouri. Sometimes his relatives have groaned. Mostly they have laughed. But no one has been surprised, "because they all know me. Every line or every little scenario, it's just how I am."
As we get ready to say goodbye, Freddy is standing in his basement apartment in Adams Morgan, holding a cold beer and leaning over a seldom-used stove. He has a collection of business cards spread out on the counter: from dog-walking clients, nightclub owners, fellow deejays. On the wall are photos of other people's dogs. Freddy points to the business card of a nightclub owner he once worked for, saying he'd like to deejay there again. Finally, he picks up the card of a radio station program director. Maybe it's time to resurrect a dream he gave up long ago and try to find a job in radio. The thought is fleeting.
Freddy sets down his beer and removes a recently purchased record from its plastic casing. He sets the vinyl disc on a turntable, engages the needle and moves gently to the sound of a new beat.
-- Tyler Currie