Sitting in my truck, I watched cops move in and out. I counted nearly a year of work behind those gates, sweeping the pool in absolute silence. Not once had anyone appeared; not once had I glimpsed anything more than a squawking scrub jay or dragonfly buzzing the water. I’d long ago written off the occupant as elderly, someone unwilling or unable to muster curiosity, because I couldn’t begin to consider that anyone in his prime might ignore my presence—especially since I provided sexual services to my customers down the hill.
I loved the life, lived the cliché to the fullest, fucking aging moguls, up-and-coming hotshot producers, oftentimes sucking cock before I got anywhere near the pool. My salary was modest; tips for the extra services were not.
The topmost house had always looked tired, an aging, two-story Spanish style with stucco fallen away in places and fissures along staircases. The garden was more rampant than lush, overgrown with a generous mix of orange and lemon that gave everything a citrusy smell. The lawns were mowed but the rest of it looked heavy, in need of pruning, and I wondered why they paid a pool man but not a decent gardener. Was the owner a swimmer who darted out to the water and rushed back inside, never noticing his s...
In any case, the following week all returned to normal, except I worked with new curiosity. I asked my boss about the place, and he told me he didn’t know who lived there, that an accounting firm paid the bills. Now, as I pushed my brush along the pool sides, I felt eyes on me for the first time. In response, I stripped away my shirt, then slowed everything down, easing the pole into the water, pushing and pulling with long, languid strokes. Periodically, I paused to wipe my brow and look around, twice stopping altogether to drink some bottled water. The second time I did this, a man stepped out onto the patio. I knew instantly who he was.
Thinner than I recalled, and absent the usual tan, he still maintained an almost regal presence, as if there were no bandages on his wrists. His once golden hair had gone platinum, still full but now uncombed, shaggy at the ears. He wore white slacks, an untucked white shirt, no shoes.
We said nothing, even though I’d stopped work, and I watched him draw his hands to his chest and clasp them together. His expression remained blank, but he still exuded an incredible power, as if he could draw the world itself to him. I began to understand the force that had made him the star he’d once been.
I moved to him as I knew countless others had. I understood them now, willing captives eager to do whatever he asked. And for once I wasn’t propelled by the urgency I found at houses down the hill. This was different, a unique kind of beckoning, everyday lust elevated to a higher plane. As I neared him, my life gradually came into focus, how I’d been living. Fucking. Nothing more. Suddenly, things were changing—in all of forty feet.
When I reached him, he didn’t smile. There was no welcome beyond a single finger drawn not down, as expected, but up, along my jaw and cheek.
His eyes were pale blue, his features, once matinee-idol sharp, now almost too pronounced, gauntness added to the mix. He was still handsome in his diminished state, but shrouded in sadness. It’s Leland Cady, I reminded myself, screen legend.
He didn’t lead me inside; he simply turned and let me follow. I found the house an elegant chaos, neglected, dusty. A broken lamp lay on the floor. He stepped around it as if it were nothing more than an ottoman or potted plant.
He led me upstairs to what I could tell was not his bedroom. Bare and musty, it was unoccupied except for the bed, where the covers were so tangled I knew it had not been a good night for its occupant. This got me to wondering what had driven him from his own space. The scene I crafted in my head made him all the more tragic and, therefore, all the more appealing.
I undressed him slowly, revealing a timeworn but still beautiful body, a dusting of platinum hair across his chest, a stripe of it descending to the silky bush at his beckoning crotch.