Looking back to the summer I was eighteen I realize I was immature in many ways. For one thing, most kids my age had graduated from high school, but I still had a year to go. I missed most of fifth grade recovering from an auto accident and had to repeat it. It set me back socially as well. I was shy and still felt like an awkward adolescent. As far as sex goes, I would say that at that point I was omnisexual. Everything in the whole damn world turned me on! Girls with cute figures, guys with cute figures – a dog with a nice ass might make me hot. You get the picture. Now, what was I doing about any of this? Only what every lonely teenage boy does to release the pressure and keep the sheets dry. That is, until what I thought was a terrible idea turned out to be the sexiest thing that ever happened to me. “Mom! You can’t be serious,” I wailed. “You want me to spend the summer with my grandparents. What’s the matter? Couldn’t you find a jail that would take me?”
“Zack, don’t be so dramatic. You know your grandparents adore you and spoil you rotten. And they live on the beach in Southern California, for heaven’s sake! Most kids would die for a chance like that.”
In my heart I knew Mom had a point, but I bitched for awhile anyway. The truth was that ever since my Dad died in that car wreck when I was ten, I hated to be away from Mom and my two older sisters. I never quite got over thinking I could find myself alone in the world at any minute. But Mom and my sisters were working all summer and I’d be on my own most of the time. So I finally quit complaining and got used to the idea of spending the summer getting a tan and eating my Grandma’s wonderful cooking.
When I got to SoCal I discovered that Grandpa had arranged for me to have a job helping out at the lifeguard station near their home. Grandpa was a great believer in hard work and he found it easy to get me hired when he proudly showed off the pictures of all my swim team ribbons. So after a couple days of stuffing myself in Grandma’s kitchen and lusting after everything that moved on the streets of the small beach town, I went to work.
Grandpa had told me to report to a “nice young man named Quinn.” When I asked for him one of the guys shouted his name and around the corner came the hunkiest guy I had ever seen in my life. Talk about your tanned California gods! He was over six feet tall with the firm body of somebody who exercises daily, but isn’t so bulked that he looks like The Hulk. He was blond, of course, with those streaks the sun brings out, but instead of the expected blue eyes, his were bright green. When he saw me, he flashed a smile that made me feel really funny inside. Funny like when I looked at the pictures in a porn magazine. “You must be Zack,” he said, putting out his hand for me to shake. His hand was big and warm in mine. “Your Granddad described you very well.”
“Uh, what did he tell you?” I managed to ask. For some reason my throat was tight and my voice almost wouldn’t come out.
“He said you were the handsomest young man on the planet, not to mention the smartest and the hardest working – and, of course, the best swimmer.” One of the guys who was standing around said, “And you recognized him from that?”
Quinn laughed. It was a deep, warm laugh that kind of made me melt inside. “Well, it helped that he showed me a picture of him.” He grinned at me again. I probably would have stood there all day, as long as I could look at Quinn, but he immediately started giving me information about my duties. There was plenty to do and I was relieved to get to it. Before I started, though, Quinn said, “We usually have a bonfire on the beach at night, just for the crew to get better acquainted. I hope you’ll join us.”
I tried to tell myself that I eagerly agreed because I was anxious to make new friends, but, to tell the truth, if Quinn had asked me to join him in cleaning a septic tank I would have been just as eager.
I worked hard all day, but it was really fun. I wore a tank top that had the lifeguard service logo on it, so lots of people smiled at me and talked to me. I’d always felt a little invisible at home, but here I was treated like a somebody. I did my best to concentrate on my assignments, but the thought that I was going to hang out with Quinn that night was always on my mind.