Authors' Note: Don't try this at home.
College of the Canyons is a relatively nice community college in Santa Clarita, just a few kilometres north of Los Angeles, where I'd been attending classes on and off for the last few years. Between the drag of going to work at temp jobs and keeping up with a load of class work I'd never really had a chance to enjoy life. My periodic weekend trips to the beach at Santa Monica and Malibu did a fairly good job of ruining any complacency I'd had about life. Seeing movie stars drive by in fancy cars as they went to and from their great careers and fabulous homes...well, that just about would ruin anyone, now wouldn't it? My car humiliated me every time I drove into the city with it's bitchy clutch and rusty...everything.
So I did whatever I could to earn a little extra money and I pursued the trappings of The Good Life. I figured that if I looked successful then success would come my way in one form or another. So forty hour weeks at a reception desk and then another ten to twenty hours doing whatever other work I could pick up yielded me a respectable bank account.
One day my old car gave it up and finally died along the I-5 leaving me to beg a ride from a passing Highway Patrol officer. He was a nice enough guy and he offered to take me home so I accepted. We got to the Magic Mountain exit and then he asked if I was going to need another car and he went on to tell me of an officer friend who was selling his old car. There was a smile in his voice as he called it an 'old car' and I just found myself going along. The CHP cruiser coasted back onto the Five and up the Grapevine to a little town nestled in one of the mountain valleys.
The little ranch was right off the freeway and was cute in the rustic way the old ranch houses of Southern California all seem to be. His friend came out to meet us and took us over to a barn tucked up under the most massive oak tree I think I've ever seen. I thought for sure I was about to see some old Buick or an old-man Oldsmobile in the barn, but then a door opened to reveal a dusty tarp over something low.
I couldn't believe my good luck when $15,000.00 later I was driving home in a beautifully restored 1982 Ferrari GTsi. The hand-rubbed black enamel gleamed in the summer sun and the creamy leather Recaro seat caressed my body in an almost loving manner. My short brown hair blew in the wind and I looked in the mirror and imagined myself looking just like one of those movie stars in their sunglasses.
Suddenly, my little apartment was far too mundane for a woman in such a car as this. Forty minutes flew by with the miles and I was gleefully downshifting like a pro as I negotiated the turns on Sunset. I made the right onto the Pacific Coast Highway and headed north to Malibu. Every stop light gave me a chance to see the common people straining to see behind my hair and sunglasses wondering if I was someone famous. I was one of them yesterday.
There's a very nice, expensive and exclusive restaurant on the highway right near Pepperdine where I finally pulled in for a break. I pulled up to the valet and received the kind of first class treatment I didn't receive when I'd pulled in a few months before...looking for a job. I figured a girl in a Ferrari needed to have a $250 dinner with a nice view of the surfers riding the evening break.
I had no idea that a dinner could actually be worth $250 until the marinated and grilled New York steak met my palate. The flavor was something I'd never imagined and I closed my eyes and felt myself swoon from the sensation.
"I'm deeply flattered."
The deep voice belonged to a man whose face was more sculpted than real. He was beautiful.
"It's not often my guests appreciate my culinary talents with the passion you just demonstrated. You are a beautiful young lady and one of refined taste, as well."
Things like this don't happen to me. I sat there silent and allowed myself to drink in the presence of my personal Adonis.
"My apologies. I'm too forward. Please enjoy your meal."
He turned to go and I somehow managed to find my voice.
"No, I'm sorry! Thank you for the dinner...it's amazing!"
He stopped. Then he slowly turned to look back at me with a devilish smile. There is a God and he is a chef in Malibu.
Well, after an hour of conversation and astronomically expensive domestic wine I realized that Adonis was not only good looking and a god, he was the God of All Narcissists. He knew nothing about me and I knew more about him than I wanted to. To top it all off, he was gay. Isn't that my luck? The perfect day, I find the perfect car, have the perfect dinner with the most handsome man in the world and he's gay.
My luck turned to the better once again when he asked me if I was interested in taking care of his beach house while he spent the next month in Vienna perfecting his sauce techniques. He'd pay me twice my monthly pay at the temp job! I said 'yes', of course. He'd only just met me and he was giving me a house in Heaven. Oh, if only he hadn't been gay!
I had to be free for tomorrow and the rest of the month and, oh by the way, Waldo would pay me twice my regular salary for my 'inconvenience'.
When he told me his name was 'Waldo' I completely understood his being gay. No one names a kid Waldo and expects him to be normal.
Lisa, my roomie, wasn't too happy to find out that I'd be skipping on my end of the chores and the utilities the next month (she knew she used most of the electricity) but she wasn't able to argue my getting the use of a twelve-million dollar Malibu beach house for the month of August. She just wanted to come visit was her only caveat. The thought of her lazy ass enjoying my good fortune pissed me off. I told her that I wasn't allowed to have guests, that the housesitting was a job and that I'd been entrusted with a great responsibility, not to mention a trust that I wouldn't violate.
Sure, it was all pure bullshit, but she bought it anyway. I told her I'd see her in a month and I hugged her and went to my room to pack up my stuff for the month.
The next day I made the right from Sunset to the PCH and made my way up the coast in an early morning mist. I found the house quite easily as it was the only post-modern Bauhaus/Tudor fusion on the whole PCH. As bizarre as it sounds, the combination of Tudor trim and gables with the contrast of a severe set of angles, steel, and glass was done in such a way as to be appealing. This was the house Frank Lloyd Wright would've designed if he'd been 1980's Hamburg Eurotrash amped up on rap and meth.
I knew the black Ferrari would look appropriate as I pulled it into the open garage. I shut off the motor and listened to the satisfying rumble end with a final note that I likened to a bull snorting with satisfaction. I hadn't even got out of the car when the garage door swung down on it's own with a ghostly silence. I'm used to those rolling metal doors that make all sorts of racket when they close and this was actually so quiet it was disturbing.
"Yes, it is quiet. A small fortune was spent having that door installed. It is solid steel, quite thick actually, and it rises and lowers on a magnetic track, thus the silence. Living next to the ocean at my back door and the PCH at my front door has made me appreciate quiet."
Waldo's monologue was timed well enough for me to recover from his scaring the shit out of me. I opened the cargo compartment on the front of the car and retrieved my bag before I followed him in. The atrium off of the garage was a Zen garden of neatly raked pebbles with a rock in the middle, the top of which featured a small bonsai garden. On it's own it was beautiful, but a Zen garden in this house just seemed unreal. Malibu is unreal, I thought. We entered through a pair of old brass doors like you'd find in an old bank and then on into the main room with a to-die-for view of the Pacific.
"My passion for silence flows into the house. You'll find the windows are quite thick to resist the storms and they also feature a layer of liquid quartz. You flick the switch here," he demonstrated, "and voila!"
The room was plunged into utter darkness. Where had been the Pacific Ocean was now a wall of purest ebony black. Instantly, the room was ablaze wth sunlight again.
"You could shoot someone to death in this house and no one would ever hear a thing outside." He turned to me with that devilish smile again. "Not that you would, just that you could."
The tour of the house was like getting the E-ticket at Disneyland. Every room featured things you'd never imagined in your wildest dreams and one of the rooms featured the things you'd never imagined in your wildest nightmares. Waldo was into some very kinky things and his 'playpen', as he called it, was evidence of the demons running around in his head. Happy people just don't have the kind of things I saw in that room. For all intents and purposes, it was a dungeon. Waldo made a few lewd comments as he showed me the various items in the room and then told me he liked to think of it more as a gym than anything else. He also pointed out that there was no phone in the house as he'd always used a cell phone for everything. A pay phone was down at the grocery if I needed it.
"You'll be alone, so don't be bashful about exploring in here, I really don't care if you do."
I was quietly relieved when he closed the door to the dungeon and we went on our way about the house. As we toured he told me about the grocery store nearby where he had an account and he invited me to enjoy myself as I saw fit. I would, I promised with a chuckle. The kitchen was magnificent and he eventually led me upstairs to the master bedroom with it's modest and tasteful decor which he said was to avoid distracting from the view. I appreciated that thought. I laid down my bag on the bed and he handed me the key and walked out the door without even saying goodbye. The unreality of the past twenty minutes was enough to make me think about the Scotch he showed me in the liquor closet. Not a cabinet, mind you, a closet.
And just like that, I was alone.
Amazing. Twenty-four hours ago I was driving a rust bucket and living in a ten metre square room and now here I was driving a Ferrari and about to spend a month living the dreams of Avarice. If you're a twenty-three year old girl who suddenly finds herself the mistress of a Malibu beach house what's the first thing you do? That's right, you go sit out on the patio in your best bikini and let the common folks stare at you from the beach with envy.
The patio was steel and glass just like most of the rest of the house and the glass afforded a clear view of the beach. It also afforded the beachgoers an unobstructed view of me. I like to think that I don't have any ego problems and I think I have a healthy self-image. That's my polite way of saying that I know I'm not hard to look at. Different people have told me that I resemble Natalie Portman, Audrey Hepburn (my fave compliment!), and one even told me I look like Kristen Kreuk. I like to think I'm just me and that's usually enough to make me happy.
This particular day was special and I pulled out all the stops. My very special Burberry string bikini came out and I tied it criss-cross to make the most of my 34C's. Heading downstairs I found the control for the windows and I just had to play with it for a while. Like a little kid I had the room dark, then light, then dark, and so on. The folks outside must've thought I was crazy. My curiousity served, I flicked it again to roll the heavy window open and then I strode out to the patio like I owned the place. There were some guys on the beach playing Frisbee and I made a point of distracting their game by leaning over the rail and hanging 'the girls' to their maximum effect. The Frisbee hit the sand. A couple of jaws nearly did, too.
My egotistical needs sated, I laid back on the chaise and sunned myself for a few minutes. I'd never done this before, but after a bit of an internal struggle with my modesty I undid my top and let it fall to the deck. I felt so racy. Just like a Malibu starlet. I could do anything. My skin being what my mom calls 'porcelain white' I really couldn't stay outside too long so when I felt the tingle of a burn coming on I packed it up and headed indoors for a shade break. Predictably, the boys on the beach strained to see me as I got up. I looked over my shoulder at them and then turned back to pick up my top. It was worth a little thrill to see their faces as they saw me in all my glory.
The heat was a little much and I touched the control to close the massive sliding window closed. Without even the slightest click, whirr, or whine the heavy glass slid along the track in the floor until it slipped into the frame on the other side of the patio. The noise of the surf and the people on the beach faded and fell silent as the widow closed, leaving me in a church-like silence. A strange chill went through me as I realized that it fit into the wall frame exactly the same way a prison door fits into its own frame.
The house was completely wired and Waldo had shown me the flat panel displays set into the wall of each room that gave control of temperature, sound, windows, and light and had given me basic instructions on how to use them. The graphical display clearly showed the temperature as 86F and I touched the on-screen numbers until they read 70F. A moment later a cool breeze began to blow throughout the house and 'the girls' came to attention. I hesitated about putting my top back on and elected to let it go for a while. I decided to go back and take the tour again.
I walked by a mirror and saw myself topless and complimented myself on how Continental I looked just now. The light blue bikini top with my dark hair and pale white skin just looked so perfect in the reflection. Then I chastised myself for being as bad as Waldo and kept walking. The liquor closet was something else. It was about three metres by ten metres with shelves and racks of various wines, champagnes, Scotches, bourbons, specialty liquors, and even some choice beers I'd never seen before. Getting a little exotic, I selected a bottle of Midori and an inappropriate brandy snifter (I wanted a big glass, see?) and poured myself a very generous helping of the chartreuse colored liquid. Smooth and sweet, the delectable inebriant tasted especially wonderful before lunch.
Properly braced, I continued my tour of the house, stopping back by the kitchen for a little plate of crackers and caviar to accompany my drink. Most civilized, I thought. I worked my way through the guest rooms and was heading to the dungeon when I felt a little cold. I'd left my top back in the kitchen and I was missing it right about now with a chill on in the house. I pondered going back to get it, but then decided to live to excess. The door to the dungeon was quite heavy and there was an odd resistance as I swung it open. Just another freaky feature of the house, I figured. Stepping inside I touched the wall panel and the lights came on, illuminating the strange room. I touched it again and set the house temperature up to a more comfortable 74F before I gave into my curiousity and explored the room.
I need to stop here and let you know what my first impression of the room was when Waldo revealed it to me earlier: black leather, chrome, and chains. My bare feet told me of the ceramic tile floor and I deduced there was, and found, a series of small grated drains set into the floor. I didn't want to know why there were drains in the room, but from the looks of things I could see that it had been washed spotless. A stainless steel door set into the tiled wall opened and revealed a coiled hose with both hot and cold handles on the spigot.
As it turned out, there were a few of the stainless steel doors set into the wall, some in the floor, and some in the ceiling and the ones I could open all held something different. One had a wide (and I do mean wide!) selection of 'toys', another held a flat panel display for various 'workstations' about the room, and yet another held a collection of manacles, collars, handcuffs, shackles, and things that were hybrid combinations of all of that. I wasn't exactly sure just what some of those things were they were so strange. I shuddered to imagine what goings on these items had been party to in the past and I imagined them possessing an aura of the events they'd been involved in.
Now I turned to the workstations and gave myself to trying to decipher how a body fit into them and what, exactly, was meant to be accomplished once a body was fitted into them. One of them was sort of a complex thing with a suspended chair and stirrups and weights and pulleys and boxes. I looked it over for a while to see if I could fathom its purpose and I finally gave up and moved on. The next workstation was a padded chair like a dentist would have except with hinged metal belts for securing ones' neck, hands, waist, and ankles. The metal belts appeared to be mechanically operated but I was unable to find any swtich for it. It was also the only workstation with a large drain right underneath it and, in comparison to the rest of the room, it really wasn't remarkable at all. Then there was a sort of vaulting horse complete with a saddle and the only odd thing about it was a funny stainless steel plate set into the saddle. The vaulting horse also had stirrups of a sort, but they were odd looking things, each of them a kind of slipper lined with soft fleece. Another had a more evident purpose, resembling the exam table at my gyno doctor's. Except my gyno doctor didn't have self-locking restraints on her exam table. Interesting.
There were a few places along the wall that were equipped with odd devices that were clearly meant to secure a person in a most uncomfortable position and, again, I shuddered with the thought of what uses they'd been put to in the past.
My modesty welled up on me in this disturbing room and I found myself tying my top back on as I walked out and went to close the door. For some reason, the door wasn't going to move. It was as if it suddenly just froze in place. I tried it a couple more times and finally said, "What-ever!" and headed back out to the patio. This time I left the boys alone and just enjoyed another twenty minutes in the sun before I went in for the day.
There was a thick, plush robe in the bathroom and I helped myself to it, cinching it around my waist. A studied glance out the window at the breathtaking view, and then I made my way to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I soon had the comforting sounds of perking coffee to keep me company and that was when I saw a door off the kitchen that Waldo hadn't shown me. I padded over and turned the knob and found a handsomely decorated library. There was a dark, hard wood desk, two red leather chairs, and a collection of large books. I drew one of the books from the bookshelf and opened it to find some very intense pictures of women being tortured and apparently raped. I placed the book back where it belonged and opened another. Then another. And another. They were all the same. Except for the one shelf that had several books about behavior modification, psychology, and then a Physicians' Desk Reference on pharmacopaeia. I wondered what was up with all the books about women when Waldo was gay? What was his deal anyway? Was he a flunked out doctor or shrink? I guessed it really didn't matter as long as I got paid at the end of the month.
I sat down in the chair at the desk and got nosy and slid out a drawer to reveal a keyboard and a trackball mouse. I merely tapped the mouse wondering where the computer was when the desktop slowly flipped back and a familiar flat panel display came up and lit as the hidden PC booted up. The computer must've been a good one as it was up and ready in less than a minute. The usual desktop icons were displayed and then there were a few others that bore some exploring.