Felix LaPierre lowered his first edition paperback of You Only Live Twice for a moment to take a swig of his vodka cran—cleverly concealed in an official West Coast Hotel children’s sippy cup—and check the sun’s position on the ocean-lined horizon. LaPierre, the hotel’s official “Poolside Attendant,” never took his dinners at any specific time, but merely waited until the sun set over the Pacific to feast upon his nightly meal of tuna fish on whole wheat, clam chowder, and a Roy Rogers with a nip of Malibu. He figured it’d be another ten minutes until sunset ended, just enough time to make the rounds. Felix snatched the Ray Ban aviators hanging from the pooka shells strung tightly around his neck and turned the sun-specs around to use as a mirror. His name tag was slightly crooked on his tight navy blue polo shirt with the popped collar. Also, the back of his of his perfectly coiffed coffee-brown side part was a bit cowlicked and the first few strands of the front wave had fallen into a boyish “last son of Krypton” curl. He adjusted the badge (his Top Gun “wings” as he liked to call them), and pulled a small black comb from the back pocket of his straight-leg Banana Republic Chinos to discipline his uncooperative hairdo. After combing out the cowlick, Felix found he didn’t have the heart to lose the Ka-El curl. It was alright, he assured himself,he was feeling smooth enough to pull it off. LaPierre replaced the comb and slid the shades back over his steely blue eyes.
He walked from his umbrella covered towel station and began to saunter across the largely abandoned pool-deck. From the haughty spring in his steps, you’d think the little shit owned the place. And you’d be about right. In his small kingdom, the pool boy reigned supreme.
Felix surveyed his realm. A couple sugared up kids and a fat retarded guy in a wet t-shirt splashed around in the piss-filled kiddy pool, two elderly ladies were eating sandwiches at a patio table and playing bridge, and a young couple engaged in heavy drinking and light petting in the hot tub. Over the pool bar stereo the Pina Colada Song serenaded the Jennings girls—a bikini-clad early middle-aged upper middle-class fake-tittied mother you’d like to fuck and her two jail bait twin daughters. LaPierre played through endless variations of fuck/kill/marry in his mind as the three ladies simultaneously cooed “Hi Felix!”
“Hello Mrs. Jennings, hi Jenna, hi Jamie,” he replied as he walked by, his face wide with a self-satisfied beam. His little stroll reached the end when he found himself at the uninhabited far corner of the deck. He leaned over the metal railing and took in the view. To his right, a long line of Hollywood bungalow inspired multimillion dollar oceanside homes dotted the edge of West Cliff drive. He watched a few towering waves crash against the rocky cliffside, managing to spot a couple of courageous surfers still braving the increasingly rowdy waters. To the left the sparkling lights of the Boardwalk illuminated California’s oldest surviving seaside rollercoaster, the Giant Dipper—the reassuring sound of gleeful screams occasionally rising above the soft murmur of the Pacific. And in the center of his view was a moderate stretch of beach, with a golden yoke of sun frying into the waters beyond. The West Coast might not be the best hotel in California, but it certainly had the best view. He shook the ice at the bottom of his sippy cup and decided to work his way over to the bar for a repair. If this was work, Felix thought, he couldn’t imagine what a vacation was.
The West Coast Hotel Pool Bar was a palm tree leaf decorated cramped Cabana hutch towards the entrance of the deck. The back was lined with a limited but serviceable array of spirits, a margarita mixer, a smoothie dispenser for the kids, and two draft beers. It was flanked by two stereo speakers, and a large green umbrella covered the space directly in front of it. The barkeep, Trevor Murdoch, had a dour purse to his lips. Felix could immediately tell he had blended one too many margaritas that day. And the stuffed-to-the-brim tip jar didn’t seem to cheer him up any. Trevor wore roughly the same uniform as Felix—navy blue polo and name tag, but he rocked the khaki shorts with rolled up white socks and Vans as opposed to Felix’s brown dress socks and loafers. And the two young men couldn’t have carried themselves any differently. Felix LaPierre was a surbanite through and through, a high school band geek turned college music major. Trevor Murdoch had never been handed a thing in his life, and despite that he was usually one of the more genial guys you could hope to burn a bowl with.
“Hey barkeep,” Felix called out, “what’s wrong? Accidentally smoke your last cigarette with your asshole instead of your mouth?”
“I donno, you were the last one to take a peek down there you fucking fagel bite,” replied Murdoch, finally cracking a smile at his own retort. “I’m just tired bro. Met up with my ex-girlfriend last night.”
“Yeah, she comes over and tells me what an asshole I am for about two hours, and I’m like ‘well sorry you feel that way but I don’t give a fuck.’ So then I rally her until almost three in the morning and while she’s screaming my name at the top of her lungs I stick it in her ass.”
LaPierre cringed a bit. That was certainly much more information than he bargained for.
“I felt pretty bad this morning though,” Murdoch continued.
“You felt bad?” intoned Felix, “Think of that poor girl’s asshole.”
Trevor chuckled a bit, and spotted his cohort’s empty sippy cup. “You need a refill my friend?”
Felix reconsidered his earlier decision to keep drinking. Trevor’s little story had left a sour taste in his mouth. He didn’t feel comfortable being associated with those kinds of sexual escapades. Felix was a fundamentally insecure young man, who combated these feelings by being the biggest flirt he possibly could. He had therefore unfairly garnered a huge reputation as a terrible sleazebag of a ladies man.
‘You wink at a couple of cocktail waitresses and propose marriage to the brunette cuteheart at the front desk and you get labeled as the goddamned Trickster of Seville!’ he often mused. But that was far from the truth, Felix never really had the will to go through with any of it. When Case Dexter—his best friend and manager of the West Coast’s food and beverage department—had got him the job at the beginning of the summer he had created the “pool boy” character to make his rather boring position a little more interesting. The walk and talk of the pool boy was not his own, but a kind of combination of all his favorite childhood heroes. He had Indiana Jones’ smirk, James Bond’s debonair posture, and Han Solo’s witty idiom. And when he had to jog across the pool deck to handle emergency situations, he was the very spirit of young Captain James T. Kirk. And like an actor who always gets type cast as the same character, people began to believe that was who he really was. Sometimes when he wasn’t careful, he even started to believe it himself.
Felix’s mother had raised him on Roger’s and Hammerstein and his father had raised him on Ian Fleming. Young Mr. LaPierre therefore had rather conflicting ideas about romance. One moment he was told that love was singing in the rain, the next he was informed that love was drinking a couple of martinis and slapping a girl around until she’d let you fuck her. This is a lot for a young kid to sort out. And even though he wasn’t sure how to express it, Felix LaPierre knew he was looking for true love. And he couldn’t have found a worse place to look for it than the West Coast Hotel.
Felix shook away his wandering thoughts and returned to the world of the living. “Naw, I don’t need any more to drink today. Where’s Kelly at?”
“Uh, she ran to the kitchen to grab one last food order.”
“Man, Felix some of the shit that girl says to me.”
“Yesterday when you were off and Peaches was running the pool me and Kelly rolled up to the roof to smoke a cig. She was saying weird shit. I think we’re gonna bone dude.”
“Oh c’mon,” Felix replied incredulously. “She’s getting married on this very pool deck come August first. You lost your shot buddy.”
“Yeah, well…the best one’s are always taken I guess,” Trevor mused.
“And that certainly don’t include us,” added Felix.
The boys gave each other a melancholy laugh and a low five right as Kelly glided down the stairs from the hallway to the pool deck with a tray of burgers and chicken strips balanced squarely on one hand. She was a well-built young woman with the kind of bounce in her walk and sway in her pony tail that made the men hand over the tips like pool waitresses were going out of style. Because oh man, after a few Jack and Coke’s that name tag started to read “Tits McGee.”
“Hey boys,” she said while dashing by.
The boys smiled and replied in unison, “Hey Kelly.”
“Well,” started Felix, “I guess we’ll have plenty of time to talk about it tomorrow morning.”
“No can do amigo,” replied Trevor, “I’m off tomorrow.”
“Shit. Who’s working your shift?”
“New guy. From Hawaii I think. Dexter said his name was Himeni or something.”
‘Great,’ thought Felix, ‘some new shit who had no clue about the silent code of the pool: that what happens on the deck, stays on the deck.’
Just then the pool bar mix CD changed tracks to the Hawaii Five-O theme song, and Felix knew exactly what that meant.
“LAST CALL!” bellowed Trevor.
As Murdoch started to pack out his garnish and wipe down the bar, he pulled a ten-spot from his jar and handed it to Felix. “For serving my drinks to Ms. Thang and her two little kittens all day,” Trevor informed him.
Felix, pushed away the bill. “Naw naw naw, you don’t need to tip me out. Mama Jennings already slipped a Jackson in my back pocket and told me I looked like Matt Dillon for the forty-second time when I opened the gate for her this morning.”
Trevor refused to yield.
“Alright, alright,” Felix conceded. “But I owe you a bowl.”
“Agreed,” said Trevor with a grin.
Just as Felix turned from the bar to make his way indoors he noticed the kiddy pool had been abandoned and there was a rather grotesque looking brown turd floating at the surface. He didn’t even glance over to the pool skimmer. There was no way he’d be caught dead scooping shit in front of three ladies of quality like the Jennings girls. He sighed and briskly made his way over to the pool phone and waited for the front desk to pick up.
“Front desk?” inquired an affectedly friendly voice.
“Yeah, this is the pool boy. Would you send down maintenance? We’ve got a floater.”
“That’s right, some kid shit in the pool.”