The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates.
(© 2019 by the author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's
consent. Comments are appreciated at...
As told by David Benson
I’d often heard the expression ‘hooker’ but did not have a handle on what the term actually meant until the afternoon I caught my first sight of Cal Tsaoussis. I was dozing at the hotel poolside when he sauntered in and stopped a few loungers away from me. With my open book lying face down on my chest, my reading glasses perched on the end of my nose, I watched this young Adonis slowly disrobe through half closed drowsy eyes. I had to smile when it became obvious he was well aware he was being watched by every female at poolside and probably some of the older envious males as well. It was then this thought crossed my mind . . . ‘When you got it, baby . . . flaunt it’. And he was flaunting it but in a very careful, measured way. He was probably a professional ladies-man and knew exactly what he was doing.
I was looking for the word that described these guys when it popped into my head – gigolo. He was a gigolo. It’s kind of a glamourous name when you think about it – gigolo. A woman is called a prostitute or a whore or a slut, but when a guy takes on this profession, he’s called a gigolo. I wondered if he serviced men as well as women. I had to laugh at the way my mind wandered around and through this poor chap’s persona. He was probably someone entirely different than the way I was characterizing him. Oh, well. To each his own.
I was about to resume my snooze when he turned slowly and our eyes met. I had been staring, so I assumed he was curious about who was doing it. He just stood still and stared through those vivid, piercing blue eyes of his. I didn’t flinch . . . I just kept looking at him, wondering what he was up to. I began counting to myself . . . one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi, four-Mississippi, five . . . he smiled and looked away. He should have, in my estimation, looked away at the end of two-Mississippi, but he didn’t . . . I wondered what was going through his mind during ‘three-Mississippi, four-Mississippi, five’.
He finished undressing and walked slowly to the pool’s edge, his hips pivoting with each step, accentuating his slender well-muscled torso; his arms swinging naturally. He stopped at the edge of the pool, paused, took a deep breath and dove into the water, surfacing in full, powerful swim mode to the other end of the pool. No question about it, he made a calculated splash in more ways than one as the many eyes followed each of his strokes.
I guesstimated this well-nourished Greek lad, bursting with testosterone, was in his carefree mid-twenties, too tall, and far too handsome for his own good. The light matting of black chest hair tapered below his rib cage and trailed off across his naval, disappearing beneath his swim suit which draped casually over his manhood and firm buttocks. I never had a body like that when I was his age, and wondered how he managed it. I decided he came from a good gene pool which gifted him with such an appearance. For some reason, I thought about his business card and what it might look like. I chuckled when I envisioned it with a photo of him stretched across the top of the card, nude with a puppy hiding his privates, and below that an inscription that read: FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL: 1-800-FOR-LOVE.
The Sun was on the verge of waning as I gathered my belongings and headed for my room to dress for dinner. I wondered if he was just visiting or open for business. It really didn’t matter. I had been happily married for twenty-two years. Even though Brian had passed away over a year ago, I still felt very much married and was not inclined to dally. I’d thought about it but the effort didn’t seem worth it.
Interestingly enough, I felt Brian remained close to me after he passed – almost in a protective way. I became aware of his presence in small subtle ways which I chalked up to a vivid imagination at first. My misplaced reading glasses would appear where I probably had left them. But when my toothbrush found its way back into its holder once too often, my suspicions were aroused.
I knew for an almost certainty he was still around the day my selection of a tie I laid on the bed with my shirt and trousers, mysteriously became another selection. I had to laugh. My taste in fashion was deplorable. Brian would undress and redress me whenever we went out for dinner. I’d let him do it because his taste was impeccable and it provided those intimate moments only a couple can appreciate. It sounds silly, but I loved having him dress me. It was probably one of the things I missed most about him. So, when the tie thing happened, I knew he was hanging around for some reason. But why?
The hotel dining room was particularly busy when I entered. The maître d’ seated me at what appeared to be the last empty table. As I waited to have my order taken, I noticed my poolside friend standing at the entrance, waiting to be seated. The maître d’ spoke with him and left him standing – waiting. The waiter arrived and took my order. As he was about to leave, I whispered to him and pointed to the young man waiting at the entrance. The waiter nodded and approached the maître d’ who nodded and approached the young man, then turned in my direction. I raised my hand in acknowledgement. The young man said something and was lead to my table.
“I hope you don’t mind?”
“Of course not. There’s plenty of room, and I dislike dining alone, so your company is appreciated.”
“Thank you. My name is Cal.”
“I’m David Benson.”
“Seems unusually crowded.”
“Probably a convention or some such. There’s a golf course near here. I think I saw some kind of announcement on their marquee as I drove by this morning.”
“Yeah, I saw that sign. You’re probably right.”
During our meal, Cal turned out to be an intelligent, well versed conversationalist which made dining with him a pleasure. But it also confirmed my suspicion he was a professional gigolo well versed in the art of conversation with a prospective client. He was a little too interested in who I was and what I was doing at the hotel. I suppose it would have been kinder to simply tell him I wasn’t interested which may have been awkward – for me. Instead, I chose to be somewhat evasive in answering his questions; I was enjoying the attention, misplaced as it was.
We had a leisurely dessert and coffee after which I surprised the young man when I directed the waiter to place both of our meals on my hotel tab. Cal dutifully objected but left off when I raised my hand slightly.
“No, please. You saved me from a lonely meal. Thank you.”
He smiled and said nothing more but I did notice his reluctance to end our encounter as we left the dining room. As we were about to part, he turned to me and said. “Thank you, Brian. I enjoyed this very much.”
I almost stopped dead in my tracks when I heard him address me as Brian, but decided to let it pass as a simple misunderstanding on his part. He probably got my name mixed up with one of his other clients.
“Are you staying here for very long?” Another of his inquiring questions.
“Just a few more days. Then I’m heading home.”
“Oh, good. Maybe we’ll see each other again.”
“I hope so. Good night, Cal.”
“Night.” And off he went – while the name he had called me continued to ring in my ears. Where in the world did the name Brian come from? I wondered if Brian was whispering in his ear while we were having dinner. It would be just like him to do something like that. I laughed out loud when the idea that Brian may be trying to line this kid up to take his place. Did he realize Cal was a hooker and would not be interested in more than a one night stand and, of course, the additional cash that would line his pocket – certainly not a life-long commitment?
I got into the elevator and pressed the third floor button on the flight panel. The elevator doors began to close as I turned around and caught a glimpse of my gigolo friend embracing an elderly woman in the lobby – probably his trick for the evening. I pinched my lips as a pang of melancholy surfaced, along with a little envy.
I retired to my room and smiled myself to sleep over the events of the day. But, in all honesty, I acknowledged a slight movement in my hormones over this Greek Adonis. There was even a fleeting thought of worshiping his beautiful body in the privacy of my bed. I groaned at the stupidity of the thought and chastised Brian if that’s what he had in mind; I fell asleep with a smile on my face and woke the following day with the same smile and some very naughty thoughts I had been dreaming.
I spent the day with my younger sister, Janice, her husband, Bruce, and their two beautiful twin youngsters. It was a good day to get acquainted with them once again; they were growing so fast. After dinner, while Bruce was putting the kids to bed, Janice cozied up to me on the sofa. “So, David, what are you going to do with the rest of your life now that Brian is gone?”
I had to laugh, and then told her of the strange things that were happening with the reading glasses, the toothbrush, and especially the tie.
“Are you trying to tell me he’s still here?”
“Sure looks that way, sweetie. They can’t all be coincidences.” Then I told her about Cal.
“Oh, my God. A call boy?”
“I think it’s perfect.”
“It’s just what you need to keep from becoming an old fogy.”
“Janice, what the hell are you talking about?”
“Maybe this Cal, or whatever his name is, is looking for a daddy…”
“…wait a cotton pickin’ minute . . . I’m no daddy.”
“David . . . what are you . . . forty-three . . . forty-four?”
“Janice . . . I’m forty-two.”
“You’re still good looking . . . could lose a few pounds. You’re smart and dependable…”
“… Jan, where is all this coming from?”
“Hey, I’m a college grad and know what’s going on out there. Why don’t you invite him to dinner before you head for home?”
“What? I can’t believe you just said that.”
“Will you do it? Please.”
“I . . . ”
“…it’s only dinner, not a lifelong commitment. I care about you, David, and don’t want you to be lonely.”
“I’m not lonely.”
“Yes, you are. Living all alone in that big empty house.”
She was right, not that I’d admit it to her. “Well, maybe.”
“So, you’re going to invite him.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Okay, I’ll invite him.”
“Good. If he refuses, he refuses. If not . . . well, he’ll learn a little about you. It will give me a chance to critique him.”
Critique him? She’d probably eat him alive. I had to laugh at the unexpected side of my sister I never knew existed; I kind of liked the idea. “What are we having for dinner?”
“Oh, good. I don’t know. What would you like?”
“How about that Mexican dish thing you do that I love?”
“Sure. When will you see him again?”
“Maybe tomorrow at the pool.”
“Call me one way or the other. I have all of the ingredients.”
What was happening didn’t register until I got back to the hotel and was walking through the lobby. “David.” I looked in all directions but didn’t see anyone I recognized. When I heard it again, I looked up. Cal was in the mezzanine, smiling over the balcony railing.
“Will you be at the pool tomorrow?”
“Probably . . . yes, I’ll be there.”
“Good. See you then.”
“Okay.” He disappeared and I went to my room . . . reeling slightly from what was unfolding before my very eyes. I got the distinct feeling I was being set up – with Brian’s help probably.
I had to laugh when I began having a quiet conversation with him, “Brian? Are you there? Playing cupid with me as the prize? You are a devil.” I smiled and had the eeriest feeling he was closer than ever . . . still undressing and dressing me and loving me as usual.
I arrived at poolside around ten the next morning and settled in before I surveyed the attendees. Cal was not there. About ten minutes later I heard his voice coming up behind me. “Morning, David.”
I looked up as he came around my lounger and threw his towel on the one next to mine. “Good morning, Cal.”
He turned and smiled. “Be right back.”
He was clad in swim suit far more provocative then the one he wore the other day. For my benefit I wondered. They were snug and black with the front cut in such a way that did not restrict his manhood; and the back had a seam up the back which separated and accentuated his buttocks. His swagger seemed jauntier as he accelerated himself into the pool.
When my heart skipped a beat, I began to wonder what I was doing by encouraging him, by even talking to him. Janice’s words seemed to exaggerate my plight. Becoming involved with someone like this was not characteristic of me. Besides, I was too old for this post teeny-bopper. Any personal attention I might achieve with him would be motivated by the prospect of cash out of my pocket and into his. I cringed at the thought of even considering negotiating a cash deal for his attention . . . never. I was suddenly angry with myself, and Janice; and Brian if he was behind this in any way.
Before Cal finished swimming, I quickly gathered my belongings and left poolside. As I approached the entrance to the hotel, I heard running steps behind me. “David?”
I turned as Cal ran up to me. “You forgot this.” He held out my room key.
“Oh, thank you.”
“Are you coming back?”
“No, not today.” He said nothing as I turned and entered the hotel. I wondered if he thought I’d left the key behind so he could follow me to my room for a hook-up. Oh, God. I hope not. I stopped by the front desk and informed them I would be leaving early and would they please have my bill ready.
When I arrived at my room, I called Janice and told her of my change in plans. “I’ll stop by for lunch before heading home, if that’s okay.”
“Yes, of course. The kids are in school and Bruce is at work so we’ll have a chance to talk. I take it you didn’t see your friend about coming to dinner.”
“No, I haven’t seen him. I’ll be at your place about one.”
“Okay, see you then.”
I showered, packed my bag and headed for the front desk. As I exited the elevator, I saw Cal from the corner of my eye sitting on one of the lobby sofas. I asked the front desk clerk if he recognized the young man sitting in the lobby.
“Yes, that’s Cal Tsaoussis.”
“You know him?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Is he a guest here?”
He smiled. “No, sir. He isn’t. Here’s your bill.”
“Wait a minute. What’s this?” I pointed to the word COMPED stamped on the bill.
“Yes, sir. It’s been comped.”
“What does that mean?”
“There will be no charge. Your stay is complimentary.”
“I don’t understand?”
“You’ll need to ask Mr. Tsaoussis. He comped it.”
“Who is he?”
“He owns the hotel.”
“Here he comes. You might ask him.”
I turned as Cal approached the front desk. “I’m sorry you’re leaving, David. I hope everything is okay.”
“Yes, everything is fine. Just a change in plans.” I couldn’t help but wonder who I was talking to.
“May I walk you to your car?” He picked up my bag and began walking away.
“No, you may not walk me to my car. What you can do is tell me what the hell is going on.”
“David, you’re angry. Not with me I hope. Were any of our employees out of line?”
“Your employees . . . out of line? No. Of course not.” I felt like asking him for his business card to make sure he was on the up and up.
“Then what is it?”
“I thought you were . . .”
“Thought I was what?”
I looked into his beautiful face and realized he didn’t have a clue about what I was going to say. “I thought you were . . . a hooker.”
“You know . . . a call boy.”
He backed up with the most astonished look on his face and dropped my bag.
“I’m sorry, Cal. I made a terrible mistake. Please forgive me. I have to go.” I stepped forward to retrieve my bag; he stepped in front of it.
“Wait a minute. Is that the reason you’re leaving?”
“Well . . . yes. Please, my suitcase.”
“Who the hell is Brian?”
“Brian. I keep hearing that name.”
“Whenever you’re around. Does that name mean anything to you?”
“Yes, it does.”
“I was . . . married to Brian; he passed away a year ago.”
“Oh, my God.” He stepped backward and stumbled over my suitcase. “You were married to him?”
“And now I’m hearing his name? I’m confused.”
“You’re confused? Try standing in my socks. You wouldn’t believe some of the other things that have been happening to me.
I explained about the toothbrush and the tie thing.
Then he added, “And the key.”
“When I got out of the pool, I heard someone say you forgot your key. It was under the lounger.”
“Oh, shit. He’s talking to you.”
“Well, someone is? And who is Janice?”
“And Mexican dish. What does that mean?”
“Can we sit down . . . I need to catch my breath.”
“Good idea.” He picked up my bag and moved to the lounging area of the lobby. I explained everything to him about Janice and the invitation to her home and a Mexican dinner with all the trimmings.
“Is she a good cook?”
“Yes, of course . . . I don’t know. Why?”
“Is the invitation still open?”
“What? . . . You mean you’re not pissed at me?”
“Thinking you were a gigolo.”
“Hell, no. It’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten.”
“Jesus.” I shook my head and stared at him in utter confusion. Then I asked him a question I promised myself I would never ask. “Who was the elderly woman I saw you with after dinner the other night?”
“Elderly woman? Oh, that was my mother. She and Dad were meeting some friends. Why?”
“Oh, nothing. Just curious.” He was oblivious to my reason for asking, thank God.
“So, what about the dinner invitation?”
“You mean you’re interested?”
“Yeah, sounds like fun . . . but you’re leaving.”
“Well . . . I don’t have to.”
“Excuse me a minute.” Cal went to the front desk and was smiling when he returned. “Here’s your key.”
“I guess I’m not leaving. I better call Janice.”
He grinned at my awkward explanation over the phone to my amused sister. When I disconnected, his expression changed. “Where did the idea I was a gigolo come from?”
“I don’t know, Cal. I was half asleep when you showed up the other day at the pool . . . the way you undressed in front of me . . . your face, your body . . . I’m so embarrassed. I guess I’m lonelier than I thought I was and came to the wrong conclusion and felt I was cheating on Brian. That’s the reason I was leaving. I really am sorry.”
“David . . . I’m thirty-three.”
“You are?” I could not have been more surprised. “You look like you’re in your mid-twenties.”
“I’m not. How old are you?”
“Forty-two, going on Ninety-nine . . . make that a hundred and ten.”
“How long were you married?”
“Was it a good marriage?”
“Cal, it was the best.”
“I’ve never been married.”
“I’m sorry, but surprised. I should think someone would have snapped you up long ago.”
“That’s a bigger problem than you think.”
“People come at me for what I look like, not because of what’s between my ears . . . and what I own.”
“What you own? What do you own?”
“I breed horses. I have a ranch nearby.”
“Your desk clerk intimated you own the hotel.”
“My dad does. I have privileges.” He smiled devilishly.
“Like comping stranger’s bills.”
“You’re not a stranger . . . not anymore. Your Brian has been whispering all sorts of things in my ear about you.”
“Like what, for instance.”
“Well . . . he told me you’re an upstanding fellow.”
“And . . .?”
“Something about your taste in clothing. I’m not quite sure what he meant by that?”
“Do you know?”
“Yes, I know and I’m not going to tell you. I find it very strange that he’s talking to you and not to me.”
“Sorry. Can’t help you there.”
“Anything else . . . I hate to ask.”
“Well . . .”
“He said . . . you’re not doing so well being single. He thinks you’d be better off married.”
“I don’t think I can handle any more of this. Let me get rid of my bag and we’ll go to Janice’s for that Mexican dinner.”
“Sounds good. I’ll wait here.”
During the trip to my room, I had this running conversation with Brian without any response from him. All I had was this feeling he was right beside me with his arm over my shoulder which was beginning to piss me off.
Cal and I said little while I drove to the Mexican dinner awaiting us. Once inside the door, however, Janice was all over him, leaving me at odds with Bruce and the kids. I could hear their conversation until they went into the kitchen. It was their laughter that unsettled me. Janice was undoubtedly doing a tell-all of our growing up together.
Dinner was served and the conversation was animated mostly from Cal, encouraged by Janice’s never ending questions. He was well educated, single, well-traveled, single, his hobby of raising horses, single, he spoke several languages, and . . . he was single. I thought I’d scream if I heard one more comment about him being single. I had a good mind to kick Janice under the table so she would shut up but she was too far away – by design; she knows me too well.
It was late when Cal and I made our departure. Half way back to the hotel, he said, “That Mexican dinner was great.”
It was obvious he only said it to break the silence. Then I heard it clear as day, Brian was yelling at me, “NOW, YOU IDIOT. DO IT NOW.” It would be the last time Brian spoke to either one of us.
I pulled over, stopped the car, turned to Cal, and stepped off the cliff. “Stay with me tonight.”
He sat up as his face lit up, then he whispered, “Yes.” He leaned forward and gently kissed me on the lips.
I asked, “Are you sure?”
“I thought about it the first time I laid eyes on you . . . snoozing by the pool.”
“I hope you don’t have daddy issues.”
“Nope. Not a one. I know enough about you now. We’ll make a good fit.”
“The age difference?”
“Just a number . . . isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I suppose so . . . “
With that crooked smile of his, he ventured, “What if I had said no?”
“I’d have dumped you and made you walk back to the hotel.”
He began to chuckle. “Glad I said yes.”
“Me too . . . did you hear him?”
He began to laugh, “Yes I did . . . screaming to do it. I wasn’t sure what he meant.”
“I was.” I released the brake and continued driving. “You realize Brian and Janice corralled you into this.”
“Maybe. But I don’t think so. I know they both care about you a great deal. That counts for a lot. And besides . . .”
“I needed some corralling. I’m really very shy and would probably have let you leave the hotel. It was only because of those whispers from Brian that encouraged me to stop you.”
I grabbed his hand and squeezed it as I stepped on the gas. We hurried into the hotel and had to ride the elevator with two hotel guests which, for some reason, struck me funny. I had all I could do to keep from giggling. I was on my way to have sex with this beautiful creature.
I was so excited and overwhelmed, together with the fact I hadn’t been with anyone other than Brian for over two decades, I was horrified when I was unable to perform, hard as I tried. Cal threw his arms around me and shut me up when I began to apologize. He kissed my ear, then whispered, “Hey, we’ll be okay . . . when you learn to relax.”
I sighed. “Okay.” He was so caring that first night, I fell in love without a second thought. With Brian’s blessing, how could I not.
I spent a few more days – at Cal’s ranch – we got to know each other, his horses, and the kind of life he leads. The distance between my home and the ranch became an issue which we quickly worked out. After a few months of traveling back and forth, I would take up residence in the guest house of the ranch. We’d let our future unfold from there.
I never quite convinced him that too much too soon might prove to be a problem until I explained I needed a little bit of time to let go of my long relationship with Brian. He acquiesced and we moved forward in a very positive way. Within a few months I was on my way to becoming an accomplished horseman under his personalized tutelage which included making love any number of times in the hayloft above his horses, fulfilling one of my fantasies about worshiping his body. No words can fully describe that experience.
We were out riding one beautiful fall afternoon about a year later when I quietly asked him if he’d like to get married – I was ready. He stared straight ahead and played the moment which he knew would drive me crazy. Finally, he said with a perky tone, “Okay” and then lovingly looked at me and added, “I thought you’d never ask.”
A foal was born a few days before we took our vows. We nicknamed this Arabian black beauty, Baby, whose registered name is, Bashir (ba-sheer – bearer of good news).
And so, we tied the knot in the stable area surrounded by horses, including Bashir and his mom, along with friends and family. It could not have been more perfect. A horse shoe cake showed up – compliments of Janice, along with several gallons of apple juice for toasting.
We were about ready to mount our horses and ride out for a few hours alone as a married couple when Cal bumped into me and whispered, “We forgot a toast.”
I looked at him.
We laughed and gave a final toast to our loving ghost – wherever he may be.