College of the Canyons is a relatively nice community college in Santa Clarita, just a few kilometers 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 house-sitting 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.