The Pool Boy’s Beatitude
by DJ Swykert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Jack Joseph understands physics. He understands the nature of quarks, leptons, dark matter and the desire to find the God particle. What Jack doesn’t understand is Jack. He has a Masters degree in particle physics, an ex-wife, a sugar mama into spanking, a passion for cooking and chronic dependencies he needs to feed. He cleans pools to maintain this chaotic lifestyle. Spinning about in a Large Hadron Collider of his own making, facing a jail term, the particle known as Jack is about to collide with a particle known as Sarah. The Pool Boy’s Beatitude convincingly portrays a life of romance, addiction, and entropy, filled with the temptations of drink, drugs, and sex, broken with the miseries of ruined relationships, and balanced on the needle of false hope. Somehow through it, all the story is hopeful, positive, humorous and oddly enticing. The question is not so much will Jack survive as how will he survive, because surely, behind all this science, there has to be a truth worth living for. A thinking readers’ romance novel, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude creates a character you long to hate and makes you love him.
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I stepped inside and Rosemary flipped the door shut. As I turned around I found myself being embraced. I could smell the Amaretto on her breath, her favorite drink. She probably hadn’t been up long but I’m guessing was already into a second glass. Rosemary was a very comely forty plus woman, age and brassiere size being an approximate match. She leaned further into my face and I added the taste of the Amaretto to my sensual perceptions as she kissed me, with tongue. “I’ve been thinking about you all morning,” she said.
“You haven’t been up all morning.”
“Okay, so it was late morning, maybe afternoon,” Rosemary said, without slipping out of the embrace. “But I am glad to see you, and I have been thinking about you since I got up.
“I’m going to need you to open the gate,” I said, not sure, even with my liquid lunch settled in my stomach, if I was quite ready for a bout with Rosemary.
“It’s early afternoon, Ben won’t be home for hours.”
“I don’t need Ben to help me with the pool.”
I smirked. “Yeah, I am.”
“Do you love me?”
I scrunched up my nose and without angst told her, “Love is for your husband, lust is for us. And don’t think lust can’t be a thing of beauty, because it can be. It can be better than love. You love your children, your grandchildren, your dog, the cat, your husband, your house, but you lust for me and I lust for you. And truthfully, I’d much rather have your lust than your love, it’s a lot more fun.”
Rosemary let go of me and stepped back an inch or two. “You mean you don’t love me? Not even a little? I know you feel something for me. You keep coming back to me. And I know how I feel about you. Couldn’t this be love?”
I smirked. “It could be, if there is such a thing.”
“I believe in love. I don’t want to just get off,” she said. But then gave me a sly smile and winked. “But I do want to get off, too, and bad, very bad.”
Here I was again, standing at the threshold. I could step forward into the pleasure that surely I would feel with Rosemary. She was attractive and energetic. If sex was an Olympic event she’d have a trophy case full of gold medals. I’ve already broken one promise today, my liquid lunch with Jim at the Frog Lounge. One part of me said, you didn’t promise her you’d be faithful, just straight, and you’ve already broken that promise, what’s one more? On the other hand, just because I made one tiny slip doesn’t mean I should jump face first into a black hole of broken promises.
I was taught I have free will. I was born not by my own choosing, but by another’s. I am issued the qualities of my being, my looks, physicality and brains, by someone the church said lives beyond the clouds. I am not a being of my own choosing, but am free to make choices for myself. I choose to believe life has but one outcome, eternal dark; nothingness, you can’t bring anything of this life into the next life because there isn’t one. This fatalism makes me invincible, indestructible, as there is nothing to fear in life as it is only temporary and uncertain. Believing this is the key to my freedom, my independence from rules, from laws, particularly those of men.
I looked at Rosemary, beautiful, wanting, and I gave into her needs, and my own. The lovemaking was ferocious. We clung to one another and embraced and clenched each other’s bodies and nerve endings into the paradise of this unknown god, for if he created a paradise it was here on earth, and was within the body of this loving woman. We are good together; we blend together like entangled particles, inseparable for this moment. We both screamed a little when our own Big Bang occurred.
“You sure you don’t love me, just a little?” Rosemary asked, strumming the dark hairs on my stomach with her finger. “That was very special for me. That wasn’t sex.”
“It’s not sex, Rosemary, it’s fucking. I’ll give you that much. And there is a difference. You have sex with a cold unresponsive wife, or a hooker, or your best boy, with a surrogate to make children or whatever else you’re into, but fucking, well, you fuck someone you have passion for. I have passion for you. But I don’t love you.”
Rosemary laid her head on my chest and continued to twirl her finger on my stomach.
“Well, that wasn’t sex, or fucking, when you come that hard it’s love, that’s my definition. I’ve had plenty of sex, fucking, I’m older than you. But I’ve never come that hard, or that fast. That makes it special. And love is special, Jack. It’s something special between two people. I don’t mind that you don’t feel you love me, but I mind that you don’t believe there is such a thing as love, because there is, and someday you will believe in it.”
She is trying to convince me with logic, prove her love theorem using her intelligence. For some reason I found this adorable, touching, likeable, and I found in a small way it changed my feeling towards Rosemary a little, made it better, better than it was with my wife Elle. But then Rosemary and I were more alike than Elle and me. With Elle it was always her head and her looks, with Rosemary it has never been anything but, well, fucking. It was better than just sex, but was only fucking. “It can be whatever you want it to be, Rosemary,” I said, kissing the top of her head. “You want love, it can be love. But don’t ask me what it is. Just let it be whatever it feels like to you, and if it feels like love, then it is. Everything in the universe is only a perception. How it looks or feels to you is how it is. I believe in separate realities, separate and distinct realities exist for everyone, that’s what is real.”
Rosemary lifted her head up and gave me a screwy look. “I have no idea what all that’s about. I know what I feel–it’s simple, it’s easy, it’s natural. It comes to me as easy as breathing. How much did you have to drink before you got here?”
“Let me get you one, then,” Rosemary said, and bounced up off the bed.
“I’ve got to get going.”
She made me think: yeah, where? Elle wasn’t home. I was done for the day. And there was plenty of free bourbon at Rosemary’s.
“My husband won’t be home for hours. Let’s party a little. C’mon, pool man, pool boy, physicist, hang out for a while and explain the stars to me.”
“Bourbon, big glass, no ice.”
DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator and fiction writer living in Burlington, NC. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His novels include The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, For the Love of Wolves, Sweat Street, Nude Swimming and The Death of Anyone.