Green Room II
The visit to Kyle's folks that afternoon was postphoned. Air tickets and other stuff needed attention. I phoned my dad (overseas) who was peeved about my spending a week in Fremantle, and insisted I return home by the weekend. "And where did you get the money from?"
"Brett's paying for the ticket," I lied. The money was earned by selling drugs but, at least, it was put to good use...this time.
I was totally amped to spend a week in Fremantle. If anybody could help me it was Brett. Besides, I needed to apologize in person for all the shit I caused. I needed to confess, to finally clear my conscience. That would take a while, of course, but Brett was a start in the right direction, and I had to start somewhere.
Next job, phone the drug boss. It was a good thing I'd be out of town for a week. Nobody messed with those syndicate guys and got away with it. "By the way, G, when I said I was a fucked up cunt, I don't need to tell you that every aspect of my life is the same. And I don't need you to tell me the obvious. Walk a mile in my shoes. I'm not Kyle. I know I'll never be but, for fuck sake, I didn't ask to be born rich or like I am, and I didn't ask to be born bisexual. I know I need a rocket up my ass a lot of the time and I've done some stupid...okay, a lot of stupid things. I'm going to work at it. I tried before and failed but at least I do try. Were you this hard on Kyle when he first became honest with you? Or is it just me? I need to say this because it would be easy for me to lie to you and get you to like me, but I'll do it Kyle's way. So expect a rocket up your ass from me too, G. Thanks for at least reading my mail."
Once all plans were in place to fly to Fremantle next morning, I thought I'd call Graham and ask him to go surfing with me. No, that wouldn't do. It was early days yet and I wasn't sure if he wanted to see me after my behavior during the sleep over.
At Fremantle airport, I headed for a payphone and called Brett. "Hey, Stuart, if you're so desperate to get here you can hitch a ride."
Hitch a ride? What kind of welcome was that? Kyle was killed hitching a ride for Christ sake! At least Brett gave me directions to his house. It was miles out of the city and took four rides to get there. Being a blond looker had certain advantages when it came to thumbing a lift. But being a blond looker certainly didn't cut any ice with Brett. That bloke was as hard as nails when he felt like it, and gave me the distinct impression he wasn't about to do me any favors. In fact, it seemed to me that he regretted his decision to invite me over.
I arrived at the house late at night. Brett answered the door two seconds after I knocked. Before saying a word, he flat-handed me across the face. "That's for calling Melanie a whore."
I was stunned, not sure if I should cry or hitch a ride back to the airport. While my brain reeled and my cheek stung, Brett grabbed my bag and headed inside the house. I followed, not knowing how to react.
The house was huge! Brett's suite was at the back of the house. He dropped my bag on the sleeper couch, which would be my bed for a few days. "Have you eaten anything?" he asked. "I made pasta. I just finished working and showering so your timing was cool."
"Thanks. I could eat the ass end of a low flying elephant."
Despite Brett's flat-handed welcome across my face, I was glad to be there. It was a long way from the problems back in Byron, and offered the chance to speak to Brett about a whole lot of things that bothered me.
As my eyes scanned his suite, I saw that everything was neatly stowed in its proper place. I remembered Kyle telling me how neat and tidy Brett was, fastidious, even. He was also that way about his body...every muscle perfectly placed and honed.
We spoke only a few words until we sat at the small kitchen table. His cooking was good, as was the beer. After a long day, the sight of Brett's strong handsome face, as well as the food and drink, were most welcome. I was in the company of someone I trusted and respected.
"I didn't think you were gonna come," he said.
"I had to. I'm going crazy in Byron."
"Melanie says you're tripping all the time, and she doesn't want to see you again. She said something about you beating the crap out of Graham."
"She's lying about Graham. I never beat him up. We shared a reefer and some beers, and he got a major dose of the greenies. Sick as a dog."
Brett cocked an eyebrow and sighed. "Yeah, Kyle tried to help him but the grommet wouldn't listen. Your giving him grass doesn't help. Does it? But then you've always only thought about yourself."
"It wasn't Graham's fault. But, yeah, I am tripping a lot. Since Kyle's death, I've been high."
"You think that's gonna bring him back or something? You need to grow up, Stuart. You pissed Kyle off so badly with your habit."
"Can we stop about my habit already? You used to as well."
"I wasn't a coke or acid head but, yeah, I still smoke."
The situation became aggro. I needed to settle it down...and fast. "I'm not here to fight with you, Brett."
He dug his fork into the pasta and studied it for a moment. "Since your phone call, I tried to figure out why you wanted to come here. I don't get it."
Now was not a good time to explain things. As we spoke, another guy entered the house, then walked into Brett's suite. He was 40-ish but in good shape. Brett introduced him and we shook hands. He was Brett's boss, the builder of the yacht and owner of the house. He walked to the stove, checked the pasta, and asked if he could share it. Kyle often mentioned Brett's pasta, and how good it was. Meanwhile, I suspected that the boss was curious about me. Maybe even more than curious.
The bloke invited himself to the table and joined us. He seemed cool enough, smiling and friendly, and gave me the third degree about my background. He also asked how long I planned to stay in Fremantle...and even offered to show me around town.
After Brett explained that my bed was the couch, the boss offered me one of the many spare rooms. Brett said no, which I thought was pretty cool. I needed to stay close to Brett, I needed a friend.
Following the meal, the boss disappeared to another part of the house. I helped Brett with the dishes. Then I took a shower while Brett organized the sleeper couch with sheets, a duvet and pillow--pretty amazing for a guy who greeted me at the door with a backhander, and accused me over dinner of being an asshole. If he couldn't figure why I visited Fremantle, how was I to figure his actions? It didn't make sense.
Once showered, I entered the room to see Brett dressed only in boxer shorts, as I was. I was unsure of how he might react to my sleeping naked. The situation was already edgy, so I chose not to push my luck.
"I need sleep, Stuart. I'm buggered. You want me to wake you early or meet me later?"
"If it's okay, wake me early."
It took a while to get to sleep, my mind raced with a million thoughts. Instead, I watched Brett read a book. Talk about complex! He cooked like a chef, worked like a Trojan, had an incredibly defined body, a handsome face, and loved to read. And, he and Kyle were close...incredibly close.
I did eventually doze off. When I woke, the first blinding rays of daylight already streamed through the window and filled the room. I flew here? I was in Brett's room? Yes, it was real all right, but also surreal.
Brett had gone, so I searched for him. His suite had its own rear entrance. I found him swimming laps in the pool. Pool? It was a mini ocean! And Brett wasn't just swimming laps, he sprinted. No surprise to me that he was one of the school team's top performers--powerful shoulders, strong arms, and a smooth even kick that propelled him through the water like a human torpedo.
When he saw me, he exited the water, which cascaded off his shiny, tanned torso as he grabbed a towel. He wore black Speedos that glistened in the morning light, and that clung to his ample package and muscular buns. That guy was a god, no doubt about it.
"Don't you think you should catch a piss before you come outside?" he asked.
"I will, but I wanted to find you first. Do you swim every morning?"
"Some mornings, if I feel like it. You can too if you want. I got a spare pair of shorts."
The boss called, then appeared at the back door. Brett told me to move my ass into the house, and wrapped the towel around his waist as he approached his boss. Meanwhile, I showered. Brett entered the room as I dressed. "Don't bother with anything except your jocks," he ordered, then took from his closet a pair of blue working overalls that he tossed to me. "It's bloody hot in that barn."
I dressed, and followed Brett to the front of the house, where an old Beetle was parked. Brett explained that he bought it from a friend of the boss. The car was in great condition. I was impressed.
After beetling down a farm road, we arrived at the barn. Three Aborigines waited outside, presumably for us. They turned out to be great blokes, and obviously loved Brett to bits. They greeted him with big toothy grins. He spoke to them in broken English, mixed with some local dialect. "Where did you pick up the lingo?" I asked as he unlocked the barn door.
"Helps to get things done around here."
Yacht? Try ship! It was mammoth, with an enormous keel. It consumed almost all the space inside the barn, which was more like a monster warehouse, with scaffolding everywhere. Although still unfinished, the yacht was magnificent--sleek--and a wonderful example of hydrodynamic art.
I followed Brett to a particular section of steps, which led to a landing, then to the deck and down to the rear of the boat. "Right," he said, "the bow is the sharp end and the stern is the blunt end. Remember that."
"I only look thick."
"No, you don't," he said, minus a smile, or any hint of humor.
Were all those blond jokes true? I wondered. My hair was not only straw blond but also long, down to my shoulders.
Brett took me on a tour of the blunt end, which was almost wholly consumed by a massive cabin. Some interior cupboards were partially complete while others needed a lot more work. "This is the stateroom," he informed me.
The intense heat and humidity inside the barn got to me despite being early morning. Brett threw a sheet of sandpaper and a cork block at me. "Your job is to fine sand the cupboards." He showed me exactly what he wanted done, and how to accomplish it. "Don't round off the edges, they should be nice and smooth like this." Yeah, right, I thought, the sandpaper was so fine it made the job seem impossible. He handed me a paper surgical mask and told me to wear it all the time.
"Brett?" I called as he was about to leave me to my unpaid task.
"Are you pissed at me because I wanted to come over here?"
"Because you're treating me like a piece of shit."
The black-haired god stared me directly in the eye. "I'll tell you what I really think. I think you were sent here by your (drug) boss to score, and you needed a place to stay. If you make any contacts while you're here, I'll put you in fucking hospital. I don't care much for the way you do things, Stuart, and the only reason you're here is because you're Kyle's friend. If I find you came here for anything else, I'll make you sorry you ever left Byron."