32 Into the Drink

The record rains subsided but dark, empty clouds lingered. Evening settled in early to a soggy dusk as Peter slipped into his vacated POPS parking spot. He took Rusty up the two floors in the elevator and into Hans’ unit, unobserved as far as he could tell, and to him all highly exhilarating. Rusty seemed apprehensive.Chapter 32 Into the Drinkedit

“So, here we are.” Peter almost giggled at the ease of the subterfuge. “What do you think?” Rusty scowled, and walked over to the windows.

“Is this only as far up as you lived?” he said, a little too derisively, Peter thought. He hoped Rusty wouldn’t turn out to be the sarcastic type. They were so hard to understand.

“It’s a small unit but it’s got a really nice place to work out.”

“I didn’t come here to work out, did I?” Rusty hissed. Peter scrambled to fathom what Rusty was here for.

“How about drinks? There’s usually wine, brandy, or beer. Let me check.” Hoping to loosen up his guest a bit, Peter retreated to the kitchen. Rusty followed him and as Peter swung open the refrigerator door, Rusty grabbed a couple of cans of beer from the shelf.

“This’ll do,” he muttered. Peter was pretty sure it was left over from their last party. Hans never drank it, would never notice any missing beer.

“I’ll have brandy. There are some gorgeous snifters. Please, go put your feet up. Relax.” The snifters were there and right beside them, the empty space where the flutes used to be. It was just so tempting for his light fingers. But first things first. Rusty is first, this trip.

“So, tell me Rusty, what do you want to do here first?” Peter posed suggestively, as he sank into the couch opposite Rusty.

“How far can you get upstairs and see out over the lake?”

“Well, there’s the terrace out back, overlooking the lake.” Peter’s spirit’s lifted. Maybe Rusty was a romantic, after all. “There’s a lovely view from there.”

“Nah, I mean way upstairs.”

“There are penthouses, but that’s all private so we can’t go up there. But there’s a solarium room with super big windows. It’s just one floor down from that.”

“No rooftop? How about more beer then?” Peter was still puzzled about all this interest in the roof but decided to play along. He fetched more beer. Maybe Rusty had a thing about a roof. If so, Peter was willing to learn.

“Why are you handing me beer cans in a towel? Something wrong with them?”

“Oh, I always do that. They are sooo cold, straight from the frig.” Peter gave a little mock shudder, flinging the towel over his shoulder. “Besides, I never touch the stuff. It’s brandy, and wine, for me. You must be really thirsty.”

“OK, so let’s go up there now. I want to look.” Rusty stood up, a beer can in each hand. “Or will it be too cold up there for you?”

“Oh, silly, not too cold, but it will be too dark and foggy now, see? Look outside. It’s always darker on the lake side at night. Good for stargazing on a clear night. You won’t see anything much now.” Rapidly warming to his theme, Peter gushed. “I have an idea. There’s lots of beer left. Let’s stay overnight. You could go upstairs real early. See whatever you want.” Rusty stared at him. “We could go for a swim now, come back here, have a cozy supper. Omelets. I’m good at those.” He’d already checked the egg supply. Good old Hans.

“Can’t swim,” Rusty belched.

Record setting evening street flooding

Record setting, evening Milwaukee street flooding

“Oh, that’s nothing. I’ll show you how.” Peter made pawing motions in the air and pretended to swim into the bedroom. “Doggy paddle. I’ll get the swim trunks.”

Peter opened the drawer where the swim stuff used to be. Sure enough, there were the two pair from the Caribbean trip. He fondled them before lifting them out. Sweaty, tropical nights with dear old Hans. Nicer than with Rusty, so far. Maybe they’d be good luck charms. Reminded of his own charms, he tugged off his shirt and returned bare-chested to the living room where Rusty sat, cracking open another can.

“Let’s get changed.” Peter was in high gear and held up each pair in turn. “Flowers, or palms? These would suit you.” Peter tossed a florid print at Rusty. “Bring out the color in your cheeks.”

Rusty watched Peter slip off his belt, shoes and socks, then made unsteadily for the bedroom and closed the door behind him. He palely emerged, a contrast in too white and too pink with a little bit of blue to bridge the color gap. He clutched up a beer can in each hand, as if in self-defense. Peter guided him out and down the stairs then through the pool level door. Rusty swayed a bit, Peter observed. If he had hollow legs, maybe that would help him to float.

“Can’t swim.” Rusty popped a can and took a slug.

“Tell you what. Let’s watch TV while we’re in the water.” Peter remembered the TV with the long extension cord just outside, across from the meeting room. “Be right back,” he said, whisking out the hallway door. He returned, TV cart wheels rumbling, and pulled it up to the edge of the pool. Fussing with the remote, he turned to Rusty and cocked his head to one side.

“What’s your fancy?Ā  Music?” He was hoping for something nice to set the mood.

“Business news.” Rusty dropped an empty by the cart. Peter clenched, found the channel, then tried again.

“Right. Right. Well, let’s get in. Best thing to do is take the plunge. It’s easier than going in inch by inch. That just gives you goosebumps. Just like getting out fast is so nice, wrapping up in a big towel.”

“What towel? Don’t see no towel.” Peter looked around and in a twinkling remembered. At work towels were supplied to members as a perk. He’d completely forgotten that you had to bring your own here. Things were not going as planned. Fantasy was dying by the minute.

“Tell you what. Sit down, watch your show, and finish your beer. I’ll be back in a jiff with some nice warm towels.” Peter hurried out the pool stairs door.

Rusty sank into a deck chair and guzzled. Bored by the show, his eyes fell on the untroubled water before him. Inhibitions obliterated, forbidden wishes surged. He’d always wanted the gratification of infantile desire to relieve himself in the bath. Here was a very large tub and no one’s will but his own. He dropped the last empty, heard it rattle across the tiles. Grunting with the effort, he lurched up and out from the chair toward the captive water where fully exposed he let go, eased by the glimmering arc he was proudly producing.