By Joshua Ryan
Here’s the way the place was organized. Jerry had a big “staff.” At the top was this Meyers guy, Steven Meyers — MISTER Meyers, the “personal assistant.” He wasn’t a workie. Maybe he should have been, but he wasn’t. I saw him from a distance, and I knew he was a faggot. The kind of faggot I’d been. Only I guess he needed a job. He slept in the House.
Everybody else was a workie. There were three types of workie.
First: House Staff. They were the head servant, Cicero, and the cook, Sacky. Cicero lived in the House, up in the attic. Sacky lived in the barracks, but he kept whatever hours were needed to satisfy the owner. He was the way we got all those great leftovers, and things that weren’t leftovers.
Second: House Servants. They had their barracks next to ours. They scrubbed the floors and washed the dishes.
Third: Us. The Grounds Servants. We mowed the lawns and trimmed the trees and maintained the pool and swept the tennis courts and washed down the driveway. We thought we did most of the work. Maybe we did.
Basically, nobody on the grounds crew ever ran into Mike or Jerry. They weren’t much for strolling through the grounds and enjoying their captive Nature. And the pool was just for parties. The place where “the grounds” ended and “the House” began was a hedge between the pool and the terrace. There was a steel fence inside the hedge and a steel gate in the middle that was always locked, unless one of us might be let in to mow the little strips of lawn around the pavement and the koi pool. I was never allowed to do that, because I was the most junior lawn boy. Sometimes the other lawn boys reported seeing Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Thomasen walking on the terrace, or sitting on the terrace with friends. But I never did.
Anyway, we kept up their grounds, in case they decided to use them. I was told the size was a couple acres. Mainly lawn, but there were trees that needed to be trimmed and trails that need to be kept up and flowers that needed to be planted and weeded and watered and so on. We also had to keep the barracks area neat, which meant everything from killing the sumac and the mulberry bushes that came up around the walls to sweeping off the drive and washing down the dumpsters. But the lawn was the big thing. Mr. Hamilton didn’t like being disturbed by the sound of machinery. He’d been overheard to say, “If I didn’t mind noise, I could do without workies.” So the sweeping and mowing and pruning and chopping were all hand jobs, and that takes time.
If you ever want to think about a picture of a workie having fun, imagine a big lawn with beautiful trees all around it and a sparkling pool at one end, with marble steps leading up to a marble terrace, and there’s nobody on it except a young workie lolling on the steps, giving the photographer the finger. But that wasn’t the way it was. THIS workie had a wet uniform to turn in for laundry every day — and when you’re the lowest lawn boy on the list, all the other workies get to boss you.
Also, after a year of being coffled, everything around there felt strange. Not having a shackle on my leg — it was like my leg wasn’t there anymore. My body worked best when it had Ace’s body on one side of it and Mack’s body on the other. Now it didn’t. Sometimes I worked all day and never saw anybody else except at chow. Then I’d go back to the barracks and be alone in there — not literally alone, but alone. It was like the other workies had all been in there together for a thousand years. They were all young, cheerful, outdoor dudes, but they all had the same routines and the same gambling games and the same things they said, over and over again, and I was the junior lawn boy — none of it had anything to do with me. I was raging for sex, but there wasn’t anybody to do it with. I was used to getting it from Ace, and good sex too—all right, I’ll admit it, wonderful sex — but that was over. The other workies were all proud of being “house staff” and getting to walk around by themselves and eat that grub from the kitchen. If I said it tasted good tonight, somebody would say, “Not like down on the coffle, eh?” None of them had ever been coffled, but the fact that there was a coffle “down there” made them feel good about being “service.” If somebody made a remark about sex, somebody else was definitely gonna say, “Yeah Butch, what’s it like to do it in the dirt?” Then somebody would say, “I’m glad I got my OWN stall to jerk in.” “Jerk” was the right word for them. Some of them were hot, too. When I was drunk, I wanted them. But they didn’t want me.
Then late one summer afternoon, it happened. I was pushing the mower down by the cherry trees, and I heard Fredo say, “Yes sir. That’s the workie you mentioned,” and Jerry’s voice say, “That’s the newest one, right?” Then, “Yes sir. Right, sir. Come here, Butch. Mr. Hamilton wants to look at you.”
Yeah, it was Jerry, and Mike was right behind him. Since it was a hot day, both of them were wearing shorts with their polos. They looked like they were enjoying their walk around the property.
I automatically came to attention, with my back straight and my eyes staring forward, and the sweat soaking my uniform.
Jerry said, “Take off your cap, Butch.” So I took off my cap.
“Now turn around.” I turned.
“Looks all right,” Jerry said.
“Sort of an animal,” Mike said.
“But not too much,” Jerry said. “OK, Fredo. Move Butch over to the house servants’ barracks. Starting tomorrow, he’ll be a cleaner in the big house. Tell the other boss to give you … ”
“Benson,” Mike said.
“To give you Benson in place of him.”
They walked away. That was it. I was going into the House!
To be continued …