Later Saturday morning, they arrived at Soho House using JR's key card. As
soon as the doorman ushered them inside they sighed over the air conditioning. They
took the elevator up to the rooftop pool.
“I'm in the mood for a swim.” she told him.
“You know I've seen you naked, but never in a bathing suit.”
A Frenchman that was sharing the elevator with them smiled upon hearing this
“I didn't let anyone see me in a bathing suit til I was like twenty-eight.
Now that I'm forty, I'm okay with it. See how much better I am...older?”
He smiled. “I am liking you...older. What about me?”
“Auggie, I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for you to grow old.
So that we could finally be together.” she answered.
He didn’t respond. He knew that she still lived in a world where they were
going to grow old together. She was going to take care of him and push his
wheelchair. Her fantasy always included a wheelchair. She told him, then you can't
run away from me. He indulged this fantasy of hers when they were younger. He
actually used to bring it up. He couldn't believe such a young girl loved him so much
that her fantasy was to be with him as an old man and that she promised to take care
of him. She would take him to the track, she said. They would live at the
Sports Book in Vegas, if he wanted. She knew they were supposed to be together
when they were old. It was destiny. He never agreed nor disagreed with this plan. He
did like to tease her about it, though. He knew this fantasy was one of the many
reasons that made her different from any other girl he had ever met.
“Remember,” he began, “we have to leave early to make the race.”
“Are you sure I haven't been more of an influence in your life?”
The elevator doors opened. They began to walk down a hall toward a valet.
“I, for sure, have to be the only girl to ever take you to the racetrack with
her father. Twice, I think.”
“Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
“Yes, Benny, you have influenced, my life.”
“Is that on the record?”
“How many times, in your life up to now, have you retold that track story?”
“Benny, let's get a chair, already.”
He wore khaki shorts, Addidas flip-flops and a Dago-T that she loved on him.
He had an ironed linen shirt and loafers in the car downstairs for the track. She was
wearing a Missoni string bikini, sheer black hoodie cover-up and wedged Christian
Laboutin sandals. She towered over him and she relished this. His mouth came
perfectly up to her boobs. They both wore Ray-Ban sunglasses.
The valet found them two shaded chairs and laid their towels down. He tipped
the valet. She was impressed. She always remembered what a cheap ass he was when he
“What would you like?” asked the valet.
“Arnold Palmer.” she answered.
“Make that two.” he confirmed.
The pool wasn't very busy. It was around noon. Most people were out of town so only
Foreigners dotted the area. She thought she identified one of Bin Ladin's children.
There were no apparent celebrities.
They each laid in their chair and sipped their iced tea lemonades.
“Happy?” he asked.
“Very,” she answered, “I feel like I am on a vacation.”
“We're in a bubble,” he said, “We are on a vacation – from our lives.”
She was tempted to analyze that last remark but decided not to. Even in the
shade, with the cold drink, she was burning up.
“I have to get in that pool” she said. Instead of being self-conscious, she
wanted him to look at her body while she took her cover-up off. She wanted him to get
a good look at her in a bathing suit. This is what I look like as a woman, she
thought. You either love me or you don't.
She walked up to the pool and he grabbed the green Nano out of her purse while
he looked over the Racing form that he had picked up that morning after the call with
JR. In the same race as Stacy Speed was a horse named “Shorty Forty.” He would bet
it. Benny had always addressed her letters to him as “Shorty” or “Short Stuff.” He had
to bet it.
The next song on the Nano for Auggie was Sonic Youth's “Moist Vagina” and
Prince's “Adore.” He remembered he put “She's Always In My Hair” on his playlist for
Slightly aroused, Auggie took the IPOD off as well as his shirt. He walked
over to the pool to join Benny in the water.
“I hope you put on one hundred” she began as she treaded water at the pool's
deep end, “You're Irish and I love you.”
“Yes. We all can't have olive skin,” he told her.
He sat on the edge of the pool in army green swim trunks. His feet were on the
stairs of the ladder. He began to play with one of his toes.
“I remember you always playing with your feet,” she said, “I almost think it’s
an unconscious habit. Maybe it has something to do with playing soccer. You’re
obsessed with feet. James Joyce was. And you share the same birthday.”
“How do you know that?”
“He’s my favorite writer, remember?”
“And I am?”
“My favorite – person.”
He was quiet for a moment. Gave her a half smile. He…didn’t know how to react
to her comment. He stared at her for a few moments without speaking. This caused her
to dart her eyes and twirl her hair into ringlets with her finger.
“I like your playlist so far,” he told her, breaking the silence.
“Me, too,” she answered, “I'll listen to more of it on the ride to
Belmont...Oops. You don't mind if we make a quick stop in the Diamond District on the
way to Queens?”
“Diamond District?” he asked. For five seconds the thought crossed his mind
that she wanted him to buy her jewelry.
“It will literally take five minutes,” she answered.
“What on earth do you need from the Diamond District, literally?” he asked.
“I have to drop off a package. For my father.”
“Your Dad?” he half yelled and acted nervous. “Please don't say he knows
you're here with me?”
She continued to tread water.
“NO, God no! I've got to see Brooklyn Jimmy. Five minutes.”
“His name is Brooklyn Jimmy?” he asked.
“Who did he have to whack to get that name?”
“You know, you're way too white bread from the suburbs to be allowed to use the
term whack in a sentence.”
“Who is he?”
“He's a famous handicapper, actually. Maybe he'll give me a tip for the race today.”
“I already know who I'm betting.”
“Yes, but I'm not telling you yet. You pick your own horse.”
“Don't worry, Shorty. I will. You forget I've been going to the track
since I was in diapers.”
“Fine. We'll drop off your package. Will we be tailed by the Feds afterward?”
“Thank you!” she said and with that, she pushed herself up on the ladder and
kissed him on the cheek, “I'm really excited about tonight,” she finished.
“Me, too,” he whispered.
“No one would ever believe that part of my perfect weekend with you is a trip
to the racetrack.”
“A girl after my own heart.”
“Hey, aren't you going to come in? The water feels great.”
“Wait! Don't turn around!”
“Benny, don't turn around!”
“I think I'm looking at Michael Jordan,” he said in a hushed tone.
She hit him on the thigh and turned around.
“Michael Jordan!” For a second, her entire body froze.
Michael Jordan sat on the other end of the pool with a curvy woman in a monokini.
“Why are you freaking out?” he asked. “He's overrated.”
She hit him two more times on his legs.
“I'm sorry you don't know what six championships feel like. Jordan is
“Benny, are you okay? You're getting worked up,” he asked from above the
“I AM IN A SWIMMING POOL WITH MICHAEL JORDAN. Hurry, get a camera!” she
yelled “MICHAEL JORDAN!”
She turned around again and said, loudly, “Michael Jordan!” Michael Jordan
turned around, having heard his name, and smiled at Benny. It was just like that
underwear commercial and the Pippen carrying a flu-ridden Jordan off the floor after
game five's 1997 win. She hyperventilated until she fainted and her Missoni clad
bikini body began to sink into the pool.
“Oh, shit!” Auggie yelled as he jumped into the pool. He dragged her out and
slapped her across her face to wake her up. She spit a mouthful of water in his face.
“BENNY!” he yelled and then laughed a bit, “Benny, are you alright?”
Her eyes open and she smiled up at him. He smiled back as he stroked her wet
hair back off of her face.
“Did you get a picture?” were the first words out of Benny's mouth.
“What?” he asked. “You fainted and I pulled you out of the water.”
“You saved me? Really? Than it is just like the first time. You saved me
from that asshole at the bar. Remember?”
“You think I saved you that night?”
“Yeah...” she said softly…convinced.
“That's sweet, Benny.”
“I called you from a pay phone and you showed up ten minutes later. You
rescued me that night and that's why I decided to finally sleep with you, lose my
virginity to you. It was completely unplanned. I..I..thought you were my
He leaned down and grabbed her face and kissed her. She smiled. She didn't
know that he didn't know…that's how she remembered that night. It was her favorite,
favorite night. And they were going to recreate that night…again…later today...
“You should also know I weigh more when I'm soaked in water,” she had to add.
He helped her up and put a towel that was provided by the valet around her.
“Did you get the picture?” she asked as they walked back to their shaded
“Did I get a picture of you nearly drowning in a swimming pool with Michael
“Damn you, Irish,” was all she could get out and then, she laughed.
“You're crazy,” he added.
“Did you at least try and finger me while I was unconscious?”
“No,” he answered, “But I almost let the valet do it”
“Now you sound crazy, Auggie. Is he still here, MJ?” she asked as she laid
back down on the chair on top of him. She snuggled up to him and drank the rest of her
“He just left with one of JLo's old Fly Girls. Sorry,” he joked.
“Aw, man...” she sighed.
A Pool Hustler's Daughter grows up in subterranean America. She dreams big, hustles daily and loves her Daddy. With empathy, fascination and grace she navigates and inhabits every tier of society; sees beauty and hope and magic in all things; respects and lives by the "mitzvah."
A Pool Hustler's Daughter calculates the trifecta payout at the racetrack, hides money on three parts of her body, has an arsenal of "Uncles," and keeps a baseball bat by the front door. She values friendship, loyalty and experiences over "things." Like her father, she seeks to learn "The secrets of the universe" and believes "Life ain't on the square." She applauds the self-made and those who learn to "overcome" their circumstances. Her door is always open for a sofa to sleep on, a hot meal, or an eager listener for a life story.