“I wish they all could be California girls.”
Line from 1965 hit song California Girls, by the Beach Boys
Ever since the Beach Boys sang these words, guys all over the country dreamed of being with California girls. I was one of them.
Now don’t get me wrong: New York has some beautiful women. Still, how can you compete with a dream?
Then one day I got my big chance. OK, maybe it didn’t happen the way it did in my dreams, but it was an offer I could not refuse.
If you read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, you’ll remember how he and his friends sped across the country in drive-away cars just for the fun of it. You made a few bucks, had a great adventure, and then made the trip back to the east coast in another drive-away.
My friend, Harvey, was driving to California the following week and asked me to come along for the ride. The only problem was that I wouldn’t have any place to stay.
But then fate intervened. I got a phone message from a woman who had placed an ad in a swingers’ magazine. Her ad got right to the point:
“California girl looking for virile young man for a week of great sex beginning July 29th.”
When I answered her ad, I had no intention of flying to California — even for a week of sex. But it just so happened that Harvey was leaving in just a couple of days and planned to get to LA on the 29th. Was that Kismet or what?
So I called her back. As soon as I heard her slutty voice, I had an erection. Her first question was, “How big is it?”
“Well, you’re not going to believe this, but as soon as I heard your voice, it got three inches longer. But normally I’m about a seven.”
“So now you’re a perfect ten. It’s a shame it’s going to waste, when you could be inside me.”
“You better stop talking that way or I’m going to bust out of my pants.”
“Where are you now?”
“New York. But as luck would have it, I’ll be getting to LA on the 29th.”
“For real? You’re flying?”
“And you can be here on the 29th?”
“So do you want me to describe myself?” she asked.
“Just tell me one thing.”
“They’re quadruple E.”
“That’s all I need to know.”
Harvey was in front of my building at noon on July 24th and we were on our way. He had a 1978 Cadillac with less than a thousand miles, probably the ideal car for the trip. Plenty of room, great air conditioning and very comfortable upholstery.
We picked up I-40 somewhere in Tennessee the next day, and from there it was a straight shot to LA. Much of it followed the old Route 66. We both remembered the ditty, “Get your kicks on Route 66.” Except I’d be getting mine in California.
I wondered what she actually looked like. But like we used to say: As long as she had big tits, you could “just put a flag over her face and fuck her.”
Still, she was probably a bit older than me – I was just twenty-five – and the chances were she didn’t look like any of those California girls the Beach Boys sang about. I started singing, “Beach, Baby, Beach Baby give me your hand,” and Harvey took his right hand off the steering wheel and placed it in my left hand as we belted out the rest of the song.
Harvey would be staying with an old girlfriend for the week, and then we would drive another car back to New York.
Unlike Harvey, I had never seen much of the country. Arkansas was quite beautiful as was much of Oklahoma. But the Texas Panhandle and virtually the entire state of New Mexico seemed like one huge desert.
By the time we pulled up in front of Gail’s house, my ass was sore, but I had a big erection. “See yuh in a week, Harv.”
“Yeah, stud. Don’t let her keep you locked up. See the city. Yeah, and the beaches.”
“Right — and all those California girls.”
Harvey drove off and I carried my bags to the door and rang the bell.
Did I ever mention that I’m one of the horniest guys on the planet? My friends like to say that if it moves, Nate will fuck it.
That’s just not true. I’ve fucked some women who never moved.
So, I’m standing there holding my bags and my cock’s at attention. I am visualizing how she’ll go for my cock while I grab her massive her tits. Did I tell you that when I meet a woman, that’s the first place I look? I guess that’s why I’ve been called a “tit talker.”
The door opened and I was staring at the biggest pair of tits I had ever seen. The next thing I knew, her hand was on my crotch.
Then my eyes traveled up to her face. Her chin was very pointy, but I guess I could live with that. Then I saw the purple moles, one of which was on the tip of her nose. Before I noticed what appeared to be a thick, dark single eyebrow, my erection had shriveled.
“What’s the matter, stud? Didn’t you read my ad?” She sounded like a witch. What happened to that sultry voice I heard on the phone?
I had to stall. “Refresh my memory.”
I was still holding my bags as she withdrew her hand.
“I wanted to meet a ‘virile young man.’”
“Oh no! I think I misread your ad.”
“What did you think it said?”
“Senile young man?”
She burst out laughing. “Nate, you’re a funny guy. Come inside.”
She had a two-bedroom house, so mercifully, I would not have to sleep in the same bed with her. In fact, Gail quickly told me that she had a back-up plan so her week would not be wasted. She had an old boyfriend who would be happy to keep her occupied, and he’d be back in town in just a couple of days. But I was still welcome to stay for the entire week.
Gail turned out to be very pleasant company. I took her to dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant where she began to fill in some of her life’s basic details. She was in her early forties and was a widow. There were no children. She didn’t have to work because her husband had left her enough to live on.
If what Gail told me was true, then even in this age of free love, she should be considered a sexaholic. There are people who like to boast about their sexual exploits, but she appeared to be simply stating facts.
For most of their marriage, she and her husband went to swings every weekend, and they also had regular swapping arrangements with other couples during the week. Gail insisted that they had a good marriage, but then asked me if I didn’t agree that variety was the spice of life.
I admitted to myself that in the sex department she may have had me beat. I loved meeting new women and going to bed with them as quickly as possible. But deep down, I was pretty sure that I was a true romantic.
We continued this discussion on the walk back to the house. Gail filled me in on the details of the local swinging scene, with its infamous key parties. Couples arriving at a suburban house party would drop their car keys in a bowl. Later in the evening, one member of each couple would dip his or her hand into the bowl and pick out a set of keys.
So, if a woman drew a set of keys, she would leave with a man who owned them. Or if a man was drawing, he would be spending the night with the woman whose keys he drew.
It was ironic that instead of enjoying a week of great sex, I was getting a first-class sex education course. It was just too bad that she was so fuckin’ unattractive.
By ten we had gone to bed. I happen to be a very deep sleeper. I know this because I almost always dream, and can often remember what I dreamt in vivid detail. In the one I was having that night, someone with a thick Indian accent was shouting at someone else. But I couldn’t hear the other person.
“Swamynathan, you are cheating me!”
“Why hasn’t the package arrived? How did you send it?”
And then I realized that it was Gail. And she was shouting out in this Indian accent. She and the person at the other end of the phone were having an argument. Something about a shipment of saris that had never arrived. She wanted her money back. But, evidently he was refusing.
Maybe staying with her wasn’t such a great idea – not if I couldn’t get any sleep. But I didn’t have money for a hotel, and I wouldn’t be able to stay with Harvey and his old girlfriend.
Finally, she hung up. I decided that any explanation she might have could wait until morning. She evidently went back to bed, and minutes later I was dreaming again, but no one in my dream had an Indian accent.
We spent most of the next day at the beach. There sure were plenty of beach babies, most of them teenagers. If they even noticed me, I probably looked like an older man, and they may have thought Gail was my mother. I felt kind of ashamed to be seen with her, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Still, I enjoyed looking at some of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. I managed to overhear some conversations, and what came to mind was the term, “valley girls” – not that I was criticizing. I mean, I would not have minded in the least if one of them had come over and started a conversation.
This was the first time I had seen the Pacific Ocean. I can tell you this: nothing here looks even a bit like Coney Island or Brighton Beach. We never see surfers or such a vast expanse of ocean.
I was surprised to find that the water was much colder. Gail told me that the further north you went along the coast, the colder it got. You couldn’t even go into the water in San Francisco.
I decided to ask her who she was talking to last night.
“That was Swamynathan. The man is a thief!”
“Why do you say that?”
“I met him in India about six months ago. We became business partners. We would send beautiful saris to the United States at a 450 percent mark-up.”
“That sounds very profitable.”
“Yes! It would have been, but Swamynathan took my money and never sent the saris to me.”
“Why don’t you go back to India and perform an honor killing?”
“I think you’re confused, Nate. An honor killing is performed on a man who rapes your daughter and then refuses to marry her.”
“Just out of curiosity, Gail. Why were you talking to him with an Indian accent?”
“So Swamynathan could understand what I was saying. English was not his first language.”
On the way home, the guy in the car behind us started honking. Gail waved at him, and soon he drove off. She was laughing.
“What was that all about?”
“I forgot that I still have that bumper sticker.”
“What does it say?”
“Honk if you have ten inches.”
That evening we hit the sack pretty early. I’ve often felt tired after spending a day at the beach. Soon I was dreaming about all those California girls I had seen.
I felt myself being drawn closer and closer to one of the girls, but she was standing with her back to me. I tried to walk around her, but as I did, she kept turning away from me. No matter how fast I walked, I could not get to see her face.
Then, once again, the shouting began. But this time, it was in unaccented English. As I began to awaken, the beach faded away. Then I recognized Gail’s voice.
“Lieutenant Davis, I’m sick and tired of getting the run-around. You know how many years I’ve been waiting for a straight answer?”
“I want the truth!”
“I don’t care about that! I want to know, once and for all, what happened to my husband!”
Don’t tell me that you already told me: I want to see the investigation report!”
“No, it’s not! I don’t believe one word of that!” Then she slammed down the receiver and I heard her mutter, “Fuckin police!”
I few minutes later she was snoring. The thought occurred that maybe she needed to scream at someone before she could fall asleep.
The next morning while we were having breakfast, I asked her about her phone call.
“Oh Nate! I am so sorry I disturbed you.”
“You were talking to the police?”
“Yes! I’ve told you that I’m a widow, but I didn’t tell you what happened. You see, a little over four years ago, my husband was murdered. And the police claim they have not been able to find his killer.”
“That’s awful! You feel that they didn’t do a very good investigation?”
“They didn’t do any investigation.”
“How was he killed?”
“He was driving on the five one evening about nine o’clock one when he was shot.”
“It’s a freeway.”
“And someone shot him while both cars were going sixty or seventy miles an hour?”
“In the dark.”
“If you’ll forgive me, who was his murderer – Wyatt Earp?”
“Well, obviously his murderer was an excellent shot. He must have been a real pro.”
“Did your husband have any enemies?”
“None that I know of.”
“So, you can’t think of any reason why anybody would kill him?”
“Nothing comes to mind. Unless maybe the killing was connected to his work.”
“What kind of work did he do?”
“He was a podiatrist.”
An hour later, Gail’s old flame Alex arrived, and the two of them disappeared into the bedroom for the rest of the day. I went out for a walk, and then gave Harvey a call.
“So, how’s it going, stud-muffin?”
“Sorry, I can’t get into that now.”
“I’ll tell you all about it later. How about you?”
“Well, you’re not going to believe this, but it’s like Elaine and I never broke up.”
“That’s fantastic. Let me know if you need a best man.”
“Well, one step at time.”
“By the way, do you have a drive-away lined up?”
“Actually, I do. The only problem is that it needs to be delivered to New York in just a week. So we’ll have to leave the day after tomorrow.”
“Well, I’m ready to go whenever you are.”
“Am I reading something into your amazing flexibility?”
“Maybe you are or maybe you’re not.”
“OK, we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Alex turned out to be a really good guy. He was about Gail’s age, and the two of them seemed good together. What I found amazing was how radically her personality had changed. That seductive voice I had heard on the phone was back again, and Gail had become a shameless flirt.
I don’t know if she told him anything, but Alex certainly did not seem suspicious or jealous. I guess he was just another laid back Californian, albeit one with a pot belly and a thick New York accent.
He and Gail reminisced about their escapades as swingers. In fact that gave the three of us a lot to talk about. The next day, they took me to a nude swimming pool party. A few of the people there were also swingers, but I didn’t manage to connect with anyone.
When we got back to Gail’s house that evening, there was a phone message from Harvey. When I called back he said he had some good news and some bad news. Elaine wanted him to stay, and he had agreed.
“I don’t know if it’s going to work out, but I’ve got to give it a shot.”
“So what’s the bad news?”
“That was the bad news. The good news is that the car will be ready early tomorrow morning. And I found someone who’ll share the driving.”
“OK, the driver will pick you up tomorrow at nine a.m.”
“Thanks, Harv. And I would be delighted to be your best man.”
Gail, Alex, and I said our goodbyes, and then she handed me a beautiful sari. She smiled and I did too. I guess it would be our little joke.
They were standing outside when the car pulled up. Alex had his arm around Gail, and called after me, “Have a great trip!”
The driver didn’t bother to get out, but just popped the trunk for me. I threw my bags into the trunk, and then got in. When I turned to the driver and began to introduce myself, I got the shock of my life.
I knew immediately that I never met her face-to-face, and yet I recognized her. She smiled when she saw the puzzled look on my face.
A medley of Beach Boys songs began playing in my head:
Do you love me, do you surfer girl?
Wendy, Wendy what went wrong?
Beach Baby, Beach Baby, give me your hand.
I wish they all could be California girls.
She nodded at me. I nodded back. After pulling away from the curb, she reached over and took my hand. Was this a dream?
I gave her hand a slight squeeze. She squeezed back.