Housewarming Pool Party
He walks out of the grand conservatory doors and all his guests are, as requested, lounging in and around the pool. He pauses for a moment to take in the view; the beautiful people, all here at his request, at his command. He’s selected the members of this party so carefully, over so many late nights and he smiles to himself, in this moment of stillness, at what his success has made possible. And then one of them – Sharona, he recognises instantly – spots him and waves, and his quiet smile becomes a practiced broad grin of greeting as he starts to move.
He can see the social hierarchy at play around the pool already; the young and the beautiful in the pool itself, the less successful pushed to the edge, but he reminds himself that there are no true outsiders here. This is the in crowd, the winners, and they are here because he is one of them, now, because he has the big house and the broad pool and because they had to see for themselves that he had joined their ranks. Sharona greets him with a hug, still wet from the pool, her brilliant grin a showcase for her orthodontist’s skills. She hangs on slightly too long, he feels, signally a sexual availability that was so lacking when he was just the office clerk that brought her coffee.
He detaches for handshakes with the other guests: Brendan, who never paid back that loan, all those years ago; Harmony, who took credit for that first great idea that earned her a managers office; Carl, who refused the day off for his aunt’s funeral; Karen, who passed him over in favour of all the pretty lunkheads who toed the line and flirted with her. They grasp him firmly, they look in his eye, they play at respect, acknowledge that he is the master here. As he passes by he knows that behind him those smiles will freeze, and their eyes will harden, and they will wonder once more what they are doing here.
Because here they all are, the roster of ingrates and fools. The ones that refused him, the ones that hindered him, and the ones that simply ignored him. He did it without them, in some cases he did it in spite of them, creating in his own time what could have been theirs to share in. They must know this, even former flatmate Donald, the airhead who always stole his food and toiletries and always denied it, even he must know, deep down, that the simplest of gestures could have made all the difference to those years of toil. And yet here they are, at this inaugural gathering around the pool, in the sun, to celebrate his success.
He walks on, smiling, and waving and shaking hands and hugging, playing the host and making sure everyone is well catered for. He reaches the small raised hutch at the head of the pool, setup for an absent DJ, and stands before the bank of switches and dials. He raises his hand for attention, and thanks them all for coming, to help break in his new home, to be the first guests in his pool. He hopes they will be the first of many. So he has a simple request, that he can take a photograph of the pool, and all his guests. He raises the expensive camera above his head, and invites them all in.
So there they are, all of them, clustered in the pool, smiling and waving as he points the camera at them for this first photograph, this capturing of his apotheosis. This is his moment, the thing he has dreamed off since long before the success and money made it possible. He presses the shutter, and at the same moment as the picture is taken the charged capacitor under the hutch discharges into the water. He captures the moment of their death perfectly, faces frozen forever in shock and pain. One for the trophy wall.
Once the crackling has subsided he slowly walks back to the house, savoring the sun. A very successful first party, he feels. And now to start planning the next one.