was healthy. Until the age of ten or eleven nudity had been an innocent and unconscious pleasure.
Since puberty, however, being naked among other people had become a source of confusion.
After a restless night filled with sexy dreams, followed by a never-ending day at school, he
cycled to a public swimming pool on the other side of the city to avoid running into kids he knew.
There were few swimmers but the grassed area, stretching about fifty metres towards a diamond-
wire fence, was jammed with half naked, mostly overweight bodies sunbathing, picnicking under
the trees, or standing around hoping to be admired. Females were scantily clad; males wore bulky
shorts from navel to knee. He was going to look like a hummingbird among toads.
The thought buoyed him, but to be o n the safe side Sebastian asked the pool guard if it was OK
to wear backless togs. The fellow shrugged and pointed out three bare bummed women in thongs,
sunbathing while their toddlers played.
‗You couldn‘t look worse than those great fat arses,‘ he sneered. ‗If anyone complains I‘ll tell
them to bugger off.‘ He looked Sebastian up and down and asked, ‗You on your own?‘
‗We‘ve had a bit of stealing so put your gear behind the door of my office." He indicated a blue
door to the right of the changing rooms.
‗Thanks! I owe you! It‘s a nuisance having to watch stuff all the time.‘
‗No worries.‘ The guard moved on.
To prevent chaos, those who wanted to swim lengths were only allowed to use the four lanes in
the centre, in one direction, from the diving boards to the changing rooms. They then had to get out
and walk back to dive or jump in again. Sebastian bravely wandered along the side of the pool,
pulses thumping wildly, senses acutely aware of wolf-whistles from a gaggle of girls, stares of
incomprehension from teen-aged boys, and the spotlight gaze of dozens of older men and women.
Despite a very audible, ‗Fucking exhibitionist!‘ from somewhere near the middle of the
sunbathers, he felt more alive than ever before in his life. Proud yet wary. Posture perfect.
Determinedly nonchalant. Apparently unaware that he was wearing anything unusual.
With disarming modesty he walked to the end of the diving board, bounced a couple of times
then dived neatly in, swimming to the other end and hauling himself out; giving his audience a view
of the best buttocks ever to grace the place.
The pool guard was standing in front of the office and beckoned Sebastian over.
‗Have you stuffed your pouch?‘ he asked with a grin.‘
Sebastian shook his head nervously, staring a t his reflection in the mirror-glass window behind
the guard. ‗No. Is it rude?‘
‗Of course not. There‘s nothing more pathetic than a guy in a pouch with nothing to fill it. You're
making me jealous.‘
Sebastian took a quick look at the guard‘s well- muscled body and grinned. ‗I‘m jealous of your
The guard laughed, flexed his biceps, winked and wandered away.
Against the boundary fence under a gaudy umbrella, a large woman of indeterminate age fixed
her eyes on Sebastian as he sauntered to the diving board and did a perfect pike. The next time he
walked past she sat up and waved.
―Sebastian! Sebastian!‘ she screeched, making a hundred heads turn first to her and then to the
almost naked young man who suddenly wished he was wearing a wet-suit. He recognised her
immediately. Massive Martha. Until this year Sebastian had delivered evening papers for her News
agency. She screeched again. She‘d been his boss for four years so ignoring her wasn‘t an option
and he realised he didn‘t want to; this was his excuse to get right in among the crowd. Picking his
way between dozens of curious men, mothers, children and sunbathing teenagers, stepping carefully
over bags and towels, he occasionally looked down and winked at eyes glued to his groin.
Martha, solid and squat in a black bikini that made no attempt to cover everything bikinis were
supposed to, was ensconced on an enormous towel, propping her bulk against the wire of the
boundary fence. A profusion of solid flesh, straight grey hair hacked off at the level of her earlobes,