You never appreciate how unworldly you are, until you leave the confines of the only world youve ever known. Naivety is only part of it. Id grown up on the Left Coast of the United States, and even though I am a certified commercial pilot, I had lived my entire 24 years along the beaches of Southern California. Happily. I was a water boy from the word go, Mom was into water-birthing. I was learning to swim at six months and surfing at 6 years. I love to dive, snorkel, and swim. Good genes and an active, outdoor lifestyle had helped tone my 511 frame into a taught, tan and muscular 170lbs. I could never manage a ripped six pack, but I was in perfect proportion. My shoulders, pecs, and arms actually looked like they belonged with the rest of my body. I wore my chestnut hair short on the sides, longer on the top and when I bothered to style it, it was called a faux hawk. My nose fits my face, and Ive never been called ugly, except those times I deserved it. But that was awhile ago, when I had my life figured out. I had it all, and now I didnt; a beautiful girlfriend, a condo near the beach, dogs, great friends. Then I got greedy. The girl ran off with another guy, and I would have done the same, except the guy I wanted to run off with stayed with my best friend. I still ran off. As attached as I am to the water, I also love the air. Ive flown planes since I was fourteen, and now, nearly 25, it was finally my occupation. A beautiful Brazilian Billionairess seduced me into being a private pilot for her Caribbean resort. No shit! So now I fly boats. Im industrious, so I married my love of the water to my love of flying, and my job is to shuttle very important persons between islands and on sight-seeing tours. Dont call it a seaplane, though. Its a flying boat. I also used it to hit every surf spot I could reach. There were few out of my reach. In addition to a private one-bedroom bungalow at the resort, I negotiated fifty-percent ownership in a 1955 Grumman Albatross, G404, 137931, that had special meaning for me. I owned fifty percent of the plane I flew, outright, and my tenure at the resort would buy me more over time. It was a complicated formula her lawyers used, but mine said it was a good deal. Maybe on paper. When the Brazilian Billionairess offered me the job, she said it was because she only wanted beautiful people at her ultra-exclusive resort. She did not lie. The staff was as young and pretty, as the main house of the colonial plantation, was ancient. Actually, it looked brand new and I never got over the feeling of stepping back in time, each time I landed and set foot back on the island. It was a private resort. It was a private island, and the only way to reach it was by boat or seaplane. No near neighbors, to speak of. It really had been a plantation during the colonial eras. It was a rum distillery for several generations after that, and it had all of the Caribbean charm and flavor the region is known for. Paradise doesnt begin to explain it. The waters are warm, blue, and breathtaking. The sand is never too hot and must be shipped in periodically to prevent erosion. Fantasy Island might be a better description. In addition to the main house, guest house, boat house and docks, there were 12 private bungalows, each with its own fenced patio with a hot tub. Private. Mine was number 9. They were spread out evenly and haphazardly around the island and they were all equidistant to the main house, and the beaches. When I arrived in late October, it was off season. We were booked solid from the middle of December through the end of February, and thats what we called busy season. The snow-trapped privileged bailed on the cold weather at home in favor of sub-tropical treasures, like this little island. As part of the Covington conglomerate, it was established as a resort. You couldnt hop online and book a room there. Invitations were extended to executives, endorsers and friends of the various companies Covington owned, and their families. Celebrity status could get you a room, but you most likely still had to know someone. Mostly, the guest list included wealthy financiers and their screaming families, celebrities, and sometimes, royalty. The week of Christmas we had a full house and I logged enough hours in the cockpit to qualify for a status upgrade on my certificates. There were two U.S. Senators and their entire broods, two congressmen, but one was a woman, and their brats, and several members of the Dutch Royal House, and their staff. We also saw an Academy Award-winning actress, now in her seventies, as well as a severely amped up rocker from the seventies. The one I couldnt get my eyes off, was the much-in-demand-at-the-moment pop star. She treated me indifferently, and by that I mean, she never even noticed me. I did what I could to be noticed, too. I seldom wear shirts anymore and when I do, its usually a light button down that isnt buttoned. From the moment I landed here I realized it was a different world. Lysa had said she wanted only beautiful people working at her resort, and when I met the rest of the staff, I felt out of place. A full compliment of sixty staff for sixteen acres, year-round. I was one of them. I was staff, but I had assumed a higher status. I was the only staff member to have a private bungalow, and there was only one person on the island I answered to, and thats because I was pussy whipped.