Authors: Karl Flinders
Tags: #Gay & Lesbian
MY NAME IS GRANT LATTIMER. RING ANY BELLS? No? Yet when I was nine, there were those who regarded Lattimer as the most notorious name in America. My grandmothermy mother's mothertried to persuade me to change it legally to hers, insisting that my own name would brand me for life.
I was stubborn. I refused to change. Her lawyers persuaded her not to force me. But she won a small victory. I remained on her heavily-guarded Maryland estate with private tutors. I had wanted, for the first time in my life, to go to school. I pictured other boys saying, Are you
Lattimer? and being wildly embarrassed when I said I was.
I don't know what made me lust for notoriety. I've gotten over it. I am richer by far than many whose wealth is their one claim to fame, and yet you've never heard of
It is ridiculously easy to avoid the spotlight. If you don't, it's your own fault.
If you should look up the name Lattimer in back issues of any American newspaper, the banner headlines, especially in tabloids, would make you wonder too that such notoriety could fade away. What was curiously lacking, even in the tabloids, was even one picture of my handsome father. Know why? An article in
The New Yorker
a short time after the trial explained it. Most newspaper publishers and their editors, so belligerently blatant about gross lapses in morality (except their own) felt it wrong and unnatural that so depraved a killer should look radiantly handsome and even normal. It would confuse people. Can you imagine
medium being so considerate today? Back then it was considered necessary to the well-being of the people that a depraved, perverted person
depraved. Otherwise people might begin to wonder if their tall, handsome president or senator or movie star had dark secrets.
Of course nowadays what used to be called perversions have become so much a way of life, I doubt you'd find that the details the news media then released so gingerly would shock you. But at that time even the scandal sheets trod carefully about the facts of the case.
I had not meant to go so deeply into this, for what happened between my father and my mother does not concern this story. But as they say, everything that ever happened to us has a part in shaping our motivations, so perhaps spelling out a few things will make my actions seem less gratuitous to you. And I shall tell it as fully as I know how, supplying facts I have accumulated through patient research, subtle probings, discreet overhearings in the years since it happened. For example: I had not known until recently that my father had been my maternal grandfather's lover before he married my mother, and that before my grandfather died, he offered my mother an enormous trust fund (so she'd not be financially dependent on
mother) if she'd marry my father. It was when I learned this that, for me, everything else fell into place. It is the bare fact, and yet is not all the truth. I don't think my mother would have married my father if she hadn't loved himor at least have been infatuated with him, for he was extraordinarily handsome. I have not the slightest doubt that my grandmother knew of the affair. Her marriage to my grandfather had been one of those unions of two great fortunes, no love match. Her pride must have been hurt. If she tried to win my mothertheir only childaway from the dirty pederast she failed, for my mother loved her father.
My grandmother did succeed in destroying all
of my father. I can see him in my mind's eye, but I have no pictures of him. I once hired an expensive research agency to find me one. They failed. They couldn't even come up with a police photo from which I might have had a portrait painted. Someone, a distinguished journalist who had known my father even before he became my grandfather's lover, once let slip that he believed my father had made a blue movie. I have bought up and viewed literally hundreds of prints of these, but have never found him.
The event which robbed me of both my parents had its beginnings in my grandfather's finding someone on whom he could safely lavish more attention than on my mothernot that he was attracted to her sexually. Did she ever resent the interloper? Finally, did she consciously set out to destroy my father? I doubt it. I don't think she was that astuteor bright, if you willto have deliberately plotted his destruction, or to have carried it out so completely. I think it was a case of isolated, casual events combining to an explosive mixture.
More directly, the tragedy (for that is how I regard it, no matter how sordid it was) had its beginnings in my grandmother's decreeing that I must not be sent away to school. There had been a spectacular kidnapping the year beforethe name escapes me, for all its notoriety then, and I see no reason to look it upand she had such a sense of family pride, I think she
I would be a likely kidnapping prospect, and so persuaded my parents to hire a tutor for me.
Unfortunately she didn't pick the tutor. My mother did. He was a tennis bum", two years out of Vanderbilt, not conventionally handsome but strikingly sexy-looking. His name was Jack Foster. He quickly admitted to being one of the North Carolina Fosters, more reluctantly admitted to being only a cousin of the main line. He'd been the best in tennis at Vanderbilt. It must have been sobering to find on graduating that Vanderbilt's best was hardly championship material elsewhere. Nevertheless, he was entered in many top tourneys, but rarely got beyond the first elimination. He had no other interests in life, I take it, than tennis and sex. Significantly, he was active in the one, passive in the other.
My mother was no tennis player, so I presume it was sex that brought them together. They may have met casually from time to time before the mutual interest flowered, since Jack moved resolutely on the fringes of the society of which my mother was very much a part. I am only guessing that they started the affair before Jack was hired as my tutor. I believe my mother wouldn't have thought of him if he hadn't been a good lover. People had to be useful to her, and I doubt if she'd have hired Jack simply for
Let me say right here, before you get the wrong impression, that my mother loved me, and showered affection on me. So did my father. But, curiously, it was only when they were alone with me. Furthermore, they seemed to
being alone with me. When the three of us were together, they made a game out of being indifferent to me. I recognized it as a game, and they knew that I did. Otherwise I don't think they'd have done it. The reason they played this game was that they felt it important when together to erect a facade of self-sufficiency. It was, after all, an awkward situation. Without my father, my mother would have had to depend on her mother for every penny; and without my mother, my father would not have had a penny, for my grandfather left him nothing except my mother.
When they were alone with me, they never showed impatience. They seemed contented and relaxed. Even then I was aware that their beauty, for each of them, was nearly all they had. They were uncomfortable in the presence of an intellectual and didn't even pretend to like reading or good music. They lived from moment to moment. It would have been tragic had either survived even into middle age, for it was their youth and beauty that made others want to be with them. They had nothing else.
Naturally, as the child of such outstandingly attractive (physically) people, I was a plain child. I was never unattractive. I was merely ordinary-looking. Still am. I am inconspicuous, and that's the way I like it. Not long ago, I overheard someone in our set talking about me, amazing an acquaintance telling him I was worth fifty millions.
asked the acquaintance with an incredulity that delighted me. This is exactly the way I want it.
Actually, I am
worth fifty millions. I do not have a cent of my own. The family fortune, especially since the scandal, has been so tied up in trusts I don't have a cent of capital, merely a comfortable income, the extent of which is none of your business.
The point I want to make about the affection my parents showered on me separately, until events intervened, is that it should indicate to even the most suspicious psychoanalytical mind that my choosing to remain inconspicuous was a choice. Others that I know, some of them more than inconspicuous, some downright ugly, have been able to emerge as strikingly handsome thanks to new hair and beard styles, and I am glad for them. My own hair is kept longer than it was two years ago, for short hair is rapidly becoming as conspicuous as long hair once was. Thanks to a clever but expensive barber, it is neither long nor short, but an inconspicuous compromise.
To get back to my mother's relationship with my tutor, Jack Foster, it is only a guess that they became lovers before she hired him. At the time of the trial this was broadly hinted, but not a word leaked out that both my parents were infatuated with him. But even my parents never guessed, nor did Jack Foster, that I, too, was infatuated with him; that through this sudden, unreasoning infatuation came my first active sexual awareness.
Freud insists that a person is a sexual animal from the very beginning, emerges from the womb a sex fiend. I will not argue with this. In my case, the awareness that I was a sexual animal came with the sudden infatuation. I was nine years old.
How much must I tell you? Is masturbation any longer considered a private sin? Apparently not, at least in sophisticated circles. My infatuation with Jack Foster led to my first clumsy attempts. At night my pillow became his body holding me tight. The instinctive rubbing of my loins against the firm pillow discovered masturbation for me, but I quickly learned the sexual uses of my hands. There is only one person in the world I would never want to know about this infatuation, and he is dead. Jack Foster.
What surprises was that this target of a whole family's infatuation (even my grandmother heartily endorsed his being hired as my tutor at a ridiculously fat wage despite his inexperience) was in no way handsome. But he exuded sexuality as only a certain type of athlete can. Exactly as I felt it crucial to conceal my infatuation from him, my parents felt it important to reveal theirs. Perhaps it was because they were beautiful and knew it, had confidence in their desirability; and I was plain and knew it. But if things had not ended, I think I might have told my mother of my infatuation, and she might have persuaded him to let me make love to him. Even in my wildest imaginings I never fantasied his doing anything to me, except perhaps holding me, expressing pleasure at my worshipful actions. For even without experience I knew instinctively what could bring sexual pleasure.
I could not have told my father of the infatuation. I think he would have been jealous.
When Jack Foster finished playing tennis with my parents, especially with my father, I would slip into his room and steal his musky jockstrap, substituting another for it, and go to sleep that night with my face burrowed in it. I was never found out, though both my parents, separately of course, often slipped into my room late at night if they had not kissed me goodnight earlier.
With my infatuation, naturally, it became important to me to see my tutor naked, so that when I buried my face in his jockstrap, I could fantasize accurately.
At this point, in all fairness, I should remark that Jack was a good tutor. I knew this at the time, and had it confirmed in the incompetence I encountered afterwards in his successors. I suspect he surprised himself as much as anyone.
His body was solid but hardly beautiful. His legs were a shade too short for his torso; they were lightly bowed, but powerful calves made them attractive. He was much given to wearing shorts even before it became common, for he was aware how muscular his legs looked in motion.
Would I have been disappointed if his genitals had been average? I think my infatuation was intense enough to have overcome this. But as a matter of fact his genitals were as strikingly sexual limp as in erection. He wore a supporter at all times when he was dressed, so that strangers never got an inkling of how superbly he was hung, though his whole being exuded such sexuality that both the sexually deprived and the sexually oriented clustered about him.
Our rooms were not adjoining; that is, they were not off the same hallway, but they were back-to-back. I had a closet that shared a wall with his bedroom (he had a suite of rooms, as I did), and with great care I drilled a hole in the closet wall, into the design of his elaborate wallpaper, so that it would never be detected. And through this hole I was able to spy on him.
I never saw him naked except in his room, where he invariably dressed when we went to one of the swimming pools. He often saw
naked, but seemed reluctant to have me see
naked. I didn't imagine this. On occasions when it would have been natural for me to see him naked, he went out of his way to prevent it. In swim trunks he always wore a powerful supporter. He was not vain then about being so well hung.
How well? His cock and balls were not grotesquely large (there are those who would say genitals are never grotesque, no matter how large), but when he was naked in his room, the sight of his genitals limp was sufficient to drive me to wild masturbation. It was not that his cock was so large. He was uncircumcised, his cock looked extremely heavy, an impression reinforced by the way it swung as he walked. It looked so heavy that it seemed to pull sharply on his abdomen by its sheer weight. His testicles, though large and not really enormous, also gave the impression of being solid and heavy, seeming to strain at his scrotum. His balls hung to the length of his cock. Their bulk seemed not only to push them out from his thighs, but also to keep his cock pushed out, so that despite its apparent weight it did not hang straight down.