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Community Pool

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May 27, 2017

It was a beautiful day; you know, not too hot and not too windy. It was a perfect day for our first trip to our community pool. It was also Memorial Day; Oh, today left a memory alright.

My daughter and I arrived at the pool around noon. After lathering up with Spf 70 suntan lotion, I settled into the plastic lounge chair and flipped open my Jack Reacher novel. My daughter is a social butterfly and there were plenty of children at the pool that day for her to befriend. She waded into the pool and I began reading. The next thing I knew the whistle was sounding marking the fifteen-minute break.

Now, it was just after the first forty-five-minute session, at 12:45, when Kale, a nine-year-old boy spread his towel on the ground next to my seven-year-old daughter. At that very second, my daughter’s future flashed before my eyes, and it scared the shit out of me. At that very moment, I remembered the words of my friend, Brian Heffron, “With boys, you have to worry about one penis. With girls, you have to worry about them all.” I swallowed hard and contemplated what to do.

I felt movement behind me, and someone whispered, “First, they take your dog.”

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I turned a realized it was Keanu Reeves as Jon Wick wearing a white wife beater t-shirt and Armani swimming trunks. I stared at him for quite a while before giving a short quick nod in agreement.

A scraping sound of an aluminum chair being dragged across the cement woke me from my reverie, as someone sat down next to me.

“Then they TAKE your daughter.” A gruff voice announced.

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I turned towards the voice and saw Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills eased back in the chair holding a Coca-Cola dripping with condensation. He was bare-chested and wearing camouflage cargo pants. I saw myself in the mirrored wrap-around Ray Bans he wore to conceal his ever-shifting eyes, and I looked pissed.

“There’s cheese and crackers in the cooler. Help yourself, but don’t eat my daughter’s Goldfish. I got to see a man about a horse.” I said as I adjusted my cheap sunglasses.

I stood, stretched, a reapplied the suntan lotion. I wiped the excess on my faded swim trunks to clean my hands. As the lifeguards’ whistles sounded the next swimming session, I excused myself. All the while, my eyes followed Kale and my daughter.

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I crossed the hot cement and dropped down into the three-foot end of the pool.  My eyes hadn’t left my daughter, so I bumped into Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan. Dirty Harry wore green and black longboard shorts, but his collared shirt and pressed tie looked somewhat out of place in the pool, but who in their right mind is going to tell him that.

Harry and I watched as my daughter, who is never shy, dumped all of our pool toys into the water. It was like chumming the water as kids scrambled for the treasures.

“I need to protect my daughter’s virtue, but at what price?” I pondered.

My question was answered when a Stryker water pistol floated towards me and bumped into my thigh. 

I stared at it, when I heard Harry say, “Go ahead, make your day.”

There was screaming and chaos all around me as I scooped up the Stryker. I thumbed open the chamber and plunged it under water. As the chamber flooded, I scanned the pool for Kale. When I located the scrawny interloper, I realized how much I hate salad.

I waded slowly through the water towards him. When I closed the distance to a few feet, I raised the Stryker and fired two quick rounds into his forehead.

“Squirt! Squirt!”

Feeling vindicated as to saving my daughter’s virtue, I relaxed. It was then I heard from behind me the three cruelest words ever uttered against me, “Let’s get grandpa!”

Blasts from my own arsenal supplied by my own daughter ripped into my head and torso.

I saw movement to my left as someone jumped into the pool feet first and landed next to me. The SPLOOSH sprinkled my sunglasses with water. I turned and there beside me stood Michael Douglass as William Forrest in cut-off blue jeans and a Sun Pacific collared Hawaiian shirt. He smiled a big grin showing off his pearly whites.

He spoke bluntly, “You’re not a vigilante. You’re just trying to get home to your daughter’s birthday party.”

“Wait, my daughter’s birthday is in March, and she is standing over there on the deck. That story is not going to play for any jury.”

“Work with me here. You are a teacher, and it’s the end of the school year. Every jury I know will let you off with an insanity plea. Now, do you want to take down these ankle biters or not? Hell, it’s only to get worse from here. Think about her teenage years.”

He glanced down into the water at a Stream Machine with an extended barrel. It was a fine weapon allowing for four bursts from one fully loaded cylinder.

As I looked down at it, I heard Harry call from across the pool, “Go ahead, make your day. Again.”

“Saving my daughter’s virtue is going to 24/7/365-day job. Might as well start today!” I shouted as I moved like lightning.

I grabbed the Stream Machine and plunged it under the water. I pulled back the handle, and water flooded the cylinder. 

I was locked and loaded in under two seconds, as Harvey Keitel as Mr. White, wearing just a blue Speedo, whispered, “You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize.” He slapped me on the back like a proud father, then I turned and opened fire on the rest of salad bar.

There were four of them, and it felt like I was facing the Goonies. However, Mikey Walsh was replaced by a girl with brunette hair in pigtails wearing a pink one-piece swimsuit. Data was easier to spot because he wore googles on his forehead and blue Swim Kids’ trunks. Mouth happened to be the smallest kid. He didn’t talk, but he never stopped smiling. He couldn’t hide because of his yellow SpongeBob t-shirt. Chunk, the last of the Goonies, was a thin, pale boy with freckles wearing red trunks and a white t-shirt.

I took down Mikey Walsh first with a quick pump, “Sp-it.” Back off, feminists. She just happened to be my closest target. Next, Data stormed forward feeling heroic. I knew he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, because he wore goggles on the top of his forehead. I gave him a quarter pump to the face, “Sploosh!” I waited for him to wipe his face clear and locate me, then I unloaded another quarter pump into his mug, “Sploosh!” I raised my weapon a third time, and he thought better than to make another charge. 

As I watched Data scamper off, I felt bits of shrapnel pierce my right earlobe. I turned and stood waist to face with Chunk, the thin, pale boy with freckles. I emptied what was left of the clip up this kid’s nostrils. 

Mouth, the last remaining crouton in this salad bowl, was grinning ear to ear knowing I was out of ammo. He was the smallest one of the group, a Hispanic boy, and he was moving fast towards me thinking that “Grandpa” was a goner. Mouth was three feet away and raising another Stryker pistol at my face. I disarmed him with a move straight out of the Matrix before he knew what had happened and unloaded his own weapon into his face. I followed him all the way across the pool, emptying the clip. “Squirt! Squirt! Squirt! Squirt!”

This time, Data and his goggles returned, and he still had not placed the protective gear over his eyes. 

As luck would have it, I had ended up by the pool’s water purifier and the water was being sucked through it. The Stream Machine was floating directly towards me. I took two long strides and in one fluid motion grabbed the cylinder, filled the chamber, and came up firing. I closed the gap on Data all the while releasing one powerful stream into his face. “SPLOOOSSH!”

I shouted, “For goodness sake, put the goggles over your eyes!” 

As he did what I asked, I reloaded the cylinder. Data, now with goggles in place, was once again feeling heroic. He charged at me letting loose with a gut-wrenching, “Arrrgh!” Unfazed, I unloaded the full chamber of the Stream Machine into his open mouth, “SPLOOOOOSSH!”

I heard someone utter, “Gotta love the mouth breathers.”

I looked up and there on the deck, wearing a full wetsuit including fins and snorkel, was Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield. He nodded at me and said, “Go on, you know you want to say it.”

I inhaled deeply and shouted, “I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my daughter. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!”

I plunged the cylinder yet again and loaded the weapon to its maximum capacity. Everyone in the pool was now my intended target. Rivers of water streamed off the barrel as I rose it from the water and took aim.

“TWEEEEEEET! TWEET! TWEET!” sounded the lifeguards’ whistles ending the session.

“Time for Cheetos and Mountain Dew,” I announced. 

I flipped the weapon over my shoulder and made my way to the ladder to exit the water. Jules Winnfield offered me a hand exiting the pool.

We made our way over to my table where my two kids were already unloading the snack bag. 

Keanu, Liam, Michael, and Harvey were playing poker. Samuel took an open chair and joined the group. 

Harvey looked up at me and said, “Relax, you’ve got thirteen minutes until the next session. Should we deal you in?”

“No thanks,” I answered. “I am just going to grab a few minutes of shut eye. Wake me at the whistle.”

I eased back in the lounge chair and made myself comfortable. I closed my eyes and slept pleasantly for the rest of the afternoon.

John Duttonhttps://www.spilledinkva.com/
John L. Dutton II has nineteen years of teaching experience ranging from elementary school to high school. The last fourteen of those years he has taught language arts to middle school students. He strives to make language arts appealing to adolescents through hands-on activities along with integrating technology into the classroom to enhance needed life skills. He has been active in two writing groups, Write by the Rails (WbtR) and the Prince William Poet Laureate Circle, since December of 2013. He is a life member of the Virginia Writers’ Club and the Poetry Society of Virginia. He is also the creator of Spilled Ink VA, an open-mic night that celebrates the written word.

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