Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Part I

We decided to go swimming the night we arrived, and trotted over to the pool to check things out ahead of time, because our hosts live in an apartment and there were weird red-headed mutant ducks hanging around the complex pond that scared me. So Josh The Pilot and I verified that the pool was open—there was another couple hanging around-- and duck-free, and, best of all, marked by fountain spigots shaped like the heads of lions. Water poured from the mouths of the lions into the pool and the hot tub, and I thought it was very fine, this idea of swimming in recirculated lion spit.

There are worse things in which to swim. For example, when we returned after changing into our swimsuits, the other couple we had seen there was now having intercourse against the edge of the hot tub. You’d think this would wave us off, but no, I didn’t want to feel stupider than I already did by admitting that I’d seen what I’d seen, so I stuck with my original level of uncomfortableness and marched to the pool, dragging Josh The Pilot with me. Perhaps this could become a teachable moment.

And then: The teenagers. A great swarm of them rose up from behind the hedges, and their idea of a good time on a Saturday night was to sit in a large pack in front of the complex clubhouse, sheathed in scraps of denim and calling one another from two feet away on their cell phones. Flip-flops were thrown. I aged.

The young hormones departed; we edged towards the hot tub. The other couple asked permission to smoke. I told them I didn’t mind, seeing as sex in public wasn’t much good without a nice Kool to top it off. If you want a classy evening, you have to go the whole nine.

Eventually the other couple drifted off too, and the water got cold. So we stood up, which must have activated some sort of silent alarm, because that is when the cops appeared.

I mean, it was the county sheriff. “Pool’s closed,” he announced.

“Well, that’s quite the coincidence,” I said brightly. “We were just leaving.”

“It closed at sundown,” he said. “The owners are very serious about it.” And you could really tell they were very serious, judging by the non-padlocked pool gates and the lack of posted hours and the roaring hum of the hot tub heater.

“You live here?”

We shook our heads, and, because we were very very legitimate people, I said, “Yes, we’re the guests of Mr. and Mrs… um… um…I don’t know the last name” which was mitigated by Josh The Pilot’s helpful addition of, “They live right over… I can’t remember the number, but yeah, it’s right over there.” He then made a grand sweeping gesture that encompassed maybe eight buildings’ worth of apartments.

Then the notebook came out. “You have ID?”

Yes, because the first thing I pick up on my way out the door to the pool is my library card and proof of insurance.

“Full name and date of birth?”

We told him, and I aged some more, and then he actually got on the little radio and called our names in. He actually did the whole last-name-first thing, and for the first time in front of my back I was refered to as “white female,” which was actually a melanin upgrade, because if you are going to arrest me, you are also going to have to impound the sunblock I brought along at 10:30 at night.

Well, Josh the Pilot wasn’t on the grid, and I guess my parole officer took care of the most recent narcotics trafficking charges, because he asked us if anybody else had been around. We then described the teenagers and the other couple, who, I swear, were totally here like ten seconds ago. It was absolutely the most perjurous-sounding thing I have ever heard, and it was coming out of my mouth, to a person with the keys to a squad car.

Then the backup showed up. He’d called backup. Because nothing spells “homicidal crime spree” like a freelance writer and a former male cheerleader whose combined height is maybe eleven feet.

They let us go. Whether it was The Rack, or the testimony of the lions, they let us go.

But the ducks were watching. They... know things.

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