Drop #22: At the Pool

At the pool, a young Chinese couple is teaching their son how to swim. He hangs on and kicks spasmodically. All three of them are wearing t-shirts, caps and goggles. Nearby, a young girl with earthy, chestnut skin and gangly limbs stands in the shallow end below a frangipani tree. It has shed cream petals for her to play with while her older sister, who must be between seventeen and twenty-three, fit and trim in a one piece, tans on a deck chair beside a white man in his seventies and a Speedo. He applies sunscreen, grimacing as if he’s in pain.

‘Sarah tells me you change when you drink,’ I tell Harry, rubbing my face with a small towel.

‘What’s that?’

‘She said you’re a nice guy, which I gathered myself, but become an asshole when you drink.’

‘She said that?’

‘Uhu. Is it true?’

‘Yeah.’ He hasn’t looked at me yet, staring now at the girl under the tree. ‘But only when I drink with an intent; not just casually.’

‘I got you. Drinking is a verb and a powerful one at that!’

‘But that happens quite often, I guess.’

‘I see.’

A couple arrives, making a fuss moving deck chairs into the sun.

‘Why do you ask, anyway? I’m not up for being judged.’

‘Oh no,’ I say. ‘That’s not my intention at all.’

‘Then what’s it to you?’ Harry looks at me now.

‘Well, I do the same and I’d like to compare notes.’

‘When you drink, you mean?’

‘Exactly. I become a different person. I get greedy and a little aggressive. How about you?’

‘Sure,’ he says, distant once more. ‘All that stuff. It is a chemical reaction, you know.’

‘What else happens?’

‘Come on, man! What do you hope to get out of this?’

‘I don’t know. Evolution, insight, solidarity. Or maybe I’m just curious. Sarah tells me you chase skirts when you drink.’


‘I do too. I see and I pursue. It can cause problems.’

‘That’s for damn sure!’

‘I start sulking when I don’t score,’ I say.


‘Oh yes. Like a baby. It’s one of my specialties, and I sometimes get nasty too. I’d hate to see video of myself in that state.’

The younger girl calls to her sister in French, her voice childishly round. Maybe they are from Martinique. The Chinese boy, arms raised, endures a vigorous rub down from his father.

‘Listen,’ Harry says. ‘I don’t really feel like talking about this shit anymore, OK?’

‘You got it, buddy. I was just making conversation, really.’

I lean back and watch the new couple undress, put on sun cream and get comfortable. The girl is attractive in a snotty, disillusioned way.

‘Man, I love small, perky breasts.’ I tell Harry. ‘What are you into?’

‘Availability,’ he says, turning away to face the bushes.

By E.M. Vireo


About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

2 Responses to Drop #22: At the Pool

  1. Like this. Like the ending; I like endings that have a bit of a jolt.

  2. M C says:

    Nice setting of the scene!

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