The Water Way

J. T. Townley

Dr. Marcie’s pool through the ten-foot security gate.  A huge, curved teardrop, or half a yin yang, made of gunite and plaster.  The clear water shimmers in the California sunlight.  Poolside, Shirley the goat chews the cushion of a chaise lounge.

A luxury sedan hums down the street behind me.  I grip the iron bars and wait.  Unseen birds chirp in the trees; a cool breeze blows.  Now I’m up and over, agile as a lynx, but the Tony Llama on my left foot catches the top of the gate.  I hang there, midair, long enough to wonder what time Dr. Marcie will be home.  I tug at my boot, struggling to dislodge it.  Instead, my foot slips out, and I land in a rosemary bush.

I limp across the deck to the water.  Shirley pauses mid-mastication and stares at me.  I reach up to scratch my head at the mystery of it, only to notice my black felt Stetson is missing.  Maybe I lost it in the fall?  I imagine myself wading into the water and slowly sinking to the bottom, only to realize I’m already there.  So I dig a raft out of the shed and slide it into the pool.  On the first step, my right boot filling with water, I lie back onto the raft and push myself away from the side toward the deep end.

Shirley gives me a tinny bleat.

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