Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The closest thing you'll get to an afternoon in the pool around here is a lukewarm shower. It doesn't even really run cold; the taps are too warm. Burried too close to the surface; the sun gets to them same as it gets to every other damn thing, and the water heats up. Turn on the cold and end up with the hot anyway. Not that I mind so much to tell you the truth; my skin is so thick now that I can barely feel the water splash my back, let alone tell you whether it's cold or not.

But still; it's the nearest you'll get to a pool.

I mean, sure the neighbors they've got them, those high sided above ground types, but would you really want to go in one of them? Leaves everywhere, slugs on the decking probably, and infestation of some kind. And if you asked; if you even wanted to ask, they'd only tell you: some other time anyway. They're always rushing off somewhere; the grocery store, to pick up gas, the kids, the dogs, the Grandmother from the airport. Anytime you're locked out, or need a Philipshead, or the number for those fuckers that pick up the recycling.

So you're not going to go begging down the block, to people you've never even met, maybe seen them around at the market, or down by Shipleys, or Wallmart even, but you've never had a conversation, have no idea of their names, and are certainly in no rush to make small talk while you lean against the side of their splintering deck, trying to catch your breath after only a couple of lengths. It'd be one thing if any of them had a real pool; all blue tile and diving board. A lounge chair or two. A grill on the deck. A fucking water-wing.

Anyway, a luke warm shower is better than an afternoon overstaying your welcome. Even if you could get in there in the first place. They lock the gates. You could climb over after-dark, but by then it's not even so hot, and it seems like too much effort to get the step ladder. Besides they'd only wake up and call the cops, and where would you be? Floating on your back in your Speedos, staring up at the Big Fucking Dipper and waiting for the sun to come up. So sponge your back. Bury your face beneath the shower head, an avalanche of water straight to the crown; let it flow down your sideburns, cover your ears until- like the cave behind the waterfall- there is no other noise; just the sound of the lukewarm Texas water.

Covering your head; a thick blanket, drumming against your earlobes.

An old girlfriend once told you how unhygenic it was to use the sponge to clean your face.

But it's the shower, and everything in there is clean
Including you?
Including me. It's just one part of my body to the next.

But she kept going on about how she knew for a fact you used the sponge on your dick - why wouldn't you- and probably your ass crack. And at the very least your feet. So why in the hell would you wipe it across your face, mop your brow with the water as it fell from the tap? Like a lot of times back then, you told her to mind her own fucking business, and went about your usual routine. Except of course when you came to wash your face, and you stared at the sponge for several minutes. Thinking about your ass crack, among other things, you dropped it into the little wire basket on the side of the tub, and made a bowl with your hands. Of course you never told her, and it was never mentioned again. And still, to this day, you miss the smell of the wet sponge, one of the only things you can remember from childhood, that you kept with you at least once a day: biting off a chunk, chewing the water out, sucking on it and spitting it back into the bath. Have you ever tried to explain the way water smells? It smells like it tastes: an impossible odorless nothing; a tasteless quenching of thirst. A little soapy.