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The Pool

The pool was supposed to make everything better for my family. And now, looking back on how awful everything got in such a short amount of time for us, it just doesn’t seem real to me. 

But maybe things were always bad and stink rotten sour at the core of my shiny happy All American family and all it took was something like a haunted swimming pool to push us all over the edge. 

I mean, things had been kind of crappy between Mom and Dad for a long time. I heard them yelling at each other a ton.

 Whenever things got too Apocalypse Now, I just retreated to my room and listened to comedy podcasts on my iPhone (My favorite was WTF with Marc Maron) and dreamed about when I was going to get out of Texas, head to L.A. and start doing standup at the Comedy Store or the Laugh Factory. 

But now, instead of studying Algebra, I’ve decided to go back and review how this whole bloody damn thing went tits up in just 4 months. 

I mean, I’m barely hanging on in school, Scratches is dead, Dad works at Office Depot and Mom is slinging hash as a Waffle House Waitress. 

It was the pool. I told everyone it was that goddamn pool. Good thing that I chronicled this whole adventure in my Blog or else no one would believe me. All right, here we go…

Zach’s Blog, November 9th 2018

I got a D- on my Algebra Test. Dad was livid. I mean he got all Wrath of Khan on me as soon as he barged into my room and demanded to see my test paper. Bad grades in Math were a big No No around the Murphy Household. My Dad (a hotshot engineer at Texas Instrument) wasn’t about to have his son fail Math and not get into the University of Texas. 

I tried to tell him that Mrs. Johnston was a harpy from the lowest levels of hell, and the old doorknob had it in for me, that nobody in the 9th grade at Bob Jones High School could stand the old witch, and that everybody was doing bad except for Betty Sue Lindmore and this Asian Kid whose name I can’t pronounce. Well, Dad didn’t cotton too well to that explanation.

“Zachary Taylor Murphy. Excuses are for losers. You either ship up and start studying harder or you can find another house to live in. Maybe that Asian kid’s family will take you in,” Dad said and left my room, leaving me to stew and crack open my math book to wow myself with imaginary numbers for another evening.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot we’re getting a pool. 

Big deal. It’s not like I’ve got any friends. Mom will probably just invite all her Flower and Garden Club Buddies over for Mai Tais and Margaritas. Dad will get everyone from the office to come over for BBQ, and I’ll just camp out in my room like I’ve always done and listen to podcasts. Life sucks and then you die.

Zach’s Blog, November 12th 2018

Work started on the pool. 

I came home and the whole back of the house was filled up with pool guys. Dad wanted this whole thing done in a month or so, and a small army descended on the house. I tried to study but the sound of the damn backhoe got to be too much, so I just put on my headphones and listened to Richard Pryor.

Zach’s Blog, November 14th 2018

Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser around Casa Del Murphy. The workmen found some bones. I didn’t get a good look at them, but Dad told me that they were just the bones of a dog or a stray cat. Nothing to worry about here. Maybe. Maybe not. One of the workmen cut his hand badly on one of the steel rods that they use to frame the pool. Blood was everywhere. It looked like the set of one of those 80s slasher films that Amy likes to watch. Totally gross. They had to take the poor guy to the emergency room. Fortunately, somebody knew how to apply a tourniquet, or the dude would have lost his hand.

Zach’s Blog, November 15th 2018

I had a weird dream last night. 

Okay, it was more like a nightmare. I was running through this jungle, birds shrieked in the trees, and then suddenly I fell into a deep pit. 

There was a pool of murky black water at the bottom of the pit and suddenly out of the water come all these zombies. Awful looking creatures. 

They shambled toward me, opened their mouths and unleashed these terrible cries of pain and suffering. That’s when I woke up. I wasn’t screaming, but I felt like it. 

I couldn’t go back to sleep. I just lay there in bed and watched the pale glow of the moon streaming through my window.

Zach’s Blog, November 22nd 2018

Our dog Scratches has gone missing. 

Mom is balls out upset. I went down for breakfast and found her crying in the breakfast nook. Scratches is old and all. They got him at the Pug Rescue twelve years ago. Mom asked me if I had seen him. I told her that I heard him barking last night. I’ve never head the old guy get so worked up. Finally, Dad yelled at him to shut up and that seemed to do the trick. 

Cut to today and suddenly he’s missing. I told Mom that he couldn’t have gotten far. If he doesn’t come back, all we can do is put up posters in the neighborhood. I can’t imagine some geriatric old dog like Scratches running away. Still, Mom is worried. Dad is secretly happy. He never liked Scratches. He was always Mom’s dog. Dad’s more of a cat guy. 

Oh yeah, work on the pool is almost finished. They poured the concrete yesterday. Now we just need to add water.

Hey guys, Zach here. If you’ve come with me this far then you’re probably thinking that this has all the classic signs of a cheesy horror movie. I mean let’s look at everything that has happened.

1. Weird Bones found in the ground.

2. Shit goes haywire. Workman almost loses his hand.

3. Hero has bad dreams about zombies.

4. Dog goes missing.

This would be the part in the movie when everyone is thinking that the characters are total blockheads for not moving out of the state. 

This is also usually the part of the movie where the Navajo Medicine Man shows up and explains that the sub division we live in was built on a sacred Indian Burial Ground, and that we should probably just move out of State. 

There’s never a happy ending in these scenarios. 

Still, my good ole Dad doesn’t turn his back on equity, and I tried Googling Navajo Medicine Men. The nearest one was in Arizona and wanted to charge five thousand bucks for a pool cleansing! 

No way, I’ve got that kind of coin laying around. All right, let’s get back to the blog and I’ll tell you how this all ended.

Zach’s Blog, December 10th 2018

The Pool is finished. Too bad it’s December and cold outside. Dad thinks the pool looks great. He wanted to go for a swim. The Pool is heated and all that. Mom’s worried about the electrical bill, but I can tell that she can’t wait for the spring when she can invite her cronies over for tea and crumpets or whatever they like to eat at those Garden Club Meetings. 

I’m just looking forward to winter break. Algebra is totally kicking my behind. At this rate I’ll be lucky to get a D. I

I even joked with Mrs. Johnston about mowing her lawn or painting her house for extra credit. The old battle ax just shot me the death glared and then said, “Mr. Murphy extra credit is for the weak minded and the slack offs who can’t buckle down, and do the real work that it takes to succeed.” 

Thanks, Mrs. J.

Zach’s Blog, December 18th 2018

We found Scratches. 

What was left of him was floating in the pool. 

Mom discovered him when she came down to make breakfast. She woke me and Dad up with her screaming. 

Dad and I rushed downstairs and saw the sight. Even floating in the water, Scratches looked beat to shit, like he’d been run over by a semi on the highway. He was missing an eye and a leg. His leg looked like it had just been sawed off, surgically amputated or something. 

Dad fished him out with the pool strainer and wrapped him in a big black trash bag. 

Mom was beside herself. “Who would do such a thing? Run over a person’s beloved animal and then dump him in their swimming pool. What is this the Middle Ages?” Mom said and blew her nose in a handkerchief that Dad offered to her.

“It’s all right, Linda. We’ll just have the pool drained of water and everything will be fine,” Dad said.

Wrong thing to say. 

Mom stormed back in the house and spent the rest of the day crying in her bedroom. I tried to get her to come out, but she refused. 

Finally, Dad apologized for being insensitive and we ordered Papa John’s for dinner so Mom didn’t have to cook. That seemed to help, a little.

Zach’s Blog, December 25th 2018

Merry Fucking Christmas. 

Dad got fired from Texas Instruments. Something about a major account that fell through and a factory that didn’t perform up to snuff in Indonesia. They were looking for a scape goat. At least, that’s what Dad told me. 

Well, this is going to be Tiny Tim Christmas if there ever was one. We all opened our presents quietly like we were hiding out from the Nazis in Anne Frank’s attic. 

I asked for a new iPhone but got a nice red Christmas sweater with Rudolph and all his Reindeer Friends pulling Santa’s sleigh. Thanks, Grandma. 

At least, Amy did the wise thing and stayed away. She wanted to spend the holiday with her football hero boyfriend in Connecticut. After everything that has happened, I think Mom and Dad were relieved not to have to see her.

Zach’s Blog, February 20th 2019

Things have gone to shit around the old homestead. 

Dad just sits on the couch all day and watches Judge Judy on television. Mom screamed at him to start looking for work. Dad yells at her to get a job. 

I’m failing Algebra and European History. I just don’t know. I can’t even study. I try, but I look out my window and see the pool. I think about Scratches floating there. The calm water looks so inviting. Sometimes I imagine just walking into the nice warm embrace of the water – NO! Somethings gone majorly wrong around here, and it all started when we excavated that pool and found those bones. I knew they weren’t from a stray cat.

Zach’s Blog, February 24th 2019

Amy and her boyfriend got in a major car accident at school. 

I think her boyfriend was shitfaced stoned or something. Amy’s all right, but her boyfriend won’t play football ever again. I think he’s paralyzed from the waist down. 

Something has to be done. It’s the pool. I know it, and it’s up to me to stop it. How I’m going to do it I have no clue, but if anybody knows a good Catholic Priest who’s up for doing a pro bono exorcism then please let me know in the comments section.

***

So what happened? 

Was there a happy ending? Did our hero save the day and stop the demonic pool? 

Well guys, let’s just say that I’m writing this on a rented couch in the living room of our new stylish two bedroom apartment in Astoria Gardens. 

Dad is working part time at the Office Depot and Mom is waitressing at the Waffle House. Amy dropped out of college to go live in some hippie commune where they only eat raw foods. I think she’s changing her name to Everlasting Moonbeam. 

As for me, I’m on a suspended sentence for trying to burn down the pool and our house. My court appointed psychiatrist thinks I have anger issues and might be Bipolar. She didn’t take to the haunted swimming pool hypothesis. 

Am I okay with this? 

Yeah, I guess. I mean life sucks and then you die, right? It could be worse. At least our apartment complex doesn’t have a pool.

The End

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