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“Um – Excuse me…Laci?”

The woman in green sweatpants looked up quickly from her bed of half-repotted geraniums.  She felt the wide-brimmed back of her hat push against her neck, displacing a few wisps of hair in front.

“Hello, Tina…”  Laci smiled uncertainly at Evan’s Mom.  Tina was standing at the end of the driveway with both arms folded.

“I hope you haven’t been avoiding me.  I left you a few messages.  I feel it’s important that we speak about Tommy’s behavior yesterday.”

“Well…my goodness,” said Laci.  “Why don’t we go inside?”

In the kitchen, Laci washed up as best she could in a hurry, and poured them both some orange juice.  “I saw that there had been some missed calls and when I tried to listen I couldn’t make it out exactly.  I tried to call back but, cell towers…”

Tina blinked once, and lifted the glass of orange juice off the table.  She held it without drinking, her eyes moving back and forth as though reviewing script.  “Well, Laci,” she said, finally leaning forward.  “I don’t know Tommy’s side of things, but from what Evan has told me, during their playdate yesterday, your son jumped on his back while they were in the pool.  He fell forward, with his face in the water, and Tommy wouldn’t let him up.”

Laci covered her mouth.  “Oh, my…”

Tina’s eyes started popping.  “How have you not heard of this until now?  How closely were you supervising?”

“Tina!”  Laci shook her head.  “I’m as shocked as you are that my Tommy would do such – ”


Laci gasped.  “I can’t believe you’re talking to me in this way!  Our pool has nothing to do with the kind of people we are!  We always teach our kids, no matter where they are, they should always treat people nicely!”

Tina’s eyebrows worked together, until her forehead looked like a knot.  “Laci…what in the hell do you mean…your pool has nothing to do with…”  Tina pushed against the space between her eyebrows, forcing it smooth again.  “Are you trying to tell me…that you have a pool…and you don’t have any rules, any guidelines, any supervision, for when your children swim?”

“Well, we don’t want to scare the kids, Tina!  They’re too young to learn about choking and drowning and all that.  We don’t want them to grow up feeling afraid.”

“My boy felt afraid and hurt yesterday because your son doesn’t know how to not abuse people in his pool.  How do you feel about that?”

“I don’t know what to think.  At this house, we’re one-hundred percent pool-blind.”