By Colin Dwyer
He sat alone, reclined on one of the rusted lawn chairs lining the edge, cast in the sepia tones of the indelicately aged, wondering absently if it was ringworm or tapeworm that was spread through direct contact with these chairs. Before him lay reflections of light in the water, wriggling rivers of cream in the vacant blue-green of the pool, light like the sparkle-stain of glitter across the ripples.
He eyed the spiderweb mesh of the gate, a thin, almost translucent barrier in the light of the midday sun. A vague understanding twisted restlessly behind his stomach. There was a tacit agreement between him and that locked door marking the shore of this concrete sea bounding an island of water, an acceptance that though he could easily escape, whether by hopping the fence or using the small key buried in the pocket of his shorts, he wouldn’t. He would continue the charade, allow the metallic links to display their false power to all who wished to see.
A quiet acquiescence. It was his own silent martyrdom at the altar of order and stability. He wanted to escape, but he accepted the role he had to play in the ageless, desperate defense against the anarchy at the gates. And so he would do as he was told, earn his ten dollars an hour lifeguarding for an empty pool, quietly considering the risk of ringworm as he waited for the hour when he was told he could leave.