the plan …
There are four of them, none under 11, none over 12. Boys. Two grandsons among them. Down for a swim in my pool.
They are yet to get wet what with tuning up their goggles and request to turn off the cleaning apparatus. The four of them mill about poolside while they wait, shouting at each other. All at once.
This is unsatisfactory. Their entry to the water must be controlled, dignified, and according to The Plan.
Arie nicknamed Bumper, his brother Jarvis, their friends Arlo and a little blonde guy with the chunky look of a goofy-foot but less of the attitude. Luke.
Arlo is my random pick for the inside man so he and I go off for a little chat out of earshot of the others, this isn’t hard given the racket they’re making. Arlo listens and agrees to become part of The Plan.
Arlo takes his three friends aside, out of my earshot, and gives them ID numbers. Secret numbers, like a code. Any number between one and ten. Fingers are important here and only they know who is what number. Meanwhile I’m raking leaves out of the pool, a job I always wanted to be paid for.
They come over and I line them all up in a row, backs to the pool, and tell them when I call out their secret ID number they have to fall back into the pool like they’ve been shot. That’s why Arlo liked The Plan, the kid’s a shooter.
One thing. I have a weapon. The one they bought down. Two things, these kids (not Arlo) are wondering how I will know their secret number.
I walk up to the lad and level the weapon at his chest, look him in the eye. Smile. Then a quick glance at Arlo who is holding a pair on his right hand, sly like, by the side of his shorts, as arranged.
Back to Arie. There is fear now.
Goodbye number two I say, then give him a double-pump heart side.
Jarvis next: the notably cool Jarvis, now with the shaky grin of someone who knows not what is coming. Arlo over there is showing a full house.
Jarvis looks at me, I look at him. He looks at the weapon.
What’s half of 10, my lad, I ask .. but before he can utter his number, which is 5, a head shot. Splash. A double-tap when he surfaces, laughing.
Little guy Luke is next. And as much as a boy can muster it, he gives me stone. Luke is a slab. Luke is 3. I lean over and hold Arlo’s three fingers up in the air.
‘You’ve been grassed, my son.’
In the guts. A good hit.
Me and Arlo do high-fives,
then I waste him.
Total surprise !