Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a young family sat in their family room, staring grumpily at each other.
The temperature hovered somewhere around 109 degrees. The air was almost too hot to breathe. It was much to warm to be outside for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
But after the 500th whiny chorus of “I want to go to the Big Pool,” the mom looked pleadingly at the dad and said, “should we?”
“I guess. It’s either that or start wearing ear plugs.”
So the weary threesome donned their clammy swimsuits, packed their last swim diapers, and headed off to the public pool.
It was packed. Dozens of families jammed themselves, shoulder to shoulder, in the two-foot-deep kiddie pool.
But while the water looked wonderfully inviting, it took the parents only seconds to realize that it was, in fact, just as hot as the air heating it (i.e. miserable).
However, all those under the age of four sparkled and pranced and splashed and kicked, showing more life than they had in days. So the parents sucked it up and sat in the swirling cesspool of overheated germs, fake smiling whenever their progeny looked their way.
Eventually, our dad went to soak himself under a Hell-hot fountain, leaving the mom to watch their tutu-suited munchkin.
She dared to close her eyes for just a second, wishing with all her might to be transported to an ocean beach, with a cool sea breeze dancing in her hair.
Seconds later, though, she realized her tiny dancer was strangely quiet.
Glancing over, she saw her daughter arranged in her signature half-stoop, a look of concentration on her face.
“NOOOOOOO,” she shouted, feeling time slow down as she slogged through the sucking water toward her child.
Seeing her mommy, the child grinned. “Look at my new trick, mommy!” she said, proceeding to bounce and twirl at the same time.
Knowing gravity and centrifugal force were not her friends at the moment, the mommy cried, “Stop!”
And reaching her child’s side, she unceremoniously snatched her from the water, saying quietly, “It’s time to change your diaper now, sweetie.”
Not understanding the delicacy of the situation, the child struggled, shouting, “NO MOMMY! I don’t want to change my diaper. I DIDN’T POOP!”
Silence descended on the pool.
Just then, the lifeguard’s whistle shrilled.
“Everybody out!” she yelled.
And then the mommy saw it. A tiny brown log, floating in the area where her daughter had been moments before.
The whistle shrilled again. More insistently this time.
“Everybody out! There’s poop in the pool! Poop in the pool, everyone out!”
Dying inside, the mommy very quietly made her way through the undercurrent of snarling parents over to her husband.
“I think it was her,” she whispered.
“It was her,” she hissed. “She pooped in the pool.”
A look of horror dawned on his face.
“Yep. I’m going to go get her changed now.”
He just nodded silently and started packing up their stuff.
In the changing room, the mommy discovered her intuition was right. Her daughter’s diaper was full of poop.
“I thought these things were supposed to hold it in,” she grumped to herself.
Quietly, she stowed the offending diaper in the trash, and quickly put street clothes on the both of them.
Head down, she snuck back to the pool to get her husband.
The lifeguards had descended en masse on the pool, galoshes, rubber gloves and blue buckets in hand.
The steaming hot families just glared from the edges.
“Let’s go,” she whispered.
He nodded and they ran for the car, hoping no lynch mob would follow them.
Once safely ensconced in the air conditioned vehicle, she turned to look at him, anguish in her eyes. “Do you think we can ever go back there?”
“I-I don’t know. Not for a while,” he sighed.
“Damn,” she said. “Damn.”
And so they lived, sweatily ever after, fondly dreaming of the cool blue waters they were now voluntarily banned from.
All characters are figments of my imagination, and details resembling real people are, ahem, coincidental.