The Slide

The Slide

“Your children are loud. I could hear them screaming all the way out here.”

“They are excited to be here. They love to visit their grandfather, and you are delighted to see them here.”

“No, that was your mother, not me.”

“Dad, you are incorrigible, and a liar. How are you occupying your time? Are you keeping busy?”

“The environmental people made me do pointless work on the cliff face.”

She stood and looked over the edge of the guard wall. “It looks like a giant concrete slide. Are you taking up skateboarding?”

“Not likely, they were afraid the pool would leak and destroy the embankment. I told them it was impossible, even showed them the engineering specs, but they insisted. I had to empty the whole pool to put in the drain hatch and the electronic controls. Twenty-three and a half thousand gallons of water pumped out and back. A complete waste of time, energy, and my money, so I added a few features of my own while the water was out.”

“Perhaps you shouldn’t have built your house on a cliff,” she adding a little laugh to reduce the sting. “What is that thing on the beach? It looks like a net.”

“It is a safety net for a tightrope. Still needs two poles and a line.”

The boys came crashing out to pool side, screaming and laughing. The first time I’ve appreciated their interrupting.

“Keep it down, you two.”

“Yes mother.”

“Did you use the washroom?”

“Yes grandpa.”

“Are you sure, I don’t want you peeing in my pool, you absolutely must not pee in the water. Do you understand? Get out if you have to go. You can’t hide it. I had special pee detectors installed.”

“Dad, they said they wouldn’t. Let it go.”

“Do you promise boys?”

“Yes grandpa.”

“Then enjoy.”

With a whoop they bolted and cannon-balled into the deep end. I looked at my tablet. As I suspected the pee indicator lit up at once. The sluicegate snapped open. It took a few moments for the whirlpool to build, but not long. The boys didn’t have a chance of escaping.

In less than a minute they were swirling around caught in the pull of the whirling water. I wished they would stop screaming. They did, as they disappeared below the surface. I jumped up to the guard-wall. They were into the sluice before I made it. My calculations were correct, no time at all under water. As soon as they cleared the sluicegate it snapped closed. Five-thousand gallons of water rushed down the sluice. As it hit the barrier at the end of the trough a standing wave surged into existence. The boy’s bodies flashing into the wave, shot up, and floated through the air landing on the safety net. They bounced a little. The rush of water subsided.

Silence followed until I laughed. “Perfect engineering, an expensive toy, but I bet it keeps them coming back for years.” The sound of the boys whooping and laughing as they bounced on the net drifted up to us.