I’m suddenly aware that I’m smiling. I’ve finally made it here, to summer—after such a long winter—and I’ve treated myself to a dip in the pool.
—-Cecilia Kennedy, The Barracuda in the Pool
Mural, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
Good writing will bring back memories. Flash fiction can artificially extend its length and value that way – by tacking strong memories onto the end of the text itself.
Today’s flash fiction brings back a couple to me (maybe spoilers… maybe read the story first).
One was (maybe 1972) swimming inside the shark netting in the ocean at Fort Sherman (now long gone) on the Atlantic side of the Canal Zone. I remember the taste of salt, the sweltering heat, and the primordial green of the neighboring rain forest. There was a large active crowd in the water and I put on my mask and dipped my face below the surface to take a look. There was a barracuda, a big one, gliding smoothly between the writhing bodies. Minding his own business. He looked so streamlined, so powerful, so prehistoric… like something from another world. I felt embarrassed because I dared contaminate his ocean with my pitiful presence.
The second was… maybe two years later and 500 miles northwest of there, diving into a pool in a country club in Managua. I mistook the shallow end and plunged my face into the rough gunite bottom. It hurt but the worst was when I stood up. A young woman standing in the pool looked at my face and the gore pouring down and let out the most blood curdling movie scream I have heard in my life. I was ultimately fine, the worst wound was the sound of her voice and the terror on her face. That remains after a half century has passed.
You’re living in your own Private Idaho
Living in your own Private Idaho
Underground like a wild potato
Don’t go on the patio
Beware of the pool
Blue bottomless pool
It leads you straight, right through the gate
That opens on the pool
“Each time I see the Upside-Down Man
Standing in the water,
I look at him and start to laugh,
Although I shouldn’t oughtter.
For maybe in another world
Maybe HE is right side up
And I am upside down”
Reflecting Pool, Winspear Opera House, Arts District, Dallas, Texas
Last weekend, Candy and I drove down to the Bishop Arts District for lunch at Eno’s and on the way back, we decided – spur of the moment thing – to stop off at a spot Candy had seen on the web. There is a new boutique hotel – The NYLO opening up in Southside – and they had a bar and infinity pool on the roof. The person writing the article said the view of the Dallas Skyline from the bar was the best in the city.
We parked and walked up at about one in the afternoon. The place wasn’t even officially open – it was in the middle of a “soft opening.” The woman from the front desk gave us a tour of the lobby and the restaurant. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me – especially the lobby room called “The Library” with a case full of books and funkified seating all around. Then she walked us over to the elevator and took us up to The Soda Bar on the roof.
The article wasn’t kidding, the view from up there is jaw-dropping.
We hung around chatting with the folks that worked there and some customers. They didn’t have any beer on tap – but I made sure they would have some local Deep Ellum Brewing Company products available (they will have the Double Brown Stout and Deep Ellum IPA) when they officially open (which they have by the time you read this).
I kept thinking what the view would look like at sunset, so we sneaked across the street for dinner at Cedars Social and then came back to watch the sunset.
When we finally left to drive back to suburbia we came across the same woman in the lobby that had given us our tour. She said, “Are you still here – I’ve been home and changed and come back again and you’re just leaving?” I said we came back for the sunset.
The place may get too uppity and twee after it gets established – it’s also a bit too far to be a neighborhood hangout – but I’m sure I’ll be back. I could get used to hanging out there. That view is too good to miss.
While I was sitting alongside the reflecting pool listening to the music I looked up and there was this blonde woman wearing a white skin-tight stretchy shiny Spandex dress running barefoot as fast as she could down the middle of Flora street with a pair of heels clutched in her hands. She was trying to smile but was obviously upset at being late for something. Her legs were moving as quickly as they could, but she was slowed by that dress. Nothing much could move above her knees.
A few steps behind her, walking leisurely, but more or less at the same speed, was another woman, casually dressed, carrying a bundle of flowers and walking a beagle on a leash. She had a big grin watching her friend try and hoof it.
I wondered what was up, and then looking down the street in the distance by the Meyerson Symphony Hall I could see the last of the sunlight glinting off a tripod and a woman with a big camera pacing around. The woman in the dress was late for a photo shoot. Looking closer – I spotted a man in a suit.
Maybe wedding photos; maybe engagement. I don’t know about the beagle – maybe the dog would be in a few shots. I saw them start to set up and shoot some down by the Symphony Hall and then they were lost in the distance.
I didn’t think about them for a while. I was enjoying the music – but for some reason I turned my head and there they were, right in front of me. They had moved down and were taking pictures in the middle of the reflecting pool. I guess the photographer was at an angle where the crowd listening to the music didn’t appear in the background.
They were almost finished. I raised my camera and only had time to squeeze off a couple shots.
It would have been cool if they had dragged that dog out there too.
A photographic technique I like is to shoot an object’s reflection in a pool (specifically the one in front of the Winspear Opera house here in Dallas) then flip the image. For reference I like to leave a little strip of the original object, upside down, at the bottom of the photo.
I liked it when I used it a while back in a photo of a bicyclist crossing the pool. Last Thursday, at it again, I took a picture of a little girl running across the very shallow pool and I was very happy with it.
I’m sure I’ll do this again – so I hope y’all like it.
Kids love the reflecting pool. The water is less than a quarter inch deep.
The aluminum grid of the Winspear Opera House sunshade - very high overhead, reflected in the pool.