Vichy Springs Finale

“Goddamnit!” PP cursed under her breath. “Are those the gleeful shrieks of children frolicking in MY POOL???!!!”
Shit. And it was her last day, her last swim at Her Vichy Springs Pool.

Yet even PP had to admit that she’d been lucky so far to have escaped this scourge of summer. Children in her pools! Esp. here at Vichy Springs. Hell, why would anyone bring their kids here? What was there for kids to do here? No T.V, no computers, no video games.

But hell, there sure was a terrific pool.

So, of course, if there were kids here, that’s where they’d be. At her pool. (Has she said that enough times? But it had felt like her pool so far. Why Oooh Why couldn’t the little Demons have waited one more day before diving in with their shrill obnoxiousness? Was that so much to ask?)

PP didn’t think so, but no one was asking her. Esp. the kids.

Trying not to cry, or scream, or run away, PP made her way toward the pool in anti- child trepidation. She just wanted to get in one last swim before they had to check out at 12 noon. Maybe the kids wouldn’t be so bad, she tried to console herself.

Or maybe she could just drown them.

PP laughed to herself as she opened the white picket gate and caught her first glimpse of the doomed culprits. Two little girls, maybe 7 or 8 years old, jumping and screaming in the water, with mom on the cell phone and bored big sister picking her toes lazily on one of the lounge chairs.

Damn, PP thought, a whole family group. Is that redundant? Aren’t families always groups? Well, maybe some are more group-like than others. Ok, whatever. The main thing is to just get in the water herself and make sure the little girls stay the hell outta her way.

And they did, of course, even though they were eager to tell PP all about it. “IT’s COLD!!!” one of them hollered at her. PP nodded, trying for a smile under her mask. At least they know the first topic of pool conversation. The water temperature. “You won’t like it!” her sister yelled in confirmation.

PP nodded, “Yeah, I know it’s cold. But I bet I can do it.”
The two girls stared at her a moment in utter confusion. She speaks? Then one of them splashed the other, diving under to pull her down below the turquoise surface,
Great, PP thought, they can drown each other as she dove into the coldness.

But, Damn, they were right. It was cold. Well, maybe it’s for the best today since they had to leave in just over an hour. The noon checkout was looming over PP’s watery workout. Why couldn’t they just stay one more day?

Well, 185 bucks a night pretty much sealed the deal. One day was all they could afford for now. And PP had to admit, it’d been a very good swimming resort, even with the little girls. Stopping to turn at the wall, she spied through her foggy mask one of them out of the water up on the deck trying on PP’s new Zoomer fins.

Goddmamnit. Those kids better not hurt her fins! But as she watched them try to walk on the deck, the fins flopping hopelessly too big on their dear little feet, DHBF got up from the lounge chair and said something to them. PP could just hear him—“You girls really shouldn’t be playing with those. They don’t belong to you or the pool. They belong to HER!”

The fins came off fast. Then more diving into the deep end and more shrieking at the cold, one sister’s little teeth were actually chattering when PP glanced up to make sure she didn’t run ‘em over.
“Hey!” PP called out, pointing, “Your teeth are chattering! You better get out before you turn into an ICE CUBE!!!”
Chattering Teeth Sister giggled, shaking her head, before diving back underwater, her sister hot on her trail.


“They’re pretty Draconian about it,” Indignant Family Man shook his head as PP, outta the icy pool now, tried to get warm in the Hot Tub. “…..making us check out at exactly 12 noon. When we asked if we could stay a little longer, till say 1 or 2 so she can swim,” he pointed to yet another child, this one quietly staring at a lizard on the side of the tub, “...they said we’d have to pay an extra fee. Can you believe That?”

DHBF started in, playing Devil’s Advocate. His favorite pastime. “Actually, I think they’re not so bad. I mean, they do let us stay till noon. A lot of places make you get out at 11.”
“I just think for 256 bucks a night, they could be a little more lenient ‘bout the check out time,” IFM sighed heavily as his mother, the slight German frau, 84 years old, smiled in blissful unconcern.
“Daddy, can I go in the pool now?” Lizard Watching Daughter whined.
PP thought, yeah, sure, go for it kid, now that I’m out of the pool and could use a little peace and quiet in the hot tub before hitting the road back to the stupid Bay Area.
“Sure, Sugar Mouse, let’s go swimming before they charge us another 100 bucks for being 20 minutes over their check out time.”
PP thought how nice the Vichy Springs Staff had been to them the day before. Letting them use the pool before check in time and not charging them. She decided not to say anything about this to IFM. He was bitter enough. No sense in fanning the flame.
Sugar Mouse jumped out and began whining for her flip-flops, her towel, her soda. German Gram shook her head, the child was so spoiled. “Don’t make your Daddy go and get all of those things for you, Barbara.”
“Nah, it’s ok. She’s on vacation.”
GG sighed and glanced over at PP and DHBF who was now engaged in talking to the two little girls who’d been PP’s Shrieking Buddies in the Cold Pool. “Are you two Twins?” he asked, playfully.
“Yeah… name is Liz and her name is Grace.”
“Oh, and was it you, Liz that was looking at the Lizard over at the pool?”
Liz nodded seriously. DHBF glanced over at Grace, “Too bad they don’t have one called a Graceard….”
Grace stared at him. Completely stupefied. What the hell was the Nice Man talking about? Of course they were called Lizards and not Graceards! Silly Man!
“What time is it, Honey?” PP asked from under her visor as she glanced up at the noontime sun. It must be almost Time.
“Oh,whoops! Yeah, it’s almost 11:45,we gotta get goin, don’t we?”
“Yup, ‘fraid so….”
PP sighed. Here was her old nemesis, TIME, to take her away from her Pool Paradise…

But yet, she really couldn’t complain. It had been a lovely visit to Vichy Springs.

Sighing happily, PP picked up her cap, mask and water and headed back to their cozy little room. She knew that this was the end of this Vichy Springs Chapter, but of course, there’d be a Sequel, complete with serene solitary swims, serious swimmer discoveries, and yes, even delightfully obnoxious little girls. For after all, PP was once one herself, claiming whatever pool was in the vicinity for her own play.

It had started early, her Pool Obsession, with no end in sight-—Thank Heavens for Little Girls! PP sang to herself as she meandered back across the lush green lawn, the shrill shrieks of children echoing softly behind her.


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