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Fiction by Steve Gergley

The Executive Pool

There is an Olympic-size swimming pool in the shape of a silver dollar located on the roof of Lenny’s Manhattan office building. During lunch, Lenny’s superiors clomp down the pool stairs in their $40,000 Brioni Vanquish suits and powerwalk through the water for forty-five minutes.

The resistance does wonders for the core,” Lenny’s boss says from the water, when he sees Lenny watching with longing from the tiled perimeter of the pool. But this baby is a privilege you have to earn. Maybe next quarter, Len, if you pump up your KPI’s, you can slip in here with the rest of us. But as things stand right now, you’re shit out of luck. Talk at you, babe.”

Lenny stands in silence as his boss clicks his tongue and sloshes away like a bloated elephant. He sighs in disappointment as Fausto, his angry, depressive, and sour coworker, steps up to the edge of the pool wearing a New York Islanders hockey mask. He turns his head to the left and stares into Fausto’s eyes. There he sees rage, wrath, hopelessness, and the gigantic pupils of a man very high on cocaine. Scanning down Fausto’s arm, Lenny notices the shimmering blade of the katana gripped in Fausto’s right hand. Seeing this, Lenny draws a quiet breath and looks back up at Fausto. Fausto nods at Lenny and gestures with his head toward the exit door. Lenny returns Fausto’s nod. He takes a step backward. Fausto points his katana at the pool and screams at Lenny’s superiors to get out of the water.

The men in the pool stop powerwalking and turn without urgency to look at Fausto. Moments later Lenny’s boss glances in Lenny’s direction and flicks his eyes to the luxury lounge chair squatting on the patio behind Fausto. Lenny walks over to the chair. There a plush white bath towel sits folded in a perfect square. Unfolding the towel, Lenny discovers a loaded Glock pistol hidden within the thick entrails of fabric. Lenny looks back at his boss. The man gives Lenny a tiny nod and slides his eyes to Fausto three times. Without another thought, Lenny picks up the surprisingly heavy weapon and aims it at the back of Fausto’s neck. Sensing Lenny’s movements, Fausto turns around. Lenny takes a small step backward. He stares into Fausto’s twitching eyes. He sucks a short breath and shoots Fausto through the base of the throat.

A warm spray of blood mists the peaks of Lenny’s cheekbones, the sharp point of his chin, the shiny black silk of his business tie. Fausto’s katana clangs to the red-tiled floor. His face contorts into a muted expression of pain, surprise, and relief. His blood-spurting body stumbles backward three steps and reverse belly-flops into the pool with a crash of glittering water.

Amid the pristine silence following the crack and echo of the gunshot, Lenny’s superiors erupt into raucous applause. For the next two minutes, as the men wade toward the staircase at the southern rim of the pool, more words of admiration continue.

Some time later, when all the other executives are gone, Lenny’s boss steps up beside Lenny, thumps him on the shoulder, and looks down at Fausto’s motionless body floating near the sky-blue floor of the pool.

Goddamn. After the balls you showed out here today, Len, it looks like I was wrong about you,” Lenny’s boss says, with a quiet warble of emotion in his voice. A short silence passes between the two men; Lenny’s boss begins blotting the poolwater from his $40,000 suit. Once finished, he smacks Lenny on the back a second time and shoves him toward the pool. You know what? She’s all yours. Go on in and take her for a spin. You’ve earned it.”

Steve Gergley

Twitter: @GergleySteve

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