*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***
The Mayor went to visit a new community pool. There would be no press conference, just pool photos, but some of us went anyway, because why wouldn’t we?
It was a nice public pool right there in the middle of a nice new public park that used to be a landfill where the local mob dumped its bodies and where once there had lived a regionally famous opossum that looked like Abraham Lincoln.
At first The Mayor seemed confused, standing at the edge of the pool looking down at all of the little children - some of them tan, but most of them darker - splashing or floating there at his feet. He started to shout something at apparently no one, and waving his arms.
He was yelling, “What are these … all these kids doing in here? In the new pool?”
The sound of our photographers’ cameras clicking and whirring was suddenly like an industrial machine. Like a loom or a shuttlecock.
The Mayor fanned his arms in big circles, trying to drive the children to the end of the pool. “Are you peeing?” He shouted at a little black girl who was not peeing.
“See folks,” The Mayor said, turning toward us, “this is what I have been saying. These … kids. They just. Everybody knows that kids pee in the pool. This is not a shower!” He shouted at the little girl in her pink floaty tube.
Then, as parents and onlookers hauled the last of the terrified children out of the shallow end of the pool, The Mayor unzipped the fly of his striped blue suit and reached inside of his pants where he proceeded to fish around like an angler until he withdrew the tip of - apparently - his penis, pale and hairless like a the head of a baby mouse, and began to release an unsteady tinkle of dark yellow urine into the clear, sun-warmed water.
No one said anything at all, but some of the children at the far edge of the pool, trapped by the low concrete wall surrounding the pool, began to cry.
“See folks? See what I am saying to you about this?” The Mayor said to us after zipping up his pants. “This is a big deal. Some one of them has peed in this big beautiful pool that be built. It’s a shame, really just a shame.” Then The Mayor shook his head and stumbled back out to his waiting motorcade.
The little girl in the pink tube, too little to understand, stepped back toward the pool ready to leap, but she was stopped by the steady hand of a woman nearby. The woman said nothing.