nineoneone


The annual summer pool party always had at least one party pooper. Last summer, it had been a cockroach who kept crawling up into girls’ bikinis. The summer before that, it had been Roy Murphy who was all over Michael Foster’s girlfriend, and Michael Foster’s girlfriend

who returned the favor. This summer, it was a gangly freshman who kept belly-flopping from the  diving board. This wouldn’t be so bad, but he made quite the spectacle of himself, screaming spectacularly every time his chest hit the water and then squealing as he went back up the ladder. Once at the top, he would announce himself like he was at the Olympics or something.

“Adam Chang stands on the edge of the board,” he would start. “He’s flexing his arms, getting ready for the big jump. He’s got a nice spring in his knees there, you see. This jump will be a real game changer whether he executes it perfectly or fails miserably. And there he goes!”

Each time he did this I would look over at his older brother, Elijah. Elijah was tall, well-chiseled, with black hair that glowed blue in the sun. He was the captain of the swim team and never went one moment without a girl by his side. I tried to see the relation in their faces, but it was impossible to find.

“Adam Chang is about to take the leap of his life, folks! This will make Olympic history!”

Adam looked over at Elijah, searching for acknowledgement. His brother seemed to notice but refused to make eye contact, instead throwing his eyes at the girl who was curled around his waist.

“Look at Elijah,” a girl to my right sneered, “He thinks he’s all that. He can’t even be there for his poor little brother. Look at Adam up there! Someone should go talk to him.”

“Okay,” said her companion, with the sound of a changing male voice, “I’ll go. Be back in a minute.”

“Not you!” the girl scolded. “I meant Elijah should go talk to him. Look at the poor creature. Poor Adam.”

“Adam Chang is going for the gold medal! No one could stop him now!” Adam shouted, staring his brother down. His chest was splotched with pink from the stings of hitting the pool. “Adam Chang is the best diver in the world!” The diving board bounced around as he fell into the water.

“How could those two possibly be related?” came a snarky and nasally female voice. “I mean, seriously, they look nothing alike.”

“Yeah, I know,” replied someone with a similar sound. “Look at how stupid Elijah’s little brother looks up there.”

“Adam Chang is in line to break every diving record ever set ever!” Adam shouted.

“I’m going to go help him,” said the changing male voice from earlier. I can’t just stand here and watch.”

“You’re not standing,” said his female confidant. “You’re sitting. Just give it a moment. He needs his brother’s attention.”

A light spray landed on the spectators as Adam hit the water. He screeched like a dying hyena and shook violently when he climbed up out of the pool.

“How embarrassing,” said one of the snarky girls.

“Especially for Elijah,” said the other. “He’s so hot. Elijah, not his brother, I mean.”

Adam was glowing bright red. He seemed to struggle to wrap his hands around the rungs of the ladder.

“Adam Chang–” he said as he bounced, “–is going–” he continued as he bounced again, “–to break–” he shouted as he sprung a third time, “–all of his brother’s records!”

“You watch your mouth!” Elijah yelled up to him. “That might just be the last thing you say!” Everyone at the party laughed.

Adam glowered at the masses and kept hopping up and down to get more leverage on the board. It bent in dangerous parabolas. And then it just snapped.

I propped myself up in my chair. There was a look of terror on Adam Chung’s face as he flew through the air. He flapped his arms and legs around like they were wings, but it was to no avail. The part of the diving board that had gone up with him hit his head with a loud crack. Splatters of red painted the bottom of my feet, shimmering in the sunlight. Adam went under the water, trapped by the board. No one reacted for a moment.

“I’m going in,” said the changing male voice.

“His brother should,” said the girl, but she didn’t stop him this time.

“Someone call 9-1-1!” I found myself shouting, along with half the population of the pool party. It took a minute before someone actually did.

The changing male voice was connected to a scrawny body with long blonde dreadlocks. He swam like a merman, with elegance, as he took Adam’s limp body out of the pool.

Elijah ran to his brother. Crimson leaked into the pool. “Someone call 9-1-1!” he shouted.

None of us ever swam in that pool again.

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