Bonnie, John, and their young son Marco were rubber tramps. They’d been on the road in their old volkswagen van for over a decade, stopping here and there to work on organic farms or be carnival hands or do whatever else it took to get food in their bellies and a few more gallons of gas. By now they had friends everywhere, and could always call in a favour if things got desperate.
They didn’t often partake in the usual daily comforts of sedentary folk. The world was their back yard–joining a bowling league wasn’t thrilling when they could go canoeing in a national park, or visit the coast, just for the heck of it. Nothing kept them still. They didn’t need routines. They didn’t need to plant roots.
But, once in a while, they liked a little reminder of their old lives. A bit of nostalgia for the city and suburbia days, when there was more people than nature, and that was okay. So they took Marco to a water park.
“You’re gonna have a blast, kid,” said John, his moustache fanned out in a smile. “I used to love these damn places when I was your age. And I bet you dollars to doughnuts you swim stronger’n any of these other knuckleheads. You were taught to swim in wild rivers, kid. You got your sea legs in the actual sea. All these boys and girls ever swam in was pools like these. Go show ’em what you can do, son.”
So Marco, impatiently waiting for his dad to finish his speech, charged off into the mass of swimsuit-wearing, untanned vacationers, and canonballed into a pool. He was out of sight in an instant.
Bonnie chased after him, calling for John to follow. “He’s not used to being around this many people!” she yelled. “He’ll get lost.”
“He won’t get lost. Bonnie!”
“Marco!” Bonnie called, searching the surface of the pool for her son.
“Polo!” A kid called.
“Marco?” Bonnie said again, still unable to locate Marco’s fiery red hair.
“Stop foolin’ around,” said John. “He’s around here. Marco! Get out here, boy.”
“Polo!” a couple more people called, giggling.
It was a game John and Bonnie hadn’t played in decades. Normally you were supposed to close your eyes, but John and Bonnie’s eyes were wide open. Even so, they still felt blind.
Today’s three random prompt categories were, “Rubber tramps,” “A chase scene,” and, “Losing your son Marco at a swimming pool.”
It was an amusing thought when I wrote it down, but the actuality of it is pretty terrifying…