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Showdown at the Mustache Pool

06.11.12 Posted in words to linger on by

Lowell Jaeger’s most recent poem to appear here was She’s wet her pants (May 2012).

Showdown at the Mustache Pool
By Lowell Jaeger

I’d bust my kids out of daycare
every Wednesday late afternoon.
They’d run up to the playground fence
and we’d touch hands
through the cold mesh wire. I’d sign
them out like a good dad who tries
to follow the rules, properly restrain
them into seatbelts as is the law,
and drive them to the Outlaw Inn,
where we’d treat ourselves 
to a swim in the pool.

“Are we going to the Mustache Pool?” the kids
would say. The hotel’s marquee along the highway
sported a big black outlaw’s mustache
and another big black mustache painted
across the bottom of the pool,
where we’d frolic in the shallows
with a beach ball playing “seals.”
The kids would bark and bark. I’d toss
the ball and they’d fetch it. And bark
and bark more. By now

a number of moms reading this
are exclaiming, “Oh, what a good father, this man
who leaves work early to play with his kids
in the pool.” True enough,
but when the front desk lady challenged us
whether or not we had a room
(only guests were allowed in the pool),
I said, “Yes we do,” and the kids
looked up at me confused and asked
ever so loudly, “We do?”

The front desk lady cast a frigid stare
till I blushed, scooped 
up the kids, wrapped them in towels,
and drove them home, dripping with shame.
“That’s terrible,” the moms are hissing now.
“What’s he teaching his kids? Small wonder
this guy’s divorced. So irresponsible. So immature.”
Which is also true enough. I guess.

“Why did we leave the pool so soon?”
the kids puzzled. I scrubbed them
in the tub and snugged them into jammies.
Before bed, they used scissors they weren’t supposed to hold
to cut mustaches from black construction paper,
which, yes, I pasted above their innocent lips.
We whispered and tiptoed through the empty house.
We were outlaws. No one
would catch us.

Not this time.

One Response to “Showdown at the Mustache Pool”

  1. James says:

    Loved it. Very original.

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