Moonlight Swim

By Craig J. Clark
Honestly, detective, this is all just a big misunderstanding. I tried to explain the situation to the officer on the scene, but if you want me to go over it again, I guess I have no choice.
It was after dark and the pool was completely deserted -- I can see it from my bedroom window -- so I decided to take a late-night swim while I could have it all to myself. I got into my bathing suit, grabbed a towel, slipped on a pair of flip-flops and headed over there. I don't know how long I was in the water because I didn't take my watch with me, but after a while I heard a siren and saw blue and red lights playing on the buildings in the courtyard around me. I figured there must have been a disturbance somewhere in the complex but didn't realize that disturbance was me until the uniformed policeman rounded the corner of the rental office and opened the gate to the pool area. Dumbfounded, I watched him as he threaded his way between the deck chairs down to the deep end, where I was treading water.
"Is there a problem, officer?"
"Yes, I'm going to have to ask you to step out of the pool."
I tread water for a few seconds trying to figure out what was going on.
"I'm not trespassing, if that's what you're thinking. I live in that building over there." I pointed to the one at the rear of the complex.
"That's nice, sir. Now, I need you to get out of the pool."
"Why? I'm not breaking any laws."
"Sir, just get out of the pool, please."
"Not until you tell me what this is all about." I folded my arms, which caused me to go under momentarily. I quickly resurfaced and swam toward the shallow end so I could stand on the bottom. The policeman followed.
"If you must know, there have been complaints."
"Complaints? What complaints?"
"Complaints about you being in the pool."
"Why? It's open to all residents until ten o'clock. And I know it isn't after ten yet."
"The time isn't the issue, sir."
"Then what is?"
The policeman didn't say anything.
"Listen, if someone told you I was skinny dipping, you can see for yourself that I'm wearing a bathing suit."
"That's not what the complaint was about. Are those all your belongings?"
He pointed across the pool at the deck chair where I had deposited my flip-flops and towel.
"Yes, officer. What about them?"
He was already en route. "Maybe they'll be more forthcoming than you are."
"More forthcoming? What are you talking about? What are you doing?"
The policeman had reached the deck chair and was shaking out my towel, which had been neatly folded.
"Aha! Just as I suspected."
"Hey! Who told you you could go through my things?"
The policeman dropped my towel and pulled out a notebook. "I thought you said you were a resident here."
"I am, officer."
"Then why don't you have a key to your apartment? I find that very suspicious."
"On the contrary, it's not suspicious at all because I live right over there, as I told you, and I don't need to lock my door to take a short swim."
The policeman was examining my flip-flops closely. "No I.D., either. This is not looking good for you, sonny."
"Of course I don't have my I.D. on me. It's in my wallet."
"And just where is your wallet, then?"
"It's in the pocket of my jeans which are lying on my bed in my bedroom which is in that building right over there."
I pointed frantically, but the policeman seemed to take no notice.
"A likely story, sir. Now, are you going to come along peacefully?"
"Come along where? What are you charging me with?"
The policeman looked at me over his notebook and flashed me a grin. "Vagrancy."
I quickly realized that I wasn't talking my way out of anything, so I resigned myself and got out of the pool. By the time I had dried myself off, a number of my fellow residents had come out of their apartments to see what was happening. I appealed to them to identify me for the benefit of the cop, but none were willing to stick their neck out. I asked the police officer to at least let me go inside my apartment and put on some pants since I didn't want to go downtown dressed only in a bathing suit and towel, but he refused. In fact, he said if I did go into my apartment he would charge me with breaking and entering! Have you ever heard anything so preposterous?
Anyway, that's what happened. I don't know who called in the complaint or why, but your policeman didn't seem interested in hearing my side of the story, so here I am. Now, can <I>you</I> tell me what this is all about?
But detective, I told you what I was doing in the pool. I was taking a swim.
Sure, it was after dark, but I've gone swimming after dark many times. It's not like this was an unusual occurrence.
No, as a matter of fact, it doesn't sound "fishy" at all. Look, all you have to do is take me back to my apartment and I'll prove that I'm who I say I am.
No, you can't call my roommate to verify my identity because he isn't home.
If you must know, he's on vacation.
Yes, he does have his cell phone with him, but I don't have the number memorized. I do have it written down on a piece of paper in my wallet, though, and you know where that is.


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...Taken from life? (Just curious.)

Going swimming after dark? Yes.

Being arrested for doing same? Not so much.

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This page contains a single entry by Craig J. Clark published on August 26, 2010 4:04 AM.

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