Letters from the Underworld, The Prequels Part 01

About ten years ago, my wife and I joined a community center in order to get access to exercise equipment and a swimming pool. I was quite a few pounds overweight, and needed to do something about it.

My wife was drawn to the place's seemingly honorable values and ended up taking a job there, which helped exercise her management and creative skills too. Indeed I was encouraged to visit frequently to ramp-up my exercise regimen.

Naturally, there were lots of families with children there every day. The Underworld is the indoor swimming pool which serves as a tremendous draw for young members for frolic and myself for low-impact exercise  I started typing some diary entries after a while, usually the very night of their occurrence, while everything was fresh in mind.

I'd done 13 of these. They're loose ramblings of the observations and brief interactions with interesting members who appeared often and a few random charmers.

Here's the first one.

*Below, you can interpret "ML" as My Lovely (Wife)

I had an interesting encounter at the Underworld this afternoon.

I took some lunch in for ML, which we eat in the little outdoor courtyard formed by the square "ring" of the building. The child care room door faces inside of the courtyard, and I spy a face peering through it from time to time.

Time passes, and ML and I finish our lunch. The woman who runs the child care closes up and comes out, along with her single charge who follows behind: male, five to six years old, reasonably short denim shorts, brown hair + eyes, with a diamond shaped face. He has a nicely solid mesomorphic somatotype with appropriate musculature for an active boy of his development. Despite his age, he's not hard on the eyes and isn't whiny.

So the woman and this boy come to sit at our table to chat - the boy sits across from me. His name's Pea, which is a strange name - clearly a nickname. He bounces a ping-pong ball at me, clearly expecting it to be tossed back.
He has the aroma of a lad with no daddy at home. Soon, he's getting more elabourate with his ball tossing and gets up to wander to my side of the table, about 6-8 feet distant so he has a chance to catch the tricky shots I send his way. It's not long before he's completely engrossed in this activity. He marvels at the length of my arms and my size overall repeatedly, being able to catch the ball "so far" away from me.

After about ten minutes of this, mother comes out (she teaches a class at the Underworld) carrying a baby and comes to fetch her son. Pea doesn't need to be told once that it's time to go, and comes over to say goodbye. I'm on the way out myself, so I follow them out and stop by the desk to say bye to ML.

Mother ends up chatting with someone, and I hear the ping-pong ball bouncing off the wall nearby, which I catch and head back out to the courtyard to redirect his playful aggression somewhere more suitable. I put a hand on his shoulder by way of a gentle hint, and I thought he was going to melt under my paw.

He then hands me his TMNT figure and asks me to use it as a bat to hit the ping-pong ball which he "pitches" at me over the ping-pong table.

After a few minutes, his mother comes by and she collects Pea. Outside of his earshot, she thanks me for playing with him because he "doesn't have any guys at home" and that he "obviously really enjoyed playing with you".

What a shock. What is mommy doing with a new baby if daddy is an irresponsible loser?

Anyway, in 5-6 years Pea will be absolutely perfect and thoroughly delicious.

-- END --

 Rory Graxham

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