05 January 2008

Bob and the Pool

Bob swayed. He didn't sway like a drunk or dizzy person but in the fashion of a tree swaying in the breeze. There was no breeze, but Bob swayed gently, trying to cool himself off in the warm, still air. The wind had not blown noticably for two weeks and the last rain was three weeks before that. The elephant stared at the inactive sprinklers recessed in the withered brown grass on either sode of the pair, moping.
Bob observed the elephant carefully. He'd never had a pet before, a few excessive squirrel families and once a pigeon consortium, but never an actual pet. He had developed some affection for the animal. He found its habits interesting and its dietary intake astonishing. If it weren't for the truckloads of hay that the daycare provided daily, it might even have been possible for the elephant to be malnuirished. Growing their own foliage would reduce any animals need for food, but Bob understood that people and elephants were far too obtuse to understand such things.
They also didn't have the sense to grow roots, something even the most idiotic ferns can manage with ease. This left the elephant in his rather morose and parched state. Bob tried to think of ways to improve the animal's spirits and even tried singing to it several of the songs they had overheard from the children of the daycare. Bob surmised that nothing would work until the rains came back, and even then the elephant would only be pleased for a few weeks before it wanted the sunshine to return.
Bob forced his attention to a more pressing issue: water. The elephant needed some and he could use some more himself. There was a river on the other side of town, but it was difficult to navigate both traffic and powerlines with an independently minded elephant in tow. There was a fountain nearby, with a basin large enough for both he and the elephant to soak. He watched the elephant shift about in its melancholic state and then Bob began to uproot himself.
Traffic was disrupted in the usual manner, in accordance with what one might expect with a tree and its elephant walking down the street. Bob was careful to wait at red lights, having had several close calls between the elephant and large trucks, but the journey was only a few dozen blocks and over with shortly. Some people gawked and others took photographs, some cursed the congestion and were quietly pleased to see the elephant and tree moving out of sight.
When Bob and the elephant reached the fountain, they found it infested with small children, similar in size and shape to those of the daycare, even if none of them were familiar as individuals. With some nudging, jostling, coaxing, and a generous distrubution of balloons, Bob and the elephant were able to secure for themselves some space in the water, with each of them splashed upon by jets spraying from the fountain.
The fountain was a pool, about thirty or so feet across, give or take, and about a foot and a half deep, taking or giving whatever had been given or taken from the aforementioned diameter. Water would spray up from jets cleverly concealed as small holes int he floor of the pool, in a pattern than changed rhythmically, but slowly enough to not startle the small children prone to playing in such places.
Bob eased himself into the pool and began to absorb water, while the elephant hopped about in circles, first counterclockwise and then the other way round. This hoping action, which Bob surmised was not beneficial to the pool, came to a slow stop as the elephant dsicovered another way to play. He began to suck up water with his turck and spray it on his back. The children laughed and cheered as the elephant showered himself. Being desirous of such adulations, the eelphant began to shower the children as well. Each spray yielded screeches and screams of joy. The children laughed and encircled the elephant, yarn balloons bobbing all around him.
As the others played, Bob studied his environs. The buildings nearby were taller than most. Most were taller than anything Bob had seen before moving into town. People gathered and stared. Some took pictures of the elephant, some of Bob, and some of the children. A short, skinny man with irridescent yellow eyes even poured some sort of powder into the pool. This didn't strike Bob as any stranger than what everyone else was doing, but it was very strange.
As Bob watched, large bubbles began to appear around the base of each of the jets of water. Large irridescent bubbles with a yellow tinge and an exquisite reflection of their environs. Bob tried to pop one with a low branch, but instead of bursting, it slowly collapsed and vanished into the foam. Bob reached for another only to see the bubbles shift away from him. He tried again at another jet and again the bubbles shifted away. This struck him as odd behavior for a bunch of bubbles, but odd behavior in things that shouldn't have any behavior was far too common around people.
Bob leaned over one of the jets and encircled it with larger branches. This kept the bubbles from getting away while giving him a chance to look at them up close. He realized two things very quickly. The first was that the bubbles weren't reflecting part of their environment, specifically the tree reaching over them. Instead of a reflection of his trunk, each bubble had what appeared to be an iris, the foam was a multitude of unblinking eyes staring at him. The second thing he realized was that his roots were losing their strength, making it harder for him to stay upright.
Fortunately for Bob, something he had not anticipated but should have known would happen did happen. The elephant, having filled its belly with water and in a cheery mood more typical of Michelle, the daycare manager, needed to void its bladder. Being an animal, it did so where it stood, in the fountain. The children laughed, screamed, cheered, and vacated the pool in short order. The bubbles staring at Bob began to dissolve near the elephant and Bob's root strength began to come back as well. Bob waited until the pool had returned to normal and then went home with a disconcerted feeling of having just encoutered something conifivorous.

Goe, bigger than a breadbasket.