Joseph Blair

March 15, 2020, 10:52 p.m.

Sure it's not just the munchies?

There was somethin’ real dink about swapping out his usual clobber for boardies. Well okay to be fair, Joey had taken to wearing boardies on the reg anyways, which so far no one had tossed a tanty over so he was probably gonna keep on that way until the winter shivers hit him. But there was still somethin’ about tossing off his robes and standing there in boardies that made him feel all right and instant-noodley. He needed that feeling - especially now that he was technically a teenager and just twiddling around expecting to get a heap of teenaged larrikin drama shoved in his face any minute. It hadn’t come up yet, but Joey knew he was pretty darn average, and every average teenager in every story wound up drama-heavy. There wasn’t no escaping fate, only procrastination.

So today, like every other day, once he had finished enough of his bookwork that he wouldn’t get his mum (or, worse, aunty Estelle) lecturing him from inside his own brain, Joey popped round to the rec room. It took a whopping four min for the short lad to strip off and stack up his runners, robes, and jumper on a chair and then, with a whoop, he raced towards the pool, steady on his feet (which might’ve been cos of always going swimming and being good at everything water related, or maybe there were charms to keep the tiles from getting too slippy? He’d never thought too hard on it before, and wasn’t sure why he was doing that now). There was a moment just poolside where he slowed and crouched and then he launched into a perfect dolphin dive and arced into the water.

All too quick he lost any sense of time. Joey wasn’t a lazy type, so it wasn’t like he was just floating bugger all around the pool, but even swimming laps was enough to power down his brain. There weren’t too many others in the pool now so he could focus on a nice ole steady rhythm of arms and legs and - all of a sudden, he felt a big wet slap on the back. “Oy!” he sputtered.

Shocked outta beat, the Asian-Australian flailed for a moment in the water as he re-oriented himself, and looked for what had slapped him. Something shiny was sinking into the water nearby, so he took a breath and ducked under to check it out, and it turned out to be a fish. One of those skinny fish that came in a can, if he had to guess - fish bought in clear wrap off the shore looked way off. He plucked it out of the water, stared at it a moment longer, and then turned a full circle to figure out where it had come from. The best suspect was Gene, who was (a) nearest to him and (b) sitting with a big bowl that Joey wouldn’t’ve been surprised to see full of fish. Right, then.

With a slow one-handed paddle, he came up to the side where Gene was sitting. He was never entirely sure when his classmate was paying attention, and not knowing if he’d been spotted swimming up, Joey decided to play it safe by giving him a firm poke in the foot just in case. “This your fish? Whatcha on bout, just got the munchies and thought you’d bog in by the pool or what?”

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