(A mostly true story).
There is a pale lady with a potbelly and dyed blonde hair that morphs into dark ink at the roots. She flings her green robe over the chain-link fence and sinks into the hot pool next to her husband. He is red-faced and likely potbellied too (although distorted by the water) and drinking a dented can of Coca-Cola. An apparent local starts up a conversation and the husband puts an arm around his wife when he speaks.
“Oh, yeah. I been cat huntin’ out here. Mmm…hmmm…me and my buddy been out ‘bout four days. Fifteen below. Maybe thirty with them wind gusts.”
The wife has a half-smile and nods in agreement. She dips her hand under water and pushes a loose strand of dyed blonde behind her pallid ear.
“Oh, yeah?” asks the local man, an Indian with shoulder length black hair and a half-smile like the other man’s wife.
“Did ya get anything then?” the local asks.
“Yeah, yeah. We worked for the sucker. Out in thigh-deep snow. Lucky I got my license—being an outta stater and all. Real lucky.” He leans back into the side of the pool, arm still draped over his wife’s shoulder like an animal skin rug.
“Ah, yeah. That really surprises me,” the local responds.
The conversation drags on like hauling a heavy, wet body of fur in the snow.
There is another man at the opposite end of the pool wearing a red stocking cap and glasses. The glass is completely fogged over so it is impossible to tell what he is trying to focus on. He is faced toward the hot pool conversation, but I imagine he is trying not to listen. I imagine that his eyes are closed. His face is pockmarked and his right bicep has a tattoo of a male Native face with a headdress. The eyes are small.
The tattoo artist was not focused on detail and the ink looks as though it was pulled directly from a haphazard sketchbook page. The skin must have bled and scarred. Maybe the tattoo is very old. The man doesn’t move. He stands straight—blinded by the fog.
Another woman emerges from underwater like a soggy apparition. She climbs out of the pool, steaming in the cool air. She pulls an orange-squared, hooded robe from the fence and dives her body through. Somehow she removes her two-piece underneath and the material lands on the cement in one, dripping blob.
The men stop talking. The local dips his head under water. The potbellied man watches the orange robed woman slink away. He hunts for an audience and his eyes land on us.
We instinctively exit the hot pool, our bare feet leaving tracks in the snow.