The Pond Fountain
It was obvious.
Ever since the City performed its annual maintenance on the pond fountain, it hadn’t been the same. Five weeks in now and nobody bothered to fix it. Trevor Barlowe doubted anybody except for him even noticed there was a problem.
Every morning as he walked by the pond, the issue was so glaring. He couldn’t understand why others hadn’t noticed it. He would give it a couple more weeks before taking matters into his own hands. Trevor was hoping it wouldn’t have to come to that, but in his mind there was really no other choice.
When the City came in to adjust the fountain two months ago, he watched as they tended to it. They turned off the fountain so they wouldn’t get showered on and then rowed a small boat out to the fountain structure. There, with the boat anchored, two maintenance technicians did what needed to be done in less than an hour. In their haste, though, Trevor believed they made matters worse.
Throughout those in-between weeks, he was counting on the City to do its job. He left messages for the City to tend to the problem, never once suggesting he’d have to go out to take care of the problem himself if nobody cared enough to resolve it. Some bureaucrat would take that as a threat, pinpoint his location, and have him hauled away. No, he just left five voice mails and sent six carefully crafted emails explaining his concerns.
“Certainly they have to go out and fix it,” he muttered each morning as he passed the fountain. “Aren’t they required to respond to citizenry?”
Trevor began plotting how he could remedy the situation. It all boiled down to logistics. Buying a boat was out of the question, because then he’d have to come up with the money to buy, transport, insure, store, and maintain the boat, along with a hundred other expenses associated with owning a small boat. However, he wasn’t opposed to plopping down a hundred for a pair of decent chest waders because that’s what the situation called for, that is, if the pond was shallow enough to wade into.
Of course with chest waders, he’d also need a waterproof head lamp to fix it late at night or early morning. The floodlights highlighting the fountain were a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they would provide plenty of light for him to work under but they would also give him away. Plus, he’d have to bring a small array of tools, namely wrenches, because there was no telling what he’d have to do to get the job done.
The logistics for performing his own maintenance on the fountain was becoming more complex with each passing day.
More time had passed and still no repairs. The thick drab olive green chest waders and tools came in the mail that week. Trevor began to plot out his course of action. A New Moon would give him cover in two days so he’d have to act then.
Thursday night at 11:30, Trevor stepped into the pond and waded towards the lit fountain. Fortunately, the waders were just high enough to keep him dry as he eased his way out. A mechanic by trade, Trevor was hoping he’d quickly be able to figure out how to make the necessary adjustments and get out just as fast. He was also hoping that nothing was networked to a computer at a remote station or else he’d be in trouble. He knew that tampering with networked systems tended to set off alarms elsewhere.
Just as he touched a wrench to a bolt at the foot of the fountain, two spotlights shone from the street. The squad car lights were now on, and someone with a bull horn said, “Step away from the fountain and wade back to the shore.”
With the spotlight still on him, he waded back to shore where two officers led him to the side of a squad car and began questioning him.
“What were you doing in the water near the fountain, sir?”
“Take a look at the fountain. What do you see?” asked Trevor.
“It doesn’t matter what I see. What were you doing trespassing on City property and tampering with the fountain? That’s a criminal offense, you know? You have some ID?”
Pulling out his wallet from inside his waders, he said, “Of course you don’t get it. The fountain’s crooked. Look at it. When they fixed it two months ago, they left it that way.”
Officer Carter turned his head towards the fountain and then examined the ID.
“I can see where you might think that, Mr…. Barlowe, but it’s the pond that’s crooked.”
Trevor squinted at the officer and then looked out at the floodlit fountain.
“Sure. I’ve got OCD too and that’s the only logical conclusion I can come to when I first saw it months ago. The pond is definitely crooked. We’ll let you off with a warning this time, but just know I will put in a word at City Maintenance for you … and me.”
“I’ve already tried to inform them.”
“I’m sure you did,” said Officer Carter. “I’m sure you did.”