Short Fiction

Pool Of Dreams by Doug Hawley

Mickey Monroe was thrilled that the fence around the Critical Research Compound had been blown down by the windstorm the previous night.  He lived just a couple of blocks away and had been tempted by the beautiful pool that was reserved for employees and families only, for as long as he could remember.  The patterned tile, the light emanating from within the pool, and the spectacular statues of nudes and mythical animals fascinated him.  The men and women who swam there dispelled any idea of homely science nerds.  Some days he would stare at the women in their barely there suits, until he was noticed at which time he would saunter off.  The kids at his high school hinted of orgies after dark, but he could never confirm the rumors despite frequently trying.

The next night he decided that he wouldn’t miss his one opportunity.  After dark, he crossed over the downed fence, shucked off his clothes and dove in the pool.  The water was bath temperature and he felt better than he ever had.  After a couple of hours he knew that he had to leave.  He told his parents he would be home after the movie he went to would be out, so he had no excuse to come home later than 11PM.

The next day, Wednesday, he had his standing date with Millie Walker.  After they had their perfunctory goodnight kiss, Mickey was left wondering when, if ever, their relationship would progress.  Those concerns were eclipsed by his itching which had begun shortly after his clandestine swim.  He wondered if the pool had too much chlorine or some other chemical.

He didn’t see Millie Thursday, but was happy that he was no longer itching.  On Friday he did see her.  She complained that her lips were itching.  It was hard to understand her while she was scratching at her mouth.  Had Mickey passed something through their kiss?  When he saw Joe Selwin, the varsity football jock, scratching at his crotch while at lunch, Mickey connected the dots and decided that he wouldn’t be dating Millie again.

After that incident, Mickey didn’t think about his condition.  Over the space of one week, his personality changed radically.  He had been on his school’s Peace Council, trying to find nonviolent solutions to conflict, but he walked out of the next meeting, telling the other members “Your efforts are pointless.  If you are not dominant, you are weaklings.”

He began spending hours on the PW Twitter and Facebook sites.  “PW” was never explained, but it was well known that it stood for “Preemptive War”.  The various “newspeople” on PW revised history to claim the lack of will was the cause of the defeat in Viet Nam.  Balance and righteousness could only happen if the US forces launched an attack on China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.  The only way that Evil Asia, as it was known to PM followers, could be prevented from destroying the USA was to make a massive attack on the heathen monsters that ran those countries.

Mickey was not alone.  PW gathered millions of adherents in a few short months.  Sidney Monk, the most popular of the rabble rousers on PW had ninety five million followers, more than anyone else on Facebook or Twitter.  His fans, known as Monkeys, were candidates in one or both of the major parties for most offices in the presidential election in 20xx.

The non-believers claimed that the radicalizing of the populace had something to do with the Itching Plague that had crossed the country.  Doctors hadn’t been able to find the cause of the Plague.  They all claimed that the itching was benign and had no lasting effect on the sufferers, either physical or mental.

A few months before the election Senator Stan Horowitz, the leader of Negotiation Now, an opponent of PW, was assassinated.  NN had been derided by PW and called appeasers “See how it worked with Hitler?”  Despite the widespread belief that it was the work of PW, the perpetrator was never found.  Most believed that the police didn’t try to solve the crime, and may even have sanctioned it.  After that anyone against PW could expect to become a victim.  Very few spoke against PW after the assassination.

As the votes came in Jared Zass talked to Helen Gage at Critical Research headquarters.  “Looks like we’ve got this one in the bag.  I suspect that Evil Asia will either bend to our will; or cease to exist within a year or two.  I had no idea this would go so smoothly.”

Helen wondered aloud “The USA may take some major damage, but you’ve got to gamble big to preserve our future.  One question – How did you decide Mickey Monroe would be an early puppet, and why the elaborate scheme to expose him to our nanobots?”

“I had noticed him staring at our pool for years before we perfected our undetectable microscopic bots.  If we hadn’t had to be clandestine, our engineers would have received a Nobel Prize for those undetectable mini machines that attach to the recipients’ brain.  Letting him into the pool filled with nanobots via that storm was a great touch.”

“You’re telling me your people made a storm?  You can handle weather?”

“I’m not saying we can, and I’m not not saying we can.  I can tell you that some in charge of implantation consider ourselves the modern pranksters of science.”

“It wasn’t just me and the engineers, Helen.  You were at the controls of the nanobots that turned people into fanatic followers of our plan.  Fantastic job.  A question for you:  Are the rumors true?”

“I’m not saying I am the granddaughter of Dr. Mengele, and I’m not saying I’m not, but any relationship to Germany isn’t my motivation.  I’m doing this for my adopted country that I’ve come to love.  I want it to survive its enemies.  Hitler and his men were evil idiots.  His persecution sent many brilliant Jewish scientists to the West.  Invading Russia was tragic on both sides.  If he ever had any chance of winning the war in Europe he lost it when his stupidity brought America into the war.”

“Got it Helen.  Why don’t the two of us leave early for the underground fortress?  We can spend up to five years there if necessary.  I’m curious, do you want children?”

“I’m ready and packed.  After you, but first you should know that there will be no hanky-panky without dinner and a movie first.”

“Works for me.  The fortress has its own theatre with hundreds of films, and I’m a gourmet cook.”

Doug Hawley

Image by

5 thoughts on “Pool Of Dreams by Doug Hawley”

  1. Hi Doug,
    This is like a conspiracy theory on steroids!
    Your stories are always as interesting as their creator!!
    All the very best my fine friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Doug

    “If you fill it they will come.” The best satire makes you think “as if” at first then “they would if they could” after it sinks in. This fine bit of work satisfies the condition. Very enjoyable and smart.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mickey Monroe’s curiosity started innocently but his character became increasing sinister until I realised, he was being manipulated like a puppet. The political change and the scientists’ views of taking over the world, for me, turned the story into an uneasy comedy. I had to laugh at the historical comparisons and some of the present world views as seen from US eyes. I did enjoy reading this sarcastic interpretation of world events.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. LS – First thanks, second more than you wanted to know about this story.

    I don’t think that this is satire, but horror. It probably came from the talk about WWIII. It scared me a little to write it. The indoctrination here is scienceless fiction, but evil people have started wars before (USA has a bad record and Putin is an evil SOB). 45/TFG/he who should be nameless didn’t start wars, but did practice the time proven low tech big lie technique.

    I sent it to Sam Kandej and felt obligated to mention that I’m not with the couple in the story (Iran).

    Mostly after that fact I noticed that the story had the banality of evil trope. I made these assholes seem like a fun couple other than being murderous bastards.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.