Mark Rosenblum 

Hard Water, Easy Life

A Tuxedo stray strays into our backyard. Our dog Sherman, a Mexican hairless, barks incessantly at the cat. The cat ignores Sherman; just licks black and white fur with–pardon the pun–dogged intent.

We purchase Sherman a tank, a Sherman tank to take his mind off the cat. And although we enjoy Sherman’s hairless head sporting WWII-era goggles and peering from the hatch, it scares the cat. The girlfriend says since the cat is anxious and the tank occupies more yard than originally intended, we should deep-six it. So we drive it into the pool. You see, we never use our pool, never fill it. We have hard water, calcium scaling (shower head looks like it was dipped in cocaine). Besides, I can’t swim and my girlfriend doesn’t like how she looks in a bikini, nor will she wear a one-piece, says it’s old-fashioned and makes her look like her mother. I met her mother when we visited Folsom.  She was convicted of murder, stabbed her husband in a jealous rage. My girlfriend’s father once appeared on a game show in the 50s, part of the quiz show scandals she tells me. He insisted he won fair and square, but her mother never believed a rodeo clown could know that much about Honeybees or Benjamin Franklin. Pollination and politics won him a bundle of money.  The thousands he didn’t gamble away were spent on whores.  That’s how my girlfriend’s parents met (her mother wasn’t a whore, she was a member of Gamblers Anonymous. Brought potato salad to a meeting and bam—fastest way to man’s heart—aside from plunging a kitchen knife into it).

With the tank gone the black and white now struts around the backyard like he owns the place. Reality is I own the place, no bank loan. When my father was killed jumping from an airplane during a WWII paratrooper reenactment (I was part of the class action iParachute app lawsuit debacle), I made a fortune.

I initially intended to rough it through life, be a jazz drummer. Then, just like that, lawyers handed me millions. I quickly discovered that when money supplants nurturing your dreams the dreams die and an easy life breaths apathetic air into your lungs (and you drink a lot of expensive wine).

It’s been a month since the stray strayed into the yard and the dog no longer barks at her. As a matter of fact, today the dog and cat are curled up together in the doghouse–allies in slumber. My girlfriend is in the kitchen preparing her mother’s potato salad while I’m outside filling the pool. That’s right, filling the pool. I’ve been taking swimming and scuba classes.  No more apathetic air for me.  Mine will come from the tank (not the Sherman, the SCUBA). I’m going to attempt a wreck dive, an imaginary undersea adventure to retrieve Sherman’s goggles from the Sherman tank. An easy quest your say? Perhaps, but the water is hard.




Mark Rosenblum is a New York native who now lives in Southern California where he misses the taste of real pizza and good deli food.  He attempts not to drive his wife crazy, but tends to fail miserably.  His eclectic ramblings appear in Monkeybicycle, Penduline, Vine Leaves, Pure Slush, The Emerge Literary Journal, The Raleigh Review, Maudlin House, Flash Frontier, Atlas and Alice and Crab Fat Magazine.