The Bath Tub
Julie Shapiro

The ghost of past baths sat soaking up rays on the front lawn. Suds of yesteryear dripped off the porcelain surface of the tub.
A bird chirped. Its bidding, its call, a young boy heard.
He sat in the tub and raced a sailboat. A swell tipped the boat over, then moments later the boat stood upright and the boy pushed it along. Fine lines appeared on the base of the tub.
A man emerged from the house and turned the tub over on its side. But the boy and the sailboat didn't fall. They didn't fall. They continued sailing the boat.
The man ran his hands over the bottom of the tub, "Those scratches. They weren't there yesterday. I know they weren't there. I cleaned the tub myself."
A little boy laughed as the man dumped bleach into the tub and scrubbed with a yellow sponge. The boy and his boat continued to sail. Lines appeared on both sides of the tub.
The man cursed and turned the tub upside down. The little boy's laughter grew louder. The man dumped the bottle of bleach on himself and began scrubbing his skin raw. Flecks of skin fell on grass blades; pink on green, red on green.
The boy stopped laughing, "Daddy. It's ok. I'm here." He handed his father the sail boat with the little white sail and the blue bow. The father screamed.
"No, don't be scared. I just wanted to go sailing. I just wanted to go sailing. I'm a big boy."
"Was," the father said.
"You heard me, Daddy. You really heard me?"
The father flipped the tub over, sat in it and twirled the sailboat in his hand.