SWIMMIN’ WITH THE FISHES!

My name is Johnny Stone. I am a professional swimmer. This story is about something that happened to me last year, around November 2015. I was practicing for the upcoming Olympics. I had to win. I simply had to. I mean, it’s the Olympics! Honor and glory await those who win. Those who practice are perfect, and those who are perfect always win. This is what my coach keeps telling me.

He is . . . well . . . I’ll just let him tell you.

LISTEN, AND LISTEN WELL, YA LANDLUBBERS!

MY NAME IS COACH PRACTISORELSE! I LIVE BY ONE RULE (well, two), WHICH IS PRACTICE OR ELSE. YOU CATCH MY DRIFT? YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT. YOU BETTER CATCH MY DRIFT . . . OR ELSE!

MY SECOND RULE IS PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!

YOU PRACTICE OR YOU FAIL!

I HATE FAILURES!

Okay, coach. That’s enough. I’ll bet anything that the readers have got an ear failure by reading your message

(I hope that you didn’t get an ear failure by reading that message. I get that speech everyday; imagine how I feel . . .)

Anyways, back to the point. My coach is not Mr. Nice Guy

He’s been teaching me since I was in the fifth grade, and, boy, you should’ve seen him the day I came second in the state level championships. I thought he’d manage to shatter the windows, the way he was yelling at me.

I meet him every day at five, morning and evening. He makes me exercise first, then swim ten laps around the perimeter of the pool. Then, he’d give me a list of upcoming tournaments, which I keep in my bag for future reference and gaining permission to go to a particular tournament.

Today, though, I came back from a tiring day and slept immediately. When I got up, it was seven in the evening. “Oh my God” I realized, as I thought about what the coach would say. I ran down the stairs, screaming, “Ma! Why didn’t you wake me for my swimming lesson? This is horrible! The coach will kill me.”

“Oh, no, Johnny. Your coach called. He said that today’s class was cancelled.”

“Ohh . . . thank God!” I said, relieved.

“But you have class tomorrow.”

“Right. Gotcha.”

“Have your dinner now, ok?”

“Yeah”

That night, I slept, a very relieved person, knowing that my coach will not explode in front of me tomorrow.

But I was so wrong . . .

The next morning, I went to my class almost skipping, my coach is not going to scold me, my coach is not going to scold me, yay!

As soon as I entered, he started

“Stone! There was no class yesterday, but when I called, you were sleeping!

Sleeping, for god’s sake!

You should have come and practiced, even though I wasn’t there!”

I imagined glass shattering all around me.

After he was done, I went to swim. I jumped into the water, but, suddenly, the water became saline.

When I looked up, I saw that I was meters below the surface.

I panicked and swam upwards as fast as I could. As soon as I touched the surface, I gasped for breath, and looked around. All I saw was an endless expanse of water . . . the sea?

But . . . it couldn’t be possible. I’m pretty sure I jumped into my swimming pool, and not the Pacific.

I blinked. No change. I pinched my arm.

That did it.

I wasn’t in the Pacific. My name wasn’t Johnny Stone. I wasn’t a professional swimmer.

Wait . . . this is Chennai. My name is S.S. Bhanav, and Chennai was flooded in November 2015.

No wonder.

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