LISA HOPELESS – Welcome to a special meeting of council taking place not at City Hall but at the shallow end of the Crystal Pool.

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – Lookin’ good, Councillor Loveflake.

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – Wish I could say the same, Councillor Maddog.

LISA HOPELESS – Hey you in the tighty-whities—I should say Mr. Coax—do you think you can give us the lowdown on tonight’s agenda while treading water in place?

MR.COAX – I’ll do my best, Madame Mayor. Our first order of business is to discuss a mixed-use facility that would replace the current Crystal Pool with not only a new pool but a new fire hall as well.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – So how would it work?

MR. COAX – We all know that firemen like to keep in shape by lifting weights. The new Crystal Pool design contains an expanded weight room that would not only serve the needs of recreational users but firefighters as well.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – That sounds like a cost saving.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – But what about the time when the firefighters are not in the gym? Where will their living quarters be located?

MR. COAX – On a mezzanine level above the pool.

COUNCILOR JOE THORNTON – So in the event of an emergency . . . ?

MR. COAX – That’s the special feature of the design. Instead of sliding down a pole as would happen at a traditional fire hall, our firemen—and women, I might add—will actually slide down the waterslide.

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – A rather unconventional idea, I must say.

LISA HOPELESS – Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, Councillor Coalman.


LISA HOPELESS – How about we give it a test run? Here, each of you draw a straw.


LISA HOPELESS – Looks like you’re first up, Pam. So here’s the plan. See that locker over there? It’s got fifty pounds of firefighting equipment in it. What you’ve got to do is put on the gear and wait at the top of the waterslide until Mr. Coax gives you the signal.

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – But really, I’m not that strong a swimmer . . .

LISA HOPELESS – You’ll be fine.

MR. COAX – When I pull the alarm, Councillor Maddog, I want you to push off down the slide. I’ll time you to see how long it takes you to get out of the pool, burst through the doors of the building, and start the fire engine. Think of it as a triathlon . . .


MR. COAX – One, two, (alarm sounds)

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – I can’t say this is exactly what I expected when I signed up for public service. But what the hell!


LISA HOPELESS – Who’s up next?

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – If I volunteer I guess that would make me a volunteer fireman.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – One more thing to add to your long list of skills and accomplishments.