The Goldfish

Kevin Burke

It had been a busy work week. Friday afternoon, we unloaded the tools and I bid my co-workers a quick farewell. With a wave of my calloused hand, I climbed into the truck for the long Friday afternoon drive to Ridiculous. Departing from Laguna, I drove slowly; the line of cars crawling through the canyon like a cold metal snake. Hills were covered with  brown, dead grass and the winter rains had left mud and puddles by the roadsides. Expensive cars gleamed wickedly as their drivers crouched behind tinted windows. They jousted for position, racing nimbly from lane to lane in their pathetic attempts to be ahead. “Ahead of what!?” They all seemed to want to be somewhere… anywhere but here. I smiled to myself & laughed out loud at their aggressive behaviors. The proverbial rat race. The desire for more. Better, sooner, quicker. The races of acquisition are always run in the dark. Greed and need. The great lie. People find many things that will bring them down in the end. I know. I’ve been there.

With my ‘give-a-shitter’ permanently broken and my Orange County-induced misanthropy clouding my mind, I plodded along in traffic and listened to Jonsi. As far as I am concerned, Sigur Ros are musical genius. Jonsi- ‘Kolnidur’ is ethereal and timeless!  I crossed the Anaheim hills. The sun glittered off the vehicles around me.  A billboard for a strip club beckoned from a grassy hill just off the freeway. The huge photographic image was a red wet mouth;  a well-manicured index finger vertically extended over it. “Shhhhhh”.  It spoke of beautiful women, unlimited pleasures and private dances. I smirked to myself in the rear view mirror. “Yeah right!” I muttered.  “Until you run out of money….that’s when the pleasures always end.” I took a sip of water and decided to change my train of thought. Force Quit.

friday find
deep
hip
shallow

I made my way slowly home. After I exited, I drove a nearby side street and looked for foreclosures. Weaving through a neighborhood, I spotted one. A run-down camper perched in the driveway. It was sun-bleached and spiderwebs covered the tires & fenders underneath. Trash cans were piled with refuse. It had a certain empty feel to it. Windows were sealed up tight. Old newspapers  soggily sat in the dead grass. I pulled up. After checking around a bit, I pulled myself over the left rear wall and froze. The pool was amazing.  It was in the shape of a Pepperidge Farm Goldfish cracker. It looked insane. It was a Master Pool with bullnose coping and perfect transitions. The surface was unreal and pristine. There was some water in and I made immediate plans to come back the next morning and drain it.

the round concrete church

I phoned Sallie and he told me of finding the Pink Tile Lounge that afternoon. We were stoking because we both were pretty sure we had found one of the best pools in awhile. The next day, I was in the yard by 7:00 am. I bucketed it myself. I do this sometimes. It’s quiet. It’s like going to church in so many ways. I feel most comfortable around skateboards, concrete and plaster. A skateboard can never lie to me or strike me in anger. A skateboard won’t tell me to get a better job, make more money or “grow up”. A skateboard won’t ever attempt to use me in any fashion. I bucketed. The morning sun warmed my back. It peeked through the purple-flowered trumpet vines lining the hedges & sent fingers of sunlight across the tiles.

It was very quiet & still. I looked at the transitions. I glimpsed the deathbox –hollow and dangerous–above me. I looked for lines. I thought of old Stan Sharp photographs. Skateboard World. 1979. Jay Smith. Jerry Valdez. Dave Ferry. Kent Senatore. Valley Pools. Elephant Country. The Fishbowl. The Buddha Pool. History. I bucketed slowly & sipped strong coffee. A small dog began yapping nearby & I heard a car alarm chirp. I paused to listen. Nothing. I continued on & drained the pool. It was perfect. I thought of the session to come.

John Zask
Salba
Tyco

Later, Salba, Riverside Shawn, myself, John Zask, Tyco, Adam 12, Billy, Badlander Chris & Michael Serna Jr. would christen the pool. Grinds and lines were in abundance and the Goldfish offered up new possibilities. Later, in the ensuing months, others would ride it with us and marvel at the amazing lines and fun found inside the Goldfish. She is gone. Dogs are kept in the backyard now. Pitbulls menace and growl their hostility from the poop-littered confines of a once-fun patch of foreclosure paradise. It sits there, light-deep in black water and dog feces. I find it such a waste of a good place. Thanks to MRZ, JZ, Brandon Wong & Sean Peterson for the images. Skate & don’t ever give in to the great lie. – Ozzie

me
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