If someone were to ponder some of this they might get the impression I’m nurturing a specific grudge or maybe a general sense of bitterness. I am, but that’s not what these are about.

Me not being a nice person and the content of these are unrelated. I think?

[They’re not watching]

“Watch me watch me!” The Scamp called out, waving cheerful from atop the highest possible point on the diving apparatus.

“I’m watching,” said the Observer who, in defiance of their name and what they’d just said, was not actually watching. Rather, they were idly flipping backwards and forward between two pages in their book. They weren’t reading it, they just enjoyed moving the pages.

The Scamp – who had believed what the Observer said, despite the obvious lack of any watching actually going on – sprang up into the air, arcing gracefully downwards towards the pool below. On their way they pulled off the sort of gravity-defying, physics-wounding acrobatics they had been dreaming up for weeks. The sort of things that send blood to all the wrong parts of the body, that looked like the person performing them was seconds away from having all their limbs fly off. Impressive stuff, in short. They hit the water and slipped beneath the surface with barely a ripple.

Coming up and sweeping their hair back out of their eyes to see just how delighted the Observer would look after seeing this, the Scamp was a little disappointed to find them staring blankly off into space. They had their neck twisted at a painfully awkward angle as well, so as to allow them to not face the pool at all.

“You weren’t watching!” The Scamp said, pouting. With a crack like the breaking of a tree branch the Observer’s neck turned further so they were actually looking at the pool.

“I was,” they said. They were, of course, lying.

“You were?” The Scamp asked, unsure. The Observer nodded, their much-limper neck adding considerable floppiness to the gesture. It didn’t look comfortable, with much swaying of the head, but the Observer didn’t appear to mind much. Any price to avoid paying attention to the Scamp was a price worth paying.

“Okay…well…watch again! Watch again!” The Scamp exulted, leaping from the pool and clambering up the very top of the diving apparatus once more. The Observer started to dig out their eyeballs.

“Watching?” The Scamp asked from their vantage point, cupping their hands so their voice would carry. It was hard to see the Observer clearly on account of a passing cloud, but they could just about make them out.

“Watching,” the Observer said, sealing their now empty and bleeding sockets with wax. Oblivious to this (or simply unaware of what it meant to their chances of being watched) the Scamp jumped again.

Their execution was even better than the first time, if such a thing were possible. In fact, it was possible. In fact again, it was too possible. Their execution was too good. Their twists and turns and acrobatic flourishes were performed with such flawless precision that they began to run into serious issues. They tumbled and turned faster than their body was capable of handling.

Coming apart in a screaming, bloody flurry of detached limbs as the g-forces tore them to bits, the Scamp plummeted from the top of the diving apparatus. This downward progress was halted abruptly not in the water but just beside it on the edge of the pool. There they splattered, producing the most incredibly sound (not to mention spray pattern). Those few other pool-goers who had been idly watching gawped in stunned horror, jaws hanging low. Several wiped Scamp off themselves, mutely appalled.

The Observer – who not been watching for obvious reasons – waited until they heard an (unrelated) splash before breaking out into insincere, rhythm-less applause. The kind that would be impossible for anyone else to mistake for anything less than a thinly-veiled insult.

“Told you I was watching,” they said picking up their book again and resuming flipping the pages. They rather hoped that was an end to pointless distractions for the day.

The Scamp, or what remained of them, gurgled softly and managed the closest thing to a smile they could in their present condition. They couldn’t be happier to have been watched doing what they loved, and their happiness continued even as they scraped from the poolside and unceremoniously tipped into the bins round the back of the building.

END

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