Categories > Cartoons > Class of the Titans

Swimming Lessons

by crazyeightpianogal 5 Reviews

Archie's about to get his feet wet as he faces his fears and tries to live it down...

Category: Class of the Titans - Rating: G - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor - Characters:  - Published: 2006/10/20 - Updated: 2006/10/20 - 3251 words - Complete

Swimming Lessons

As usual, I am stuck between my desire to write good stories and my overwhelming compulsion to give everyone cute little families. Hope you enjoy it anyhow!

Archie stared down at the water of the wading pool as it lapped ominously at the stairs.
"Come on in, it'll be ok," said the swim instructor.
"Yeah, come on, mister! Don't be scared!" said one of the numerous toddlers standing in the pool with the instructor.
"Trust me, absolutely no one has ever drowned in a wading pool," the instructor assured him.
He tried to move his feet, but they were rooted to the ground. The toddlers all stood there, staring at him.
"Get in, Daddy! Don't be afraid like a big sissy this time!" said his five-year-old daughter, Whitney.
She said it in a completely optimistic and encouraging voice, having no idea how much she had just embarrassed him.
Archie mustered up all the resolve he had.
"Remember...Gotta be a good example for Whitney," he thought as he slowly climbed down the first step.

The first time Archie had gone to the local pool had been seven years ago. He hadn't actually gone into the water; he'd just sat and watched while his first kid, Sylvester, had taken introductory swim lessons. It had been Atlanta's suggestion; she'd noticed that Sly was reluctant to go near lakes, or even large bathtubs. He had no problem with water now- in fact, he loved it. When their daughter had gotten old enough for introductory lessons, they'd decided to enroll her, too.
Atlanta had studied the sign-up sheet carefully. After filling it out, she'd asked,
"Introductory lessons are for those just beginning to enter the water who are at least five years of age, right?"
"That's right, ma'am."
"Then, do you think... I could... sign my husband up, too?"
"WHAT!" Archie yelped.
The pool manager looked surprised. "I suppose so... but this is program is basically only for very young children."
"When it comes to water, he has about as much experience as a five-year-old."
"Atlanta! What are you doing? I can't... do you..."
"Come on, Archie. This will be a great way to get over your irrational fear of water."
"But... in a preschool class?"
"You can show Whitney that being brave and trying new things is a part of life."
"Fear of Water?" said the manager. "It's a little unorthodox, but I suppose that the introductory program would be the best place to start."
Archie groaned. "Do you at least have any introductory classes for adults?"
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm afraid we don't."
"Will you, Archie?" Atlanta asked.
Archie stared at the floor, tense and uncomfortable. Whitney ran up and hugged his legs.
"I won't let you drown, Daddy. Please?"
Archie still wasn't very good at saying no to his little girl.
"Okay," he grumbled as Atlanta filled out the form and Whitney smiled happily up at him.

Lessons would start in a week. A few days after signing up, Whitney wanted to go to the beach and get a head start. The moment they got there, Sly jumped right in and started splashing around.
"Dad! Whitney! Get in, the water's great!"
Whitney obviously hadn't inherited Archie's fear of water. She waded in immediately and laughed with delight when the large waves knocked her over.
"Mommy, Daddy, will you take me to the deep part?" she asked.
Archie took one look at the gigantic mass of dark, deep water and felt his insides twist up in fear.
"Uh... you go ahead," he said to Atlanta. "I'll unload the towels and stuff."
He watched as Atlanta held Whitney at the surface and taught her to kick and paddle. Sly threw golf balls randomly into the water and dove down to retrieve them.
"I guess I'm officially the worst swimmer in the family now," he thought as he unpacked one towel at a time, trying to delay as long as possible. As long as possible wasn't long enough.

"Ready yet, dad?" Sly called.
"Just a few more seconds of mental preparation," Archie said with a horrendous fake smile. He looked down at the edge of the water. It was only an inch deep.
"Okay. I'm just going to step into the water. Nothing bad will happen. I can do this," he thought. He took one step forward, and the water washed over his feet. Archie felt just a tiny little glow of competence.
"See? It isn't so hard. Now I'll take one more step." He took another step, ankle-deep this time. Dread crept up on him, but another surge of pride convinced him to keep going.
"All right! Can't stop now! Whitney can do it, and she's only in preschool. I can too." Archie pressed onward, confident that he'd make it all the way in. He waded in up to his knees, but stopped suddenly. The water in front of him wasn't as clear anymore. It was starting to turn foggy and blue, hiding the reassuring ground underneath it. Going in farther would be going into the unknown. He looked down at his feet. The water made them look ghostly, pale, sickly, like they were wasting away...
"Stop it! You're being stupid!" Archie said to himself. "Just take another step..."
His feet didn't move.
"Just one more step...Don't be a baby, you can do it..."
He stayed rooted firmly to the spot.

Meanwhile, Sly was teaching Whitney how to "water wrestle".
"You win by dunking the other person's head underwater. No kicking, no biting, no punching, no hair pulling, and most of all, no holding anyone underwater for more than a second or two. Got it?"
"You're going down!" growled the tiny little girl.
Atlanta tried her best not to laugh out loud at the sight of Whitney poised to attack someone twice her size and more than twice her age.
"Okay, you two! Go!"
Whitney grabbed Sly's midsection and tried to topple him. Amazingly, he actually was thrown off balance a bit. However, he easily defeated Whitney simply by sitting down before she had a chance to release her grip. Whitney came back up sputtering but till feisty.
"Lucky! I'll get you this time."
"Okay," Sly said, wondering if it was really fair to teach Whitney to wrestle before she was physically capable of beating him.
"Go!" Atlanta yelled.
Whitney raced around behind her big brother and jumped up on his shoulders. He stumbled a bit, then simply reached back and lifted her up over his head. It was easy to dunk her from there. After Whitney resurfaced, Sly said,
"I call a five-year time out to let you grow some more."
"I could beat you if I had some practice!"
"When we're more evenly matched, we'll see."
Whitney pouted.
"Until then, will you ref while I wrestle mom?"
"Whatever."
Atlanta stepped forward and assumed a fighting position. "How bad do you want me to beat him up, Whit?"
Whitney smiled evilly. "Go."
Atlanta knocked Sly's feet out from under him, and he went down with a splash.
"Go!"
Sly was ready this time, and he grabbed Atlanta's foot and pulled to bring her under.
"Best two out of three?" he said.
"You got it," she replied, water pouring off her in small streams.
"Go!" said Whitney.
Atlanta and Sly engaged in a pushing contest and stirred up sand all around the bottom, making the water murky. Atlanta gave an extra hard shove, and when Sly shoved back she stepped out of the way, making him lose his balance and fall in.
"You can't win with brute force, Whit. You need to trick them sometimes," Atlanta said as Sly heaved himself back out.
"That was so cool!" Whitney shouted. "Now you should wrestle Daddy and we'll see who's the world champ!"
Atlanta looked back towards shore. Archie was standing knee deep in the water, looking a bit ill.
"Arch, come out here so I can dunk you a few times."
"Maybe a bit later," he called back, looking straight down.
"Are you sure?"
"Just do something else for now. I'll be out there in no time."

It only took a few hours to get Whitney so hooked on water she didn't want to come out at the end of the day. She could actually swim on her own, and Atlanta had to do quite the speed swim to catch her and drag her back onshore.
Archie had stood in that one spot the whole time. If that wasn't bad enough, the sight of all that water had made him oblivious to the fact that the sun was beating down on him constantly. His shoulders got so sunburned you couldn't even blow on them without them hurting. After they got home, Sly called Uncle Neil, who recommended all-natural Aloe Vera gel.

"Billy?" called the swim instructor.
"Here," said a small blond boy.
"Whitney?"
"Hi!" said the enthusiastic little girl with long black hair. The instructor liked her already. She'd be no trouble- she obviously wanted to learn to swim, and was confident enough to set an encouraging example to the more timid children. The instructor didn't know why the man with purple hair had come; Whitney didn't seem to need moral support. He was wearing swim trunks, maybe he was one of those overprotective fathers who swam a few laps, but mostly watched their children from a distance just in case? Oh, well, it wasn't that important. On to the rest of the children.
"Archie?"
No one answered.
"Archie? Come on, which one of you little guys is Archie?"
"Uh, I am," said a voice that was considerably deeper than that of the average five-year-old boy.
The instructor was shocked. Was this some kind of joke?
"Really? Do any of you know this man?" he asked the preschoolers.
"Yup. He's my Daddy," said Whitney.
The instructor furrowed his brow, thinking hard. Now that she mentioned it, someone had said something to him about a little girl in his class and something about a father. The instructor shrugged.
"I guess he seems harmless enough," he thought as he went through the rest of the names on the list.

"Okay! Who's ready to go in the water?" the instructor asked.
There were a few positive responses, a few nervous mutterings, and an audible gulp from the purple-haired father, Archie.
"Everyone into the pool!" the instructor said as he led the way. He heard small splashes as the kids entered the pool behind him.
"Get in a circle," he told them. Soon, everyone was in the pool and facing him- except the man named Archie. He was still standing on the ground, looking extremely nervous.
"Are you coming?" the instructor asked.
Archie stared down at the water of the wading pool as it lapped ominously at the stairs.
"Come on in, it'll be ok," said the swim instructor.
"Yeah, come on, mister! Don't be scared!" said one of the numerous toddlers standing in the pool with the instructor.
"Trust me, absolutely no one has ever drowned in a wading pool," the instructor assured him.
Archie tried to move his feet, but they were rooted to the ground. The toddlers all stood there, staring at him.
"Get in, Daddy! Don't be afraid like a big sissy this time!" said Whitney.
She said it in a completely optimistic and encouraging voice, having no idea how much she had just embarrassed him.
Archie mustered up as much resolve as he could.
"Remember...Gotta be a good example for Whitney," he thought as he slowly climbed down the first step.
"That's it. Keep coming," the instructor encouraged.
Suddenly, the wall next to the wading pool exploded inwards, bombarding them all with dust and rubble. Children screamed in terror as huge chunks of cement smashed into the water. Archie saw stars when one smacked him in the head and sent him flying.
When his vision cleared, it was already too late to do anything. An armored van had crashed into the building. Two men in black ski masks had snatched Whitney and the swim instructor from the pool and were using them as human shields. Sirens were wailing away outside the building.
"Put them down and come out with your hands up!" a megaphone blared.
The first thug quickly bent down and picked up a large chunk of concrete.
"If any of you try something, this guy dies!" he yelled as he held the sizable rock above the swim instructor's head.
"Let me go!" Whitney shrieked as she kicked the second thug in the shins.
"Ow! You little ^%#!"
The first thug turned to his partner and said, "Get in the van and back it out of the wall! I'll cover you!"
The second thug flung Whitney away from himself and jumped back in the van. Archie watched in horror as Whitney hit the side of the Olympic-size pool and plummeted right to the bottom of the deep end.
He waited nervously, hoping that she'd swim back up. Seconds ticked by like hours.
She wasn't coming up.

Moments earlier, Atlanta had just been pulling out of the pool parking lot when she saw the police cars chasing an armored van. Still thinking like the heroine she was, she quickly got an idea.
"Get in the back seat and do up your seat belt, Sly! It's safer back there!" she yelled.
He did so with superhuman speed. "Not again," he thought as he braced himself for some sort of impact.
Atlanta drove straight at the armored van, aiming for its left side.
When they hit, the recoil sent the van careening off to the right, totally out of control. Atlanta's jeep was thrown backwards and crashed into a dumpster at about the same time the van crashed into the wall of the public pool.
Atlanta opened her mouth to say something, but Sly cut her off by saying,
"Yes, mom, I'm okay. You can go fight the bad guys now."
Atlanta jumped out of the car and raced off, wondering if this sort of thing might be happening a little too often.

Archie had fought all sorts of bloodthirsty monsters, and definitely knew how scary it was to almost be eaten alive or crushed into pulp. It was nowhere near as terrifying as knowing that Whitney was under an entire pool of water, slowly drowning to death. The criminals were escaping, the swim instructor had fainted, and all the other children were panicking, but he didn't notice. He ran over to the side of the pool and looked down at all the water. Without one thought, he jumped right in.
Everything was blurry. Archie swam downwards, clumsily and awkwardly. He was moving too slow. He wished he'd taken swimming lessons before something like this had happened. The chlorine stung his eyes, blinding him more every second. Whitney was only visible as a dark blob. The water resisted his efforts to go deeper, pushed him back up toward the surface. Archie only struggled harder. He had to get to Whitney. She'd die if he didn't reach her soon.
He was running out of breath. His lungs screamed for air. They strained against his ribs while he struggled to resist the urge to inhale water. He pushed the intense pain to the back of his mind. His lungs could burst for all he cared. All that mattered was getting to Whitney before it was too late.
At long last, he reached the bottom of the pool and Whitney's limp little body. He scooped her up and started back. The surface of the water looked like a solid wall that would trap him underneath the moment he reached it. Archie knew that in this case, looks were deceiving. The only thing that he'd find at the surface was sweet, life-giving air. The only trouble was, he wasn't getting any closer. No matter how hard he kicked, he remained stationary in the water that seemed thicker than molasses.
Archie squeezed his eyes shut as he forced himself to use the last of his strength. He was certain that he wouldn't make it. His old foe would suffocate him slowly, torturously slowly, and then drag him back down forever. And he didn't care.
He only wished he could have saved his little girl.
Suddenly, all the pressure around his head lifted, and he felt a blast of cool wind rushing in to fill his deprived lungs. His eyes popped open in shock. He'd reached the surface.
Archie heaved himself and Whitney over the side of the pool and back onto solid ground. After gently putting her down, he searched anxiously for signs of life. The large bump on her head looked severe, but that wasn't his biggest concern. She wasn't breathing. Archie wasn't exactly sure what the rules of CPR were, but he did remember a few things that Jay had hammered into their skulls about water rescue many years ago. He pumped her chest twice.
It worked. She launched into a coughing fit, and all the water that been sucked into her lungs came pouring out.
Whitney sat up slowly. She was a bit shaky, and her eyes were a little unfocused, but she could still speak clearly.
"What happened?"
"Don't worry, kiddo. You're safe now."
"All I remember is hitting my head. Did I go into the big pool?"
"Yep."
"Who saved me?"
Archie looked over at the pool in astonishment. "I guess I did." As his head started clearing, he slowly began to realize that he had been under all that water. Suddenly, all the blood rushed out of his head, and his mouth turned as dry as paper.
"Thanks, Daddy."
His head started spinning all over again as he flopped down onto the tile floor.
"Daddy? Are you all right?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Daddy's just going to lie down and have heart attack for a little while, okay?"
*
Later, Archie learned that the two men who'd crashed into the building had robbed a bank just minutes ago. Atlanta had run them off the road and into the building, and then beat them into submission when they tried to get away. The only words that came to mind when he heard all this were "typical Atlanta."
They'd taken Whitney to the hospital so she could be monitored for signs of pneumonia. Other than her bump on the head, she seemed completely unscathed and went home after only one night.
None of the other children had been harmed, although Archie was pretty sure a lot of them would be reluctant to go near a public pool again.

About a week later, Whitney came running into the kitchen with a fox bite on her arm. Atlanta disinfected the wound while Whitney fumed.
"That stupid fox was nothing but a big meanie! I hate foxes!" she said.
"Whitney, a wild animal can't tell if you're going to hurt it or not. They have to protect themselves. It's a part of their survival instinct."
Whitney looked sheepish. "Oops. I forgot. I told him I was nice, but foxes don't speak people, they speak fox."
"That's right."
"How many instincts are there, mommy?"
"Hundreds, but the survival instinct is the second most important in the entire world."
"What's the first?"
"The instinct to protect your babies."
Archie smiled as he watched the exchange between the two. Atlanta and the kids could bug him about his water issues forever. He was just glad that they were alive and well.
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