A Death

by Penrod

Slippery Sam died on John's 45th birthday when Erik was 13 years old. Sam was a gentle, elusive rogue. His haunt was a pool just west of the Atlantic Ocean in the state of Massachusetts. For seven summers Sam teased swimming children. He would pinch their toes or grab their legs and then escape to the bottom of the pool. He jetted from side to side and from end to end, eluding his pursuers.

Sam's primary pursuer was a young boy named Erik. Sometimes Erik had help. Robert, Kevin, Tiffany, and Shelly were among them. Once in a while Sam got caught. Nearly always, Erik was the one who would apprehend him and haul him off to jail in the shallow end of the pooL But try as they might, the children could not prevent a jail-break. Sooner or later, the slippery one escaped. Once loose, he roamed the pool doing his deviltry until the children could apprehend him again.

Each year Erik grew stronger, faster, and smarter. As this happened, Slippery Sam was able to draw upon previously unused capacity and continued to be a challenge for Erik and the others to catch.

June passed and July of Erik's eleventh summer came without a sign of Slippery Sam. The waters of the pool were undisturbed by the rogue. Then one evening in late July, Erik looked down from the second floor window to the pool below. To his surprise, he saw Sam in the water. Quickly he pulled on his swimming suit, rushed down the stairs, dove into the pool, and apprehended Slippery Sam in a matter of moments. Sam escaped. But not for long, Try as he might, using all his tricks and slippery powers, Sam could elude Erik only momentarily.

This must have discouraged Slippery Sam, for he made no appearances the next summer. Erik continued to grow stronger, faster, smarter, and taller. On July 19 of the following summer, Sam made an appearance. Erik caught him immediately. The slippery one escaped but was apprehended in a matter of seconds. Erik leveled his gun finger at Sam, "Bang! Slippery Sam is dead." And so he was.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington's Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.

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