There was a rule that you learned very young and that if you were the first one to get into the pool and that was not to jump into the swimming pool without first checking all around the edge and the bottom of the deep end to see if there were any water beetles lurking. This particularly applied to the Lagunillas pool and the Tia Juana pool. Now, these were not the water bugs that one found from time-to-time in the pools. No sir, these were flattish critters that were black with a hard shell and about three inches long and two inches wide and who had a pair of outsized pointed pincers on the head. They were blood suckers and had paddled feet in back and if you dived into the pool and floated on the top enjoying the water they would stealthily swim up from the bottom and before you knew what happened, yeeoooowww!! This was a particular problem at night when all you had were the dim pool lights.

One eventually learned how to catch them and one night I caught one in the Tia Juana pool. I used a coke cup with a small hole in the bottom to relieve the water pressure as I pinned the beast to the side of the pool. You had to work fast and they were quick. Anyway, I took it home and that year I was in the 7th grade in Tia Juana. My house was just outside the gate entrance to the school. Now, Mike Lanciault had a mutt that I thoroughly despised and it would follow Randy and Mike Lanciault to school each day and the teacher let the smelly dog lay in the class next to Randy while it was in session. Randy sat in front of me. I had the beetle in a cup in my pocket and while the teacher was lecturing and the rest of the kids were focused on her I pulled the cup from my pocket and grabbed the beetle from the back and leaned over and stretched out my arm and let the beetle latch onto the pink eye of the dog's butt. All hell broke loose as the dog yelped and danced around the classroom floor trying to reach back and dislodge the beast that was creating the fire at its rear end.

There was no end to the pandemonium that broke out in the class and the kids jumped up and down laughing at the dog as Randy tried to grab it to dislodge the beetle. The teacher lost total control of the class. It was one of the best days of my life, no one knew who did it and the dog never came back to the class.

 

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