Sprinklers: A first-hand account

Dana Thompson

Illustration: Eddy Vazquez

The following is a dramatization of something that really happened. Really.

I know they’re out to get me. I know they’re just waiting to ambush me. One cold and freaky night, they will catch me off-guard and I will be powerless against their will . . . DRENCHED.

Here I am, walking across Ankeny late at night. I stayed at the library three hours longer than I was expecting, writing my paper: The Evolution of the Tambourine as a Completely Useless Instrument Except for Making Lead Singers of Bands Feel Like They’re Actually Doing Something. The afternoon was warm, but the evening is so cold I forget how to blink/how many fingers I have. As I near the middle of Ankeny, something makes me stop . . .

It starts quietly, an ominous hiss, and grows to a roar. I freeze. I AM NOW FROZEN IN BOTH THE LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE SENSE. They’ve found me. I should have brought some sort of protection, or at least some running shoes.

As terror threatens to overtake my senses, I suddenly clench my butt cheeks together and set my jaw. I am strong. Let it begin.

As the sprinkler system roars to life, I take off into the fray. Leaping, dodging, I sprint through the spray. I hit 70, 80, 90 miles an hour! I’m pretty sure I execute a perfect triple axel somewhere in there.

Suddenly, I’m on the home stretch. I can see the door of the dorm. I have my swipe at the ready. AND THEN. IT HAPPENS.

Sprink-zilla erupts before me. Bastard’s gotta be 30 feet in diameter. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS SPRINKLER? ONLY JACK’S BEANSTALK NEEDS THIS SPRINKLER. I fall to my knees and bow my head in defeat.

Then I look up. Getting to my feet, I take a pretty wide power stance and bellow: “SPARTANS! WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION?” Then, because it’s only me out there, I reply to myself: “AWOO AWOO!” Then I charge through the stream.

It drenches me to the bone and removes some of my excess skin and facial features, but I make it through alive. Triumphant, grinning, I pump the air with my fist. Down with the sprinklers. Up with me.