“What we’re dealing with,” the pool guy said on a dead afternoon in June when the children were tired of playing and their parents were tired of parenting, “is algae.”

He was a big guy, with hairless skin and a firm smile. He dragged an aluminum rod across the purple dust floating along the pool surface and lifted up a line of squirming pink threads, like something expelled from an underwater sea monster.

The sun was hot overhead as it eased into the west. Night was hours off. It would be hours before Alice and Kurt could shrug off the kids, tucking them into their beds.

The pool guy stood with his hands on his hips and waited for instructions.

Kurt, flanked by the boys, now six and eleven, was holding the remote temperature control. “Just do it,” he said in the direction of the pool guy.

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