Bones and I stood up.
"Pick on someone your own size!" said Bones, squaring his shoulders.
Jones faced us, real serious. I could see we were in for a fight and I knew who would win. Bones and I were no match for this bully.
Rod walked away.
"Hey! Whimp!" shouted Jones. "Scared of a bit of water!"
Rod stopped and faced him.
"No," he said. "It's just better if I leave."
Jones pushed Bones and me aside and ran after Rod with the other boys behind him. I tried to stop them but they were all over me like stampeding ants.
"Dunk the new kid!" shouted Jones. "Dunk him in the pool!"
Rod was lifted into the air and thrown over the side of the pool. He screamed as he hit the water and sank beneath it like a stone. Jones and the others stood looking at the bubbles, wondering why Rod didn't come back up. He was clearly visible, there under the water, but he wasn't struggling or kicking. He was just sitting on the bottom, tapping on the rings on his hands.
Nobody moved for a few long seconds. Then Jones ran for the pool gate.
"He's drowning!" he yelled. "Help! Get someone!"
The other kids followed him, banging the gate shut as they ran after him.
Bones and I didn't know what to do. We watched helplessly as Rod stayed at the bottom of the pool, still tapping.
Then he started to come up. He didn't swim up, you understand. He rose up, until his head poked through the water. Then he kept going up until he was actually sitting on the water.
"I'm sorry you had to see this," he said. "I really didn't want anyone to know."
Bones and I were too astonished to say anything. We gaped as Rod floated across to the side of the pool, went up to the top of the wall, and across and down to the ground. He tapped a ring as if he was doing a fall stop, then he went to a seat and sat on it.