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Word Count: 734
John Cheevers story The Swimmer starts off reasonably enough The protagonist Neddy Merrill is lounging about the swimming pool at the home of his friends the Westerhazys when a peculiar thought occurs to him there are so many swimming pools between his current location and his own home eight miles away that he can literally swim home -- with a few jogs across back yards and intervening parkways However what begins as a whimsical exercise soon turns into the Twilight Zone At his first stop the Grahams Mrs Graham welcomes him graciously and notes that shes been trying to get him on the phone all morning shes delighted hes stopped by Mrs Hammer owner of pool 2 sees him in the water but wasnt quite sure who it was The Lears saw him in their pool as well the omniscient narrator reports the Howlands and the Crosscups did not because they were not home It is only at the Bunkers pool 5 that we begin to get the sense that something is definitely amiss There is a party in full swing to which Neddy has apparently been invited but his wife has called in his regrets telling them he could not come Why would she have done that without asking him Otherwise all seems normal Neddy recognizes everyone at the Bunkers party including the smiling bartender he had seen at a hundred parties Neddy however assiduously avoids getting entangled in talk that would delay his voyage and proceeds overland to his next stopp pThis was the Levys and there something really odd does happen A sudden storm breaks through with its full fury and Neddy takes cover in the Levys gazebo watching the storm lash the trees When the rain passes he observes that the force of the wind had stripped a maple of its red and yellow leaves and scattered them over the grass and the water But its the middle of
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