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There's a gun-shaped pool. Take a wild guess which state it's in.
The right to chill in a weird pool shall not be abridged.
Once I was on an assignment for one of those glossy here’s-the-best-brunch-in-town city magazines to follow an upscale home developer through his daily life. He’d risen to the top of his profession through a savvy combination of architectural vision and amateur therapy. His ability to gently steer wealthy homeowners away from their wildest, most ill-conceived remodeling notions was unparalleled, and he gave me an up-close look at that skill in action.
The wife in an extraordinarily well-to-do couple — I don’t need to obscure their identity because, at this point, I honestly don’t remember it — was in the process of remodeling their backyard pool. This was no problem for our developer; he’d designed infinity pools, walk-in pools, swim-up bars in pools, you name it.
Here, though: here was a challenge. The homeowner wanted an outdoor fireplace. And a waterfall. Normal enough, right? Except that the homeowner wanted the waterfall coming over the front of the fireplace and pouring straight into the pool.
Now, a waterfall fireplace is apparently a thing, but a swim-up fireplace, with room under the waterfall to get cozy by the fire, is something different entirely. Our developer tried patiently to explain that the logistics of such an endeavor would make it a daunting project indeed, not to mention phenomenally unsafe, potentially life-threatening, and almost certain to fail within a year. The homeowner was undaunted, so the developer dug deeper into his bag of tricks: he threw out a number so outrageous you could buy a small house for that price. The homeowner didn’t balk, and so the developer got to work drawing up plans.
I didn’t follow up to see where the swim-up waterfall fireplace ended up, but there is this: I admired the hell out of that woman for knowing what she wanted and demanding that others make her vision a reality. Even if her vision was completely architecturally insane.
I’m going to assume that if you have the time to read this, you are living a life of comfort superior to about 99.9 percent of the people that have ever existed. And that’s great! This is not to guilt you about that fact in the least. Rather, I simply ask: are you comfortable, or are you “swimming in my own personal gun-shaped pool” comfortable?
Our story today centers on the Tampa-area town of Odessa, Fla., where, if you have a few minutes to kill on Google Maps, you’ll come across a most unusual sight: a pool shaped like a classic Western revolver — specifically, a Ruger Blackhawk. Stock, trigger guard, sight, hammer — it’s all there, all framing the 55-foot-long muzzle and barrel.
Now, given our highly polarized political environment, you’d probably figure that this is some recent create-a-resale-nightmare-to-own-the-libs stunt. Not so! The truth is that about 40 years ago, the homeowner — we’ll call him Louis, since that’s his name — wanted a pool installed. He and his family live on a lake, and he’d grown pretty tired of having to watch the waters, shotgun in hand, while his kids swam. Florida lakes tend to have more dangerous denizens lurking in their depths than, say, trout or bass, you see.
Louis had an old high school pal who happened to be a contractor with expertise in — imagine the odds — building pools. Louis was a longtime gunsmith. His contractor pal was tired of building kidney-shaped pools. Enter: GUN POOL.
It’s a pretty sweet achievement, honestly. Stairs lead into the pool from the semicircular trigger guard, and the hammer is a narrow little jacuzzi. Tiles colored appropriately — brown for the stock, silver for the muzzle and barrel — line the pool. Plus, it’s in central Florida, where it gets so hot come July that you’ll roll around in a stagnant gutter to cool off.
Overhead images of the pool hit social media earlier this year, where they were doubtless received with calm, rational appreciation for one individual’s right to design his pool however he saw fit. Louis, as you would expect, is a staunch gun advocate, but in the story that brought GUN POOL to the world, he made sure to note that with great weaponry comes great responsibility.
“It’s like everything. It’s educating. It’s educating the people about the guns, how they work,” he told a University of Florida journalist. “Nowadays, most people don’t know anything about them.” Damn straight.
I don’t know if Louis will ever invite me to GUN POOL, but if he does, I already know how to get there. It’s right off Gunn Highway. Seriously.
Thanks for reading, and get ready — it’s almost pool season, whatever shape of pool you prefer. Catch you next week, friends!
Land Cat, Ga.
This is issue #96 of Flashlight & A Biscuit. Check out all the past issues right here. Feel free to email me with your thoughts, tips and advice. If you’re new around here, jump right to our most-read stories, or check out some of our recent hits:
When you just gotta have a Popeye’s biscuit right now
Birmingham’s Vulcan statue: heart of steel, glutes of iron
Convict fish and Land Cats! (It makes sense when you read it.)
Moonshine! Murder! The thrilling conclusion of the three-part “Hellfire & White Lightning” series
What does “Flashlight & A Biscuit” mean, anyway?
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It was Atlanta magazine, which is actually one of the finer examples of civic magazine journalism in the country. And it also tells you where to get the best brunch, if Krispy Kreme’s not your jam.