“NOOOO!” my son screamed. He Houdini’ed out of my grasp, snaked between my legs and sought refuge under the table.
“Nathan,” my tone was firm but warning. “This is going to happen. Now hold still.”
He was like a cornered tiger, so I took it slow, making hushing noises as I moved in. Just when I thought I had him, he slipped under the far side and hopped out the kitchen window.
My walkie-talkie crackled. “Status?”
“He pulled a runner,” I said. “Target’s in the backyard, heading towards the woods.”
“Copy. I’m ready to go mobile.”
I ran to the roof, where my wife was in the cockpit of a small helicopter.
“He can’t have gotten far,” she said. As soon as I was in, she took off, heading towards the grassy space behind the house.
“Do you have the stuff?” I asked.
She pointed between the seats. “Right here.”
We spotted Nathan running hard. My wife maneuvered the chopper above him. “Now!” she shouted.
I grabbed the bucket and dumped the warm, soapy contents out the door. It hit Nathan square on the head, running down his hair like a judge’s wig.
“Does that count as a bath?” she asked.
“It’s as good as we’re getting.” Nathan was looking up furiously. I threw him a towel.
“How long will this have to go on?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Well, his high school graduation is this afternoon. I think he’s on his own after that.”
Note: although I used this title for comedic effect, I don’t wish to make light of the actual phobia, which can be a serious thing for those who suffer with it.