When I was five or six, we went swimming in a reservoir near Walla Walla. We were splashing around as is customary in these situations, maybe building a castle, maybe diving for rocks. You can visualize it I expect: summertime swimming at the local pond, nothing really serious.
And then this guy started screaming. He was out on one of those air mattresses, a clear one that had the holes just the right size for a can, about the size of a queen bed, just floating around, when a human corpse floated up and hit the bottom.
This is really true. I remember it a little, but not much; I was kindergarten age, remember? I remember wanting to see it, but being afraid to. I remember some people on the shore yelling to the guy to tow it in and him refusing to touch it. I remember being hustled out of the water, and we didn't stick around long after that.
And I have this image in my memory of a pale hand and a gold watch, but that may just be my imagination. I think about it sometimes. I never learned how the body ended up in the water, if he, and I am sure the body was a he, was drowned or had been sunk there, hidden there. I suppose it doesn't really matter, not to me; I just have a slightly interesting story to tell, it wasn't my body.
How long was it there, lodged under a rock maybe, or weighed down by a chain in the cold dark, just waiting for the gasses to build enough, or the restraints to break, or the body to decompose or get eaten by fish... It was just there, waiting, and then unexpectedly it rose to the surface and ruined swimming day for everyone, not the least of which was the guy on the mattress just chillin in the sunshine, and unprepared for any corpse-related activities.
I have had to open myself up recently to unwanted intrusions into my life, into my safe little cocoon. I have found myself expelled from my shell and now, here I stand under the bright clinical lights blinking and soft and pink.
I am online more because of the impending release of my novel, interacting with people, and at first it was fun, it was happy summertime fun in the sun. But now things I had wrapped in chains, had sunk to the dark cold bottom, have begun to break free, and they are floating to the surface and they are ruining my swimming time. What you are reading now, this space here is a safe place where I can be honest and open and say the things that I really want to say. Here is my space; this is the inside. Out there is the outside, and it is bright and painful and terrifying and dangerous.
I am private, understand. I have no desire to be a public figure or part of any community. I just want to tell my stories, and stay hidden. I don't want floating corpses in my life, and I certainly don't want to tow them to shore. I'm not going to touch those fucking things, no way.
But this isn't realistic given my goals and plans.
It isn't healthy or productive behavior; it is a child's impulse.
A while ago, my dog left the bottom half of a squirrel on my living room floor. I remember looking at it, and wondering who the hell was going to take care of this, isn't there an adult to call in? I looked around the house, and I realized that it's me. I'm the one that is going to have to take care of it. You can't leave a dead squirrel on your living room floor waiting for someone to pick the thing up. You can't leave floating corpses in the water either. You have to tow them in, or you will never have happy summertime swimming fun ever again.
Don't take this the wrong way. I want to hear from you, I really do. I want you to contact me on Twitter, or on Facebook, I want you to email me and comment here. I want to hear from you.
Listen. I want to hear from you. Yes, even you, you damned floating corpse.
19 August, 2015
The usual after word: Twitter @RDPullins, On Facebook, like my Antiartist page, email me. dissent dot within at gmail dot com
Thanks for all the people that have given me a boost, Scott Thompson (@sthompsonauthor) especially.