Responding To A Drowning Man


I was standing on the bridge the other evening, admiring the view, and the way the current played against the boats moored on the river side when a man thrashing around desperately in the water appeared from underneath the bridge. He was clearly in serious difficulty so I shouted down to him, “Do you have some means of identification on you?” His voice was not clear, and he kept screaming “Help me. Heelp meee” which didn’t answer the question one way or the other. Finally he said “Yes” and I responded, ” Good, they will be able to identify the body easily when you are retrieved from the water.”

He looked alarmed and kept shrieking, “Help me. Help me” but when I informed him I was wearing a new and freshly ironed pair of trousers I think he understood I could not risk the damage to my wardrobe. I sought to comfort him by saying, “The world’s population is exploding, giving rise to a multitude of problems. Your sacrifice, intentional or otherwise, will be applauded, I am sure, in your obituary if you merit one”

I have to say, salient as these points were, I fear he either missed them or was too absorbed in his own circumstances to pay attention. All things end well, however.  I read the following article in the  local paper.

“Humphrey Collins 45, of Lower Bridlington Street drowned in the Thames on Friday evening. He was carrying a driving licence and wearing clothes purchased from a mid-level high street shop. His wife said she would collect his belongings as soon as she got back from her sun-drenched holiday with her new lover. The weather in Florida, she informs us, “Is simply glorious.”

He may be missed, but that was not apparent from our initial investigations which is all we will be making. A  local man who seeks no personal credit or publicity,  reported having a short but meaningful conversation with him shortly before he drowned.  Mr Collins’ selfless contribution to solving the exploding population crisis is recognised. Viewing figures on his Facebook page recorded a significant increase shortly after his death which I am sure is of interest to all those who know of him.”

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, Environment, Fiction, humour, Life, Peter Wells, Relationships, values, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Responding To A Drowning Man

  1. Society in a nutshell. Quite a thought provoking mirror.

    Like

  2. ksbeth says:

    you pack a powerful punch with your words. that’s talent.

    Like

  3. Caroline says:

    The wish of us all is that we’re remembered for something. Even if it is that we managed to buy clothing from a mid-level high street shop!

    I trust the encounter, although brief, didn’t not upset the evening delights of the man on the bridge.
    xx

    Like

  4. renxkyoko says:

    * facepalm * That is jawdropping. 😦

    Like

  5. Julie Buhite says:

    Eerie. Chilling. Chill bumps when I got to the obituary. Once again, speechless. This one is kind of a Stephen King light (as in lite beer) for me. (He and Edgar Allen Poe were my faves until you came along. 🙂 ) This little doozie was jaw-dropping. I love how you get in there and go at it with the human mind with such adeptness. Hmmm. I wonder what a story from you from the viewpoint of an animal would look like. Have you done any animal ones?

    Like

  6. Scarlet says:

    To be honest, I do always hope that nothing untoward and messy happens when I’m wearing my best clothes. I’m surprised that insurance companies haven’t picked up on this uncomfortable fear.
    Sx

    Like

  7. genusrosa says:

    The death of the heart is the death of a man. In this sketch, who died first?

    Like

  8. I think you’ve collected a few of the more disgusting characteristics of some of my non-friends into one story. I wonder how I can persuade them to read this?

    On the other hand, they would probably agree with your star.

    Like

  9. One has to look deep to find the silver lining in this story, and surely it wasn’t in the jacket of poor Mr. Collins… 😉

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  10. And that’s the 21st century in a nutshell! Great stuff.

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  11. Your vivid imagination at its very best Peter. Wonderful!

    Like

  12. Ha ha ha – perfectly brilliant!

    Like

  13. atempleton says:

    Biting and brilliant.

    Like

  14. Jane says:

    You are too much …. wicked man!

    Like

  15. Art as a mirror! Love the Facebook reference – reminds me of Steptoe and Son (the film) when Albert wanted to die so that he could hear any nice comments about himself. You may recall there were none!

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  16. Al says:

    Lost in all this is your altruistic nature. Who else but you would take the time to converse with a dying man when there are so many other important things to do.

    Like

  17. r e douville says:

    How the world spins in 2014. Love the casual snark. 😉

    Like

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