(NOTE: THIS IS A SHORT PIECE THAT I WROTE ON JUNE 13, 2005 AFTER SEEING A DEAD BODY BEING PULLED OUT OF THE HUDSON RIVER EARLY ONE MORNING EARLIER THAT WEEK. IT IS WRITTEN USING THE VOICE OF THE DEAD MAN. NO… I AM NOT INSANE. I COULDN’T GET THE IMAGES OUT OF MIND SO PUT DOWN SOME THOUGHTS ON PAPER.)
I felt you looking at me as they dragged my body out of the cold dirty water early the other morning. You were filled with sadness, with a lack of comprehension. You wondered why you were witnessing this, why you out of over 8 million New Yorkers? All you were trying to do was get your endorphins flowing with an early morning run, listen to some cool tunes on your blue mini ipod, burn some calories from your late night binge the night before. So why were you drawn to the ambulances’ flashing lights? What made you run over and stop to watch me being pulled out of the water like a big hooked fish who had lost the battle with a fisherman? And unlike a speared fish, I wasn’t fighting back at all, was I? My battle with life was over.
You noticed my stomach, pretty fat. You looked at my skin, which was very white, pasty, and asked yourself if that was my natural color or whether the water had drained the color out of me, replacing it with an Elmer’s glue tone. I was only wearing pants, and you wondered where my shirt was. Had I taken it off myself?
You looked at my body, searching for a cause, but finding none. There was no gunshot wound, no strangle marks around my neck, no bruises at all. What you did notice was my simple gold wedding band, glistening in the early morning sun. “He was married,” you said to two other voyeurs next to you. That seemed significant to you. They had no response.
Why were you so sad when I was the one lying there dead?
Why are you still thinking about me, even this morning, four days later? I saw you this morning, running right over the very spot on Pier 40 where they laid my body once they finally got my big carcass out of the water (admit it; that’s how I looked to you). It wasn’t very nice the way they pulled me out, was it? You felt sorry for me, my lack of dignity, the fact that nobody I knew was there to see me taken out of the last place where I breathed life. You are still wondering if anyone ever found out who I am, if my wife knows what happened to me when I didn’t arrive home, if I had children and other loved ones who are missing me. It’s strange that you are feeling so bad about my death, but kind of comforting too.
You will never die in the Hudson River Mallory. Even if you come upon disaster during one of your crazy long runs, carrying no i.d. as usual, someone will figure it out, someone will find you. Despite the fact that your brain retains almost no cell phone numbers at this point due to a combination of modern programming and reduced capacity, friends and family will find you if you ever end up in a hospital somewhere. You will not end up in a morgue like me.
It isn’t really important for you to know why I ended up in the Hudson River Mallory. Just know that you will not end up there, okay? There are certain things that I know for sure now, and that is one of them. And they figured out who I am, okay? I hope that makes you feel better now.