My death was unpoetic. It was undignified. Ignominious, even. See, I drowned. But I didn’t even drown in the ocean. No. I drowned in a lake. A fucking lake. If you could even justify calling it a lake.

I’ll be damned if that’s not my luck. No saltwater. No sharks. I didn’t even have the decency to die in a raging river, caught in a churning hydraulic and beaten into unconsciousness against the stony riverbed.

Nope. I died a bullshit death in still and shallow water. I drowned in a large freshwater retention pond poorly stocked with small mouth bass by local fishermen. Might as well have been a tablespoon of tap water.

For the record, I tried really hard to lock my face in an artificial look of shock, but it didn’t work at all. Even the newspapers got in some unsubtle digs. Behold, a sampling: “Local 6 foot tall man drowns in 4 feet of water. Initial reports from the coroner’s office indicate his corpse looked acquiescent.”

If the Superlatives List in the Peoria Heights High School Class of 1991 yearbook had a category for “most likely to drown while wearing a certified personal flotation device”, I’d have been a total shoo-in for both the male and female wins.

I guess I forgot to mention the bright orange life vest. The damn thing already smelled like pond water. You know the kind. Are you currently envisioning “sun-bleached here and/or there with frayed stitching”? Yeah. That one. It didn’t help. In its defense, a few decades of inertia made it little more than a token and double-knotted attempt at resisting the inevitable.

By the way, drowning isn’t fun. Turns out, it sucks. It hurts. A lot. As it happens, you can feel it closing in. I suppose that’s actually the only poetic angle of the unpleasantness that is “drowning in a retention pond”. It was fitting, at the very least. Maybe even comedic if viewed from the right angle.

I was the sports-agnostic guy in the sports bar. The closet chess clubber too chickenshit to even join the chess club (a rare accomplishment). The coward’s coward. The guy you would have prayed this appropriate death upon.

I died surrounded not by close friends and/or family. I died in front of a dozen or so dirty palmettos and ugly oaks. The cypress trees phoned it in. Fucking hipster cypress trees. And don’t get me started on the emo-ass willow trees.

But, who am I to judge? After all, I’m unhappily-ever-after the “drowned in a retention pond” guy. I’m also the “best thing to happen to the local newspapers in months” guy.

So thanks for the posthumous small town Facebook love. It’s almost as sickeningly patronizing as when you crowned the girl in special education as Homecoming Queen so as to absolve yourself for having made fun of her for years.

Yeah… All aboard the 2 o’clock train to Drowntown.

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About The Author

Mark Allen

I write and drink whiskey.

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