Drowning (Alyssa Arns)

At 3:47 PM, a boy dressed in black was found littering a variety of objects outside of corporate headquarters, mansions, and the docks surrounding several expensive yachts. Sniffling, he tied the knot around several water balloons. Bent over buckets he whimpered, crying before chucking a yellow plastic shovel into the White River.

He was reported to be in several locations at once. In Copenhagen, where he considered the sea itself. In Paris, where he wondered if anyone would question his drowning, or notice, if Mona Lisa did, too. Instead, he filled buckets, balloons, water bottles, and backpacks with the salt of his past and the red blush pulsing beneath his cheeks.

Outside a large mansion with large windows and large rooms, a man in a shiny black suit stopped him. When he saw the red wagon trailing behind him, full to the brim of red, red water balloons, he said, “Son, I’ve been waiting.” And then the boy followed the man into his large backyard with his large pool and large hot tub, and watched as he popped each one with an extra needle he’d stolen from work and a grin larger than a check.

The boy began crying immediately, bending over the red wagon like an expert. Like he’d been crying his whole life and catching his pain in any object–his mother’s coffee mug (to her dismay), a jar of sugar (to his), a hole the kids dug at recess, transforming sand to mud. Once, he caught a single tear on his finger which, I suppose, was the dam breaking–for he could fill an entire bathtub.

As if the man knew, he excused himself into his large house and returned with a large wine glass. He placed it under the boy’s blue, teary eyes. When the glass was full, he drank. The boy knew nothing else. Sitting at the pool’s edge, he cried a river and a wine glass several times over–until: 5 PM. Work was over. The man chugged the remnants of his glass, and went inside. He was as dry as the paint inside his Indianapolis mansion.

At 5:39 PM, the boy was in Denmark again, contemplating the ocean. He was an entire ocean drunk. He was dreams sunk. He was as hearty as the yellow plastic shovel at the bottom of the White River.


Alyssa Arns is an interdisciplinary storyteller and type 1 diabetic. You can follow her on Twitter where she tweets minimally (@chronicmaybe).