An odd little man sat in the middle of a large metal row boat, fighting the choppy current of the East River. With each labor filled stroke he slowly moved closer toward the Williamsburg Bridge, which loomed in the distance.
The mid-day sun reflected off of his bald head, while his pale skin did not show a single drop of perspiration given all the effort he appeared to be putting into maneuvering the boat underneath the massive metal suspension bridge.
When he was finally able to position the boat right where he wanted it, with his bald head shaded from the sun, he looked up toward the bridge, as if waiting for something. After several long seconds, and several longer oar strokes, which were needed to keep the boat in its precise location, the odd little man looked to his watch in confusion.
With a loud, annoyed sounding sigh, he slid off a bright yellow back pack from his shoulders and retrieved from it a purple colored spiral note book. Opening it up to the page he needed, he slid a bony finger down the page, before stopping about three quarters of the way down. He then looked to his watch, and then back to the note book page and then back to his watch again. With an ever louder, and more annoyed sigh, he placed the note book back into his back pack. He looked back to his watch, and then looked back up toward the bridge. After several longer seconds, he looked back to his watch once more, before placing it to his ear to make sure that it was working. And that’s when he heard it.
A loud splash resounded from behind him. With a quick snap of his head, he located the source of the sound with ease. About a hundred feet off to his left the form of a now lifeless body floated face down on the surface of the water.
“Seriously!” he said out loud, looking back up toward the bridge. With a third sigh, he put the oars into motion and began to row the boat in the direction of the body. When he got within about teen feet of the dead body, he saw that someone was using the dead body as a floatation device. “Hey John, over here!”
Clinging to the dead body was John, who was in his mid-thirties. He had white skin and dark hair and was wearing a red jacket, which just so happened to be the same color of the jacket being worn by the floating dead person. “Help me!” John screamed, as he desperately clung to the dead body for dear life. “I can’t swim!”
The odd little man quickly maneuvered the boat right up next to the man, as he leaned over board with an out stretched hand. John reached out, but upon seeing the face of the odd little man, shrank back and hastily withdrew his hand. “How’d you know my name?”
“I just do, now come on and get in the boat.”
“What am I floating on?” John asked. “Is this a dead body?” John let go of the dead body out of fear, but then the fear of drowning quickly changed his mind about his first fear, as he desperately reached out and grabbed for the jacket of the dead body. “Who are you?”
“I think you already know the answer to that question.”
John stared at the man in row boat in bewilderment.
The man pointed up toward the bridge.
“I know who you are!” John screamed, the realization appearing on his face.
“Then you know what you did,” the odd little man replied, motioning toward the bridge high above.
John’s eyes drifted upward, and then back to the one thing that was keeping him afloat.
“You know it’s true,” the man said. “No need to check. Now if you’d be so kind as to get in the boat, I’m on a very tight schedule and I can’t afford any hang ups,” he added, waving his hand at the man, signaling for him to take it.
John’s eyes stayed fixated on the floating body.
“I said there’s no need to check, now get in the flippin boat.”
John suddenly found a burst of courage and somehow managed to roll the dead body on to it back, and upon doing so let out a horrendous scream, as he found himself looking upon his own dead face.
“Really?” the odd little man asked. “What the hell did you expect was going to happen when you jumped?”
“Not this!” shouted John.
“Now will you get in the boat?”
John shook his head no. “I’m not going anywhere with you!”
“Afraid you really don’t have a choice.”
“You gonna come in here and get me?” John asked.
The top of the man’s pale bald head began to turn deep shade of red. “If I have to come in there and fish you out of the East River you’re really not going to…”
The dead body began to shink.
“Come on, stop playing around and get in the boat!”
John shook his head no again. “I know where people who kill themselves go,” he stated.
“Then why did you do it?”
John didn’t seem to have a good enough answer, as he took a deep breath and puffed out his cheeks, while the dead body began to sink like a rock, disappearing under the choppy waves, and taking John along for the ride.
The man in the boat locked eyes with John, who was now sinking fast, until he could no longer see him within the dark waters below.
“You gotta be friggin kidding me!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. He could see several police boats racing toward him from the shore, and knew he couldn’t stick around. He plopped back down in the boat and grabbed the oars. “I gonna get written up for this for sure.”