Naked Man

They’d throw stones in the river. Skip rocks against the water’s current. Watch em ride for awhile, then sink to the bottom where the catfish and carp did their feeding. Muddy water. Tree limbs floating down stream. A greasy old John Deere cap atop a wave. Did he throw it out there? or did someone throw him out there? Hard to say.

The young couple sat on the river bank, looking. Soon they saw a tee-shirt float by. Then a pair of jeans. Some old Chuck Taylor’s came down the river as well. Then they heard,a voice; screaming. It was a naked mad man singing out ,Ramblin’ Man, by The Allman Brothers. He could barely keep his head above water.

The two of em called out to him. Followed along the banks as he floated on.

You can’t save me, he said. It’s too late, the naked man began to laugh.

Grab onto something, she said. A rock, a limb, anything.

Don’t want to. Just pray for me kids. Just pray for me.

And the naked man swam to the middle of the river. He dipped his head underneath the brown water. He did not come back up. Like that, he was gone. The two of em had seen the last of the naked man.

There was no obituary, or, police report, just an account of the day’s events by the two of em to the officer on duty.

His body is at the bottom probably, the cop said. We’ll fish him out here soon enough. This happens more thank you’d think.

They nodded their heads and went home. They did not eat that night.

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