I can’t really explain why I put my friend in a coffin and threw him in the river. I knew it wasn’t deep, and that he wouldn’t drown. I guess… I hoped that he’d float. The casket would drift down the river, dance around the rocks that broke up the flow into little white burbles, and then he’d find himself gently meandering past the lonely fishermen. At this point, I imagined him lifting the lid and sitting upright. Like a lilypad at total ease with itself and its own existence.
It didn’t work out like that. I got the angle wrong. After he’d jarred his ankles and wet the bottoms of his trousers in the shallow pool, he clambered up the bank and started punching my face repeatedly. I couldn’t be bothered to fight back. He had a fair point to make.
We’d borrowed the coffin from Old Bill, who owned a workshop/delicatessen – hence his nickname of The Underbaker. We exchanged six packets of cigarettes and two adult photography magazines and told him we were going to turn the coffin into a soap-box racer. We joked that if we crashed, they could just pour the earth over us where we lay. He didn’t laugh, but then he was already on page six of Hot Midwestern Housewives, smiling and muttering to himself.
I sat on the bank, chewing a piece of grass out of the corner of my mouth that wasn’t fat and sore, and wondered about getting a new hobby.