Maybe it was too dark, maybe I was just holding onto a soggy, heavy log. Maybe, well certainly not maybe but for sure I had too much to drink. That’s how I ended up there, in the dirtiest part of the Charles River by the the Back Bay Fens. I was celebrating with my best friend Zak and together we had drank to the last drop, a large bottle of Gin. There wasn’t much to celebrate in those days in fact pretty much everything had gone to shit, but I had just purchased my dream guitar and Zak had finally left the armpit of Florida, so we were gonna start the band we had been talking about starting. It was indeed a time to toast.
I thought I’d show Zak around at night, it was my favorite time to walk around that boring town because at least at night the lifelessness of Boston seemed to serve you a beautiful peace. We got a block from my house where there was a bridge that connects Fenway to the Backbay. As I passed the bridge and looked down into the mysterious blackened Charles River the ripples in the water seemed to slip into my mind, my brain bobbing like a drunken buoy. Nausea took over and I let loose the most violent vomiting I had done since I first got drunk when I was 13. At the time, I wore these little John Lennon specs. They were always falling off me. Certainly they weren’t gonna stay on my face for this. So, off they went. Into the river where no man should ever go. While I wasn’t the kind to handle my liquor, I was the kind to accept any, even if dangerous, challenge. Zak said “fuck man, you’ll have to get some new ones”… And in my best (worst) Irish Accent I said “NO! me bruder, I’ll be doin’ me best to capture back me specs from the river of doom”… And just like that, no questions asked, the two of us hurdled ourselves down a muddy hill, through the thick trees and thorny overgrowth that surrounds the edge of the water of the Charles. We heard the mumbling of the cities derelicts hiding away like trolls under the stone bridge. It was like we were interrupting the end of their long winter slumber. Still with our put on Irish accents we plunged down cooing and growling until we reached the waters edge.
A mangled fence by the water kept late night recreational swimmers away, but we looked at eachother like the damn double dragon and kicked down the fence and jump right in reaching down into the murky water feeling for my glasses in total darkness. I dove my hands down into the earth, immediately knowing it was dangerous because all I got was a hand full of broken glass and beer caps. I reached again and more of the same. Again and I felt a slice into my hand. You know when you get cut deep and you know its too deep but you immediately go into denial. It was that sort of cut. So I screamed louder “LET’S PLUNGE OURSELVES FURTHER INTO THE ABYSS MATE!” I ran my hands along the river floor until I felt what seemed to be a hand with rigid fingers sticking up. I went quiet. A pure chill ran through me. I looked back and Zak was still hollering and splashing around. I reach my other hand down to feel for the attached arm and lifted it slowly from the water into the air. It was so dark and I was so drunk I could have been mistaken. I should have been mistaken. But when I swung it around to show Zak he gasped “what theFffuh…” I held it up again toward the small stream of light from a street light on the bridge. Writing this now sends a chill through me just like in that moment. I became nauseous again and took a last look at the curled rigid fingers that lead to the mangled shoulder, my senses started to clear up. I smelled the putrid water and could feel in my fingers the hair on the arm. I had found the severed arm of a man and nothing was going to be the same.