Closer to Death
At the Academy Awards after party in 2001, Sean William Scott was celebrating his win for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Stifler in American Pie 2. (I didn’t recognize him with a moustache and polo shirt.) Mike Cashman’s bowl cut bobbed behind the catering table where he taunted me and hid his Arid Mesas in a white cardboard box of full art squirrel tokens. While he paced the room with an appetizer plate I dove beneath the table and sifted through the cards, becoming entangled in a warm, satin drape, hampering my movement.
The dark room had one staircase and a thirty foot window overlooking a prehistoric lake stretching for miles in each direction, with a bluff at the lake’s far edge. The serenity of the lake was disturbed when the bluff collapsed into it, creating a tidal wave that queued everyone in the room to begin screaming. I casually shrugged it off until the wave reached the window and burst through it, quickly filling the room. I stared at my ankles as the lake licked them. I panicked for a moment when I realized there was no way out: the stairs wouldn’t reach high ground in time, and was nonetheless clogged by a slow moving crowd in thick trench coats, which appeared to me like a slow moving rug.
It took me one moment to accept death. I wasn’t stoked, but I became calm. I walked to the window slowly, my mind strangely absent of thoughts like the inevitable agony of drowning, and never seeing my loved ones again. I stood by the window and watched the water pouring through it as the shrill cries of fear from those around me became stifled and hollow while the room became a fish tank. I followed a few brave souls and swam to the surface through the shattered window, my stomach grazing over its shards, leaving long, red streaks.
The sun was bright on the surface of the lake as I tread water beside a wall of idle tribal masks made of chipped, dusty ivory, each resembling a wild boar. I swam towards them to rest and regain my energy when they rose in anger and attacked me. They hastily swam in confused fury from the bluff they were guarding, followed by their twelve foot dreads. I dodged them, admiring their smooth, feminine legs gracefully kicking and splashing my cheeks.