After cutting the grass I went down to the lake to swim. I picked the smaller beach where half a dozen kids and a few young couples were splashing about. Five or six meters out I could see a dog swimming, as I got closer I saw that it wasn’t moving very much, not at all in fact and I thought it might be some piece of wood with a clump of grass on it that resembled hair. I was about three meters off when I realised it was a man and that the way he had his head both his mouth and nose must be underwater. I turned back thinking to wait and see if he moved.
He didn’t and I sat on the beach and watched as the Russians around me realised what was out there. A girl shouted from the water to ask me what it was and I said I didn’t know, she swam a bit towards him and then scuttled away shouting something about him being blue.
I kept silent at the thought of being the English guy who found a corpse when the greedy local cops arrived and saw an easy mark.
Then confusion as no one knew what to do, we should call someone they said. Then I noticed an ambulance behind us on the track and pointed it out to one of the guys who ran to catch it and tell them what was in the water.
He returned telling everyone that the ambulance was on course, which I took to mean that it was already headed somewhere. I went and bough cigarettes and when I came back ten minutes later people were still looking out at him and the ambulance having finished its mission was driving away, so I came home.
Nobody panicked, nor even seemed that put out. But what struck me was that he must have been out there for a fair while before I arrived. Did no one see him? Or, and this is grim, had he been under the water for some time and his surfacing just happened to coincide with my arrival? There was something across his pate that I would have taken to be water weeds and the lake is full of such long stringy plants that seem to grasp at you as you swim.
A drunken guy who fucked up? More than likely; this shit happens so often here as to seem normal, but it threw me badly for a minute