I am swimming down the Mississippi River, it’s muggy out but pleasant enough as I roll into a backstroke. The water is thick with mud and underwater plants that waver in the current. It feels strange against my skin, somehow foreign though I’ve been a seaweed swimmer in reality for a large portion of my life. The water too is unnaturally warm and feels sludgy though it leaves no film on my skin. My only fear is what the water may be hiding, I have a terrible fear of alligators. I abandon the mainstream flow for the calm of a few secluded eddies hoping that the water will be clearer. The shoreline is dotted with little pieced together docks of a home-made variety, and each dock it seems is having an accessible-by-boat garage sale. Realizing a need for dry clothes I paddle over to one and hoist myself onto the edge, twisting my hair into a haphazard plait to dry in the sun.
The sun I realize, is dazzling and bright despite the dappling effect the overhanging trees have on the earth. It’s like looking up into a disco ball and the whole of the river and the grassy banks look like a cheap, school dance floor. Making my way through the tent like structure on the pier, brushing through tapestries held up by clothespins, I finally enter a makeshift room filled mostly with clothing my size, and I’m drawn to a belted cotton dress with little capped sleeves. It is a happy yellow plaid, and it cheers me to see such a pretty, delicate thing in just my size. I try it on and am immediately impressed by how sweet it looks on me. I take it with me to what I assume is the woman in charge, a sloppy, obese, frump of a woman all but melting out of an unfortunate lawn chair that must have a will of iron.
She informs me however, that they only sell in bulk, and that in order to obtain the dress itself, I’d have to buy forty of them for no less than a grand. I was sad to leave without the dress, but I had to be heading on anyways, and my own outfit though a bit swampy, had dried acceptably. I made my way down a muddy path towards an old town wishing that I had shoes. The road was covered in white, rotting corpses of grapefruit sized octopus and they stuck out of the mud so numerous that they were impossible not to step on. Finally I found I could not go on further and stopped, just standing and trying not to inhale the stench of death.