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PUBLIC SHAME: I Was Lurking Again

February 17, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments
By Otis Nixon

By Otis Nixon


You kind of know when you’re slipping.

I’ve been in therapy for a couple of years. Without fail, I go to the support group that meets in the gym on Tuesdays. Things have been pretty solid with Teri. The News gave me the big Keebaugh scoop. And there haven’t been any false reports about me dying lately. Been a solid couple of months.

Even so, where did I find myself last night?

Lurking. Lurking in a swamp.

I’ll tell you about it. So, I was down outside the Great Lankville Swamps of the South. We were initially doing a story about how a lot of the towns down there are just sinking into the swamps. Matter of fact, I was supposed to go out to this island that had been a big resort at one time. They put me up in a motel room and told me to wait. So, I got a pack of tall-boys, a basket of wings and a pile of magazines. I thought, hell, why not make a night of it? So, I’m just lying around getting a little drunk and then I get a call and they tell me the island just partially collapsed into the swamp. Then, after about an hour, the guy calls again. “Ok, well, it just completely sunk into the swamp. I’m calling from a raft.”

Well, that was that.

So, I called up Marles Cundiff (Lankville Daily News editor) and asked him what I should do. “Whyn’t you just wander around in some of the swamps, just get a feel for ’em. We’ll make it a kind of travel/human interest piece,” he said.

The next morning, I rented a car and drove down to the northern edge of the swamps. There were a number of dirt service roads and I followed one out to the edge. There was another guy there, dumping a couple of corpses into the slough and I asked him about that, figuring on getting a good quote for my story. But he wasn’t interested in talking much.

I wandered around for awhile and I got more and more lost. I got a little panicky. I removed my dress shirt straight over my head and lowered myself slowly into the bog. I saw more guys pulling up along the distant fringes, dumping bodies. “Jesus Christ, they have a real problem with that down here,” I thought to myself, in a rare moment of lucidity. It passed and I covered my face with mud and began moving slowly through the muck.

Hours flew by. I came upon a finger of land jutting out into the mire. There was a cabin on stilts and a homespun woman hanging wash on a clothesline that reached from the house to a pole that rose impossibly out of the water. When she was finished, the line suddenly broke and all the clothes dropped into the swamp, disappearing forever.

She didn’t seem bothered by this at all– it was as though she expected it. I was intrigued.

And then, before I knew it, I was lurking.

I lurked all night. Just outside the range of her meager porch light. I believe she heard me a few times, I believe she knew I was there. By morning, surrounded by mysterious submerged creatures, I was hysterical and completely covered in swamp mud. The authorities found me.

I awoke in a small, ill-lit cell still covered in mud. The mud dropped off of me in great chunks. I suddenly became aware of a detective. I cleared my eyes and saw it was Gee-Temple.

“Lurking again, huh, Nixon?”

And I had to admit my shame.

I also told him about all the dumped bodies but he didn’t seem too concerned with that.


So, now, I’m starting over. I am Otis Nixon. I am a lurker.

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