Hypothermia Society

by stephen hastings-king

Near the end of a duration spent sitting on the beach watching the glare make horizon-line assemblages of toy buildings warp into view and away again, members of the Hypothermia Society had begun to gather, then they were several talking animatedly as they stripped down to swimsuits and hats, gloves and shoes, then they began walking toward the very cold water about which, last week, The Anonymous Voice of the Ocean had said: "You'll last maybe 10 minutes this time of year" because some people had and then helicopters found them floating in an area associated with a geological feature the name of which is known to sailors, fishermen and people inclined to nautical affectations, and I was thinking "What's the name of that place?" as I watched the members of the Hypothermia Society walking out into the water, further and further out into the very cold water, and then they let themselves float, drifting about like the kind of seaweed on the surface that resembles faces turning blue, and I wondered whether I should do something, but my fleece and pants and shoes would have weighed down my last 10 minutes this time of year, besides the blue on the seaweed-faces is probably just a trick of distance and sun, and what if someone had tried to rescue Virginia Woolf, I imagined her hissing: "Fuck off meddling peasant, you're just in the way" so I decided it wasn't my problem and I left.