“Oi, George – what’s that?” Paul nudged his mate sharply in the ribs.
“There!” he pointed at the mass floating slowly downriver.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake!” George groaned. “Bubble wrap in the river? Arseholes never think, do they?”
Paul grunted and headed for the ute.
Ten minutes later, he was stuck.
“George!” he yelled. George came running, for once – the note of panic in his mate’s voice had gotten him moving faster than his usual amble.
“It’s not just bubble-wrap – and I’m stuck in the bloody mud! Give me a pull out. I think it’s a body!”
George grabbed an arm and leaned back. The mud glooped, the water splashed, and a now soaking-wet Paul glared at him.
“THANKS, mate!” he said, and turned his attention back to the mass of bubble-wrap. “Pruning shears… and face masks. This might be a bit smelly…”
The body looked remarkably fresh. No blood, no nasty smells – if you discounted a reek of stale sweat, fear and urine. A youngish man, stubbled, butt-naked. Paul went a little green, and swallowed. Ah well, it wasn’t his first time. He should be used to it, right? He looked over his shoulder at George – who was looking a helluva lot greener.
The body sat up and vomited.
“SHIT!!!” they swore simultaneously and jumped back.
The ‘body’ turned to them.
“I’m not dead!” he croaked.