An Erasure

[Nude blond, vivacious poster girl—six-foot male getting an eyeful. “Relationship session.” Touching her, ponytail flaring.

Unexpected

Took in his mouth

Tried to pull free

Yanked

Emergency

Fought hard but she was no match

She was a toy]

Shaking

Forced

His mouth

Carried her body

Incident:

Shock to Americans. National icon. Relentless Twitter. News frenzy. Entertainment. Everyone wanted to know. Why?

Starring over the years

No one thought—

The spectacle. Their friendship” chronicled

Entertainment industry: Hard-driving man. A business. Choose adolescents. Fast-growing, billion-dollar franchise.

Lawsuits: Spent freely, large purse.

Stress worse at night.

Someone might—

They might—

Avoiding conflict

Scratches

Rubbing against

Simply refuse”

Would have left the performance pool

“Provide the excitement they need.”

 

Ultimately requires an entire person

Desensitization

[Youthful, energetic, eager to learn—our favorite—one we all liked.

He quickly yanked her

She tried to bite

20 year-old misstepped

she struggled, grabbed her, pulled her.

No match

A toy

Incredibly stimulated]

She screamed but she made no noise.

Her body stripped

They told reporters “I can’t explain it.”

[He sits perched atop a popular hangout, sun-baked face, salt-and-pepper beard. Important to know, complex, wealth, knowledge. At the center. Males. 60s. Highly intelligent, striking sophistication, each uses the same vocabulary. The men talk, drink, trade stories. Close-cropped white hair. “It’s good. Exciting. The best. No question about it.”]

Denies. When caught he offered $100,000

Keep quiet

Relationship under ownership

[Keys to success: Mastering vaginas. Backrubs. Vice president trained to accept.  

So commonplace, didn’t elicit any response.]

Vexing Catch-22: impossible to prove or disprove. It’s a hypothetical.

More than 40 documented incidents

For every incident, more behind the scenes.

[Living the dream]

So many incidents.

Show fear, you might—

Another serious incident

Believe”

The goal is entertainment

Over the course of decades it was always assumed part of their puzzle.

Every day a potentially dangerous situation. You can’t forget.”

Go limp if grabbed.

Keep mouth closed.

Stay calm.

All bets are off.

What triggers an incident? A rough night, a birthday kiss

He stuck his—

Mouth.

Grinding his—

Once again:

Hostile females. A good guy. He might be unhappy. “It’s extremely sad. The poor guy.” Expression of social dominance. Never serious.

Manage social interaction.

Sheriff’s reports are telling.

The victim: reddish-blond ponytail. Stripped.

No cameras. No witnesses. His testicles.

Not an aberration.

She had worked, she knew the risks. You can’t trust them. She trusted too much. The former VP thinks so.

A mistake. Letting her hair drift. She put herself in that position.

Previous incidents: vulnerable position, hair, were key factors. Not the first time in that position. Her hair was long.

Tempting. Longstanding policy. Long hair. Hands on the cookie jar.

“They are smart enough to know, she is trying to get—if they let you, it’s because—we don’t know, but there’s no doubt he was doing her.”

 

Maintain a safe distance.

Likely he will finish life as he’s lived it for more than two decades.

##

This essay makes an erasure of Tim Zimmermann’s “The Killer in the Pool,” published in Outside Magazine. I omitted words from the original text until my own piece emerged.

Shelley Elkovich
Shelley Elkovich received her MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and makes her home in the Siskiyou of Southern Oregon. In this place she grew two children, flocks of laying ducks, and several dogs, though the number of on-site dependents has diminished. She currently weeds a thickly planted town plot, puts up produce and infuses fruit and herbs into booze and bitters. Mindful that writing is not coal mining, Shelley is steadfastly revising a novel. Her short fiction has been published in the print literary journal The Flexible Persona.

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