Monday, December 8, 2008

In a Lonely Place (I)

Suppose you’re alone, but for your dog, in a secluded, more or less wild place. Let’s suppose your intentions are innocent and you’re there just to enjoy the scenery, the quiet—the hint of desolation.

Then as chance would have it, supposing you believe in chance, you come upon some people. Two people. A male and a female. They’re not aware of you, but you become forcefully aware of them, because they’re having sex in the bushes. Hard, rough sex. They’re fucking like animals.

What do you do—beyond restraining your dog?

Do you turn and hurry away?

Do you reach for your camera if you have it with you?

How can you be sure that what you’re seeing is consensual sex between lovers—and not a rape?

What would you do if it were a rape?

I recently confronted these questions in a very unacademic and totally concrete context while wandering with my dog in a park near my home in rural Australia.

Ironically, I was on the lookout for monsters, or at least the ghosts of monsters, for we were on the edge of the Lancefield Swamp, famous for being a rich burial ground of Australian megafauna (a word I’ve always loved). Fossil remains have been found of Macropus titan, a giant kangaroo—an immense flightless bird whose name I’ve forgotten, and the largest marsupial on record, the Diprotodon, a wombat the size of a rhinoceros or a Toyota Landcruiser, which many believe inspired the Aboriginal legends of the cryptozoological Bunyip.

I’d purposely ambled off with my dog to get a more remote sense of the area and I was apparently not alone in this idea.

Perhaps because the light was low and flat and the eeriness of the landscape was heightened. Perhaps because I was imagining the strange colossal animals sinking in marsh or drowning in sudden flooding. Or the Wurundjeri people coming to quarry out the stone for their axes. Or perhaps because…

What seemed like an Ice Age ago I’d worked as a security guard in Berkeley at Herrick Hospital, which is now part of Alta Bates, the hospital where I was born. My job was escorting nurses to their cars after dark, because a man had hidden beneath one, waited for a nurse to open the door, then grabbed her, knocked her out and taken her up to Grizzly Peak and raped her before setting her alight. Each night in the sodium lit dark I patrolled that parking lot, sweeping the beam of my long flashlight with the knurled aluminum handle that could be used like a baseball bat if required.

Now all these years later how could I be sure what was happening in the bushes on the edge of a swamp where so many other animals died was not an erotic thrill, but a crime?

I will leave you in the mire of that question for a moment. But try to see it before you as if you were there instead of me. Ancient marsh, quarry, bone bed. A weird, soft gray sky. The sounds coming from the bushes. The partially visible bodies. The sounds. The violence…

49 comments:

Lyric said...

oooh, an excellent hypothetical. i personally am not the turn and hurry away type, though i do not have much visual voyeur in me. i'm more of a psychological voyeur. but, i would likely pause and examine the situation a little more thoroughly. if the couple was really attractive, maybe i'd watch for a bit just for shits and giggles. but if i was really uncertain as to whether or not it was a consensual coupling, i would likely just make some noise and reveal myself. either the people just end up being slightly embarrassed (or not, if they were hoping to get caught), or i put a stop to a crime. and i'm armed with a dog, just in case.

Lyric said...

oh also, i love the word megafauna too. putting mega at the beginning of anything is almost sure to make it better.

like...megalyric.

my captcha for this comment is renelism. doesn't that seem like it should be an actual word.

Lyric said...

oh also, also, it may be worth mentioning that i am sometimes a bit more fearless/reckless than the average person. not always wisely so.

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

I think I would have stayed hidden and tried to assess the situation to the best of my abilities. I think down and dirty, rough, sexy sex still sounds different from rape. So I would hope that a good listen would expel any worries of an attack and leave me satisifed in the knowledge that it was just a couple getting their freak on. If I thought it was someone being attacked I might be inclined to launch the only weapon I had (which I would assume to be a doggy poop bag) at the assailant while sprinting away and calling for help on my cell phone.

**my first comment didn't post right, so I had to redo it!

Mango said...

I didn't think anyone knew we were there. As for your assumption, it was the female who was the assailant and I didn't mind that much until she bit my sak(nussemm).

Kim said...

nice....when I see Kris' name I always think Kris "the sack" Nussemm.

Lyric said...

i personally just spend a lot of time thinking about his sack.

IncognitoMosquito said...

I have to be honest here, I would probably bust out laughing almost hysterically. I have a bad habit of doing that. *is ashamed, and yet somehow also amused*

Gramps said...

There are many variable here that have not been addressed.

Do I have a video camera handy? Photographs would be valuable as either evidence, or to sell to some internet porn site pimp.

Is she yelling "Don't" and "Stop" separately, or running them together?

Are they trespassing? If so I'll definitely need photographic evidence.

Can I secretly reach and abscond with their clothing? If so I might be able to endear myself to the female by "finding" her clothes. I'd leave him naked, of course. I have no need to endear myself to him.

As to breaking up something I thought was a rape - and that's a given - I'd be worried that the assailant, either male or female, might have a weapon with which he/she could injure the victim further.

I think I'd just let the dog loose and let him cold-nose them both.
There's nothing like a long doggy tongue to distract one from completing the sexual act. I'm a long time dog owner. I know whereof I speak.

Betsy said...

First, I'd probably try to assess whether or not it was rape. If I was, I would get out of earshot and call the police from my cell phone--the reason for getting out of earshot being that I would rather not let the rapist flee the scene before the cops arrive.

If it was consensual sex, I'd be likely to say something that got their attention. Something like "Hey! You're doing it wrong."

Lyric said...

Dear Mr. Saknussemm,

Are you ever going to update this blog?

Sincerely,
Your Biggest Fan & SW

九份 said...

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book said...

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珮均 said...

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韋于倫成 said...

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退 said...

春冰薄,人情更薄;登天難,求人更難。..................................................

佩GailBohanan1蓉 said...

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若愛若愛 said...

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萱祥 said...

Keep in contact. Good Luck..................................................

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江婷 said...

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新順 said...

快樂不需要理由-及時行樂..................................................................

王伯亞王伯亞 said...

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宛真宛真 said...

Since it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late...................................................

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tikulicious said...

savored it till the last bite . Hidden yet attentive to every sound,movement, aroma ( yes, there is a district one). I would watch. I don't think it could be rape so just flow

On second thoughts I wonder what will be the outcome :p
I smell murder

文王廷 said...

如果你批評他人。你就沒有時間付出愛......................................................................

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mrken said...

Gowd, that was long ago. Didn't consider I'd ever dredge up that memory ever again. What I did was, I turned and walked away, as quick and as quiet as I could, but it haunted me. That scene itself was a monster, and later, I wrote about it, same as I would anything of note.