She knew him. Not particularly well, mind you, or with exceeding fondness or affection of any sort. He simply was a character in the cast of her life - a sort of glorified extra, milling in the background, exchanging empty pleasantries from time to time. His name was Bob, she thought. Maybe Phillip.
It was an odd thing, knowing someone who had died - who had, days ago, presumably been living and somewhat happy, and who now was nothing but a drowned, empty corpse. She did not feel sad, but there was some sort of pain or indigestion deep in her gut. She surmised that it might be shock, or loss, or perhaps just the lingering memory of a hefty sandwich.
The man in question had drowned, it seemed, less than fifty feet from the docks of the cottage where he was staying. His canoe drifted ashore, empty, strewn with half a dozen beer cans. A missing persons report had been filed, and an executive decision to drag the lake was made, allowing for a timely recovering of the body. But what exactly had happened? She supposed Bob and/or Philip might have passed out from drinking, though that didn’t seem overly likely. She wasn’t certain Bob had been a heavy drinker. He didn’t seem the type, although really, it’s not like alcoholics have a certain look about them...and that’s neither here nor there. He could have smacked his head on something, although the coroner’s report didn’t mention any signs of a struggle. Speaking of which, perhaps some ruffian had drowned Bob, and then absconded, staging the canoe and the beer cans...but that seemed far fetched, especially for a man without any obvious wealth, gang allegiances, or personal characteristics worth pinning down besides ‘adult caucasian male.’
Who had found the body? A cottage-town neighbour - not a doting, dumpy wife, or attractive, bare-chested homosexual lover, or weepy, traumatized four year old daughter - nothing to colour in the edges of the man Bob might have been. Or Philip. She flipped to the third page of the report to fill in the missing details - Robert Jeffrey Enid, age forty-two and two months. Single. Caucasian. Male. A Gemini, if that means anything.
No children listed. His body had been identified and collected by his mother, who flew into town for the purpose. The death was ruled accidental with no foul play suspected. Case closed. Goodbye to Bob, whoever you are. Or, were. Whoever Bob was, and isn’t now, goodbye.
She turned away from the open file and began to type.