Big Belly Cigarette Smoking Man Swimming in Winter

The Author staring across Puget Sound towards the Olympics from the beaches of Carkeek Park, Seattle. This foto is not from the same time as the essay, it was taken years later on 6 November 2011 by Kate Bass, but it captures the chill of the story as the slide fotos of the actual event were lost in the 2010 house fire.

The Author staring across Puget Sound towards the Olympics from the beaches of Carkeek Park, Seattle. This foto is not from the same time as the essay, it was taken years later on 6 November 2011 by Kate Bass, but it captures the chill of the story as the slide fotos of the actual event were lost in the 2010 house fire.

One bitter cold sunny day I came upon a tall, balding man standing on the beach wearing nothing but a skimpy Speedo swimsuit and smoking cigarettes. He had an enormous belly, a tremendous leviathan of a belly; the kind of tight power belly a big man could even feel proud of. Yet he moved like James Bond in the movies. He smoked like Humphrey Bogart used to in the movies, too. Him and Katherine Hepburn, remember? This man stood barefoot before me in sand, pebbles, and broken seashells as he gazed across the Salish Sea from the shores of Carkeek Park. I estimated he was a youngish sixty. An icy breeze sliced through my coat and stung my cheeks.

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