Hippopotamus

Year:

2018

Role:

Writer, Director, Producer

Left alone to be the caretaker a gay, nude resort that is closed for the season, a man finds himself confronted by what he can see and what he can't.

The Story:

Left alone to caretake a gay nude resort closed for the season, a man finds himself confronted by what he can see — and what he can't. When everything is visible, when nothing is hidden, what do you see....and what is It that sees you?


My Thoughts:

I was naked when it all turned ominous. On the festival circuit with my feature The Dark Place, I was enjoying an added night of hospitality at The Triangle Inn, a clothing-optional hotel hosting many of the guests and filmmakers at Palm Spring’s Cinema Diverse LGBT fest. That extra night gave me the entire compound to myself, as all my fellow attendees had checked out and the regular paying guests wouldn’t resume until the next day. So with the evening calm, the night peaceful, and the pool so very damn inviting, it was of course time for a dip. I pushed out and floated into the center of the water, felt the hot breeze on my wet skin and watched the stars loaf about in the sky. The mountains of Taquitz Canyon held the night and the desert — and me — quiet and close, the pool now at the center of it all. The misters, perched away in hidden corners of the patio called to action only when temperatures hit too high a degree, kicked in, sending a soft stream of cool water into the hot air, manifesting a mist that curtained the pool, hid the inn, and created for me a certain and affirming solitude. Within, within, within, I had the world all to myself. Until that ominous noise I mentioned tore it all apart. Now, when asked — or when I want to stir things up — I’ll comment that clothes are overrated. They aren’t exactly necessary in most modern contexts. Social convention, Victorian standards of modesty, and the ever present demon of body shame all line up to scare clothes on, even when comfort pleads for their removal. Swim-trunks are the best illustration of this, an entrapment against comfort, about as sensible as wearing chainmail into a lake. When possible and appropriate, it’s a convention I’ve long discarded, the result of a journey away from fears about my own skin to a pleasure derived from living within it. Being naked is just no big deal anymore. With that noise, it suddenly was. That noise. Panic. Fear. That noise. Distant, yet near. That noise, which launched itself from high up in the mist and down towards me. That noise which came closer with each heartbeat, each breath, each moment. That noise, first loud and in front of me, then screeching beside me, then echoing behind me. That noise was everywhere. That noise was in everything. It was the night. It was the world. It was the terror. It was the the HVAC. That noise was the air conditioner on the roof of the nearby building. The one hidden from me. The one with my room it it. The one now being cooled for my comfort by the loud modern marvel exchanging heat for cold. The noise’s unfamiliarity, its suddenness, its juxtaposition against the natural quiet I was dreaming in, floating in, had blown open my fears. Ridiculously so. As dramatic as all this is in the telling, the actual fear ended within moments of its start. I recognized the sound, realized what it was, and saw the terror collapse and dissipate with the breath it tried to permanently run away with. The monsters I was certain that were coming for me, they that prowled behind this mist, they that thought to murder the normal of the world, were no more. I was back again in the petty and unremarkable certainty of my real life, one that was just me, naked, floating in a pool, the inn empty, the world quiet. Only now I had a story I wanted to tell....



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