The Truly Serious Philosophical Problem
By Julianna Bjorksten
One late morning in mid October, Casey Sturman’s head was mounted upon the mast of a 20th century Galeas sailboat and sent out to sea. He had insisted upon leaving his body behind –– it was only holding him back. Faced forward, Casey sailed alone, allowing the wind to propel him where it willed. From his bird’s eye vantage point, he could clearly see the mainland as he sailed away from the harbor: Massachusetts’ craggy coastline riddled with saltbox houses, their facades painted in chromatic hues. When night fell, the whole world was speckled with light, like a flashlight shining through an anthill. And that was really all Casey could do from his lofty, disembodied position: look. That and think, which was the reason he’d made up his mind to set out on the perilous expedition in the first place. He’d told his wife, Mathilda, that he needed some time to think, to think and ponder really hard. The only way I can do that, he assured her, is to be left alone with my thoughts. So, he called up his old buddy, the one he’d played lacrosse with in university, and persuaded him to lend his antique sailboat. Casey was committed to his plan. He stuck to his decision to leave all distractions behind. His decapitated body lay crouched and frostbitten in the basement freezer of his mother-in-law’s little seaside cottage, where she kept her de-shelled lobster remains.
After a week of sailing, Casey was miserable. He had done all the thinking he could do, and now, due to the harsh and persistent weather, his face was rotting off. It was terribly itchy, but because he’d left his body behind on the mainland, he had no arms with which to itch it.