birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Jim Hollis's River Rendezvous

I’m almost finished with Birds in a Barrel. I’ve been behind about two days for a week. We’re almost to the 40 days so I better get it done.

Tonight someone told me about a man who created and ran a cave diver resort called Jim Hollis’s River Rendezvous. It had rooms, saunas, a swimming pool, and putt putt golf, as well as an entrance to spectacular underwater caves. My friend stayed there 184 days and all that time there was no one there at all, just him. You had to travel 18 miles up a deserted road to get there, and the room was bare and shaggy, with only a sliding glass door with no lock between him and the rest of the world. Then after 184 days the place filled up with families, couples, adventurous souls, all gathered for the annual Cave Diving Rendezvous!

Despite warnings not to dive in this particular part of the springs, two men decided to test their equipment. Leaving one of the men’s wife sitting on the edge of the spring, the two men descended into the underwater cave all bedecked in their new SCUBA equipment. Three hours later the wife realized they’d been gone too long and alerted the officials. The bodies of the two men were pulled from the springs with a gaggle of onlookers, including my friend, presiding.

Apparently they’d gone down in the hole and kicked up enough mud and watery debris that they couldn’t find up or down. They panicked and ran their supply of oxygen out. And then they drowned.

And Jim Hollis, he was a character too. He had long, wild hair, and wore his shirt open to the navel to reveal a huge gold Jesus medallion which hung nestled in a thick wad of chest hair. Jesus had one diamond eye, “as the Lord would,” my friend confirmed.

This story has nothing to do with the word “almost,” but I’m almost done so it will have to do.

Brush Fire

Me 'n MB