Chase Burke

The Submarine

Under no circumstances should anyone look for the device I have hidden in the operating room of the submarine. I have placed it there for practical reasons, which I cannot divulge at this time. I can only say a few things about the device, by way of negation, which I will do now. The device is not shaped like a clock. It does not vibrate. It does not ring. It does not fit in a shoebox. It is not wireless. The uses of the device are not important. In fact, nothing about it is important, which is just one of the reasons why no one, under any circumstances, should look for it. The time one could spend looking for the device would be better spent working, or thinking about the future, or drafting a letter to be sent, when we make for the surface, to a good friend, something that they (the friend) can read on a Saturday afternoon in the sunshine of a patio space in the backyard of a bar; that friend could read the letter (printed on heavy paper, the kind used for official decrees or wedding invitations) while pausing every few words to take a sip from a gradually warming saison, thinking all along how strange it is to hear from this person, this old friend who had some time ago committed to living on and under the flattened sheet of the ocean. This is just an idea. I don’t have many more. The key to operating under pressure is to reconsider everything. Except, of course, the placement of the device. I have not spent a great deal of time on the land in a long time. I left some people behind. Again, the specifics don’t matter so much. What’s important, to me, is the fact that I enjoy being on the submarine. I am fulfilled, daily, by the closed quarters, the pipes, the red lights blinking against shadow. The pressure of so much water. I’ve been adding to my experiences every day, which is not an easy thing to do in the pipe dream of small spaces afforded by the submarine. We could be anywhere on the earth, which means the device, which we will not look for, could be anywhere on the earth. This, like ocean water, will not change. Because we could be anywhere we are, in the manner of unknowns, everywhere. I can place my ear to the hull and know the sound of the water around us—a stillness enveloping the creaking of machinery—is always going to be the same. I place my ear to the hull, and nothing changes.