Ya know what I’m picturing tonight? I’m picturing a whumper gathering, and one or two whumpees with weights attached to them, kept in tanks. There’s just enough air in the top of the tank for them to grab wet, desperate breaths. They can swim with the weights at first, but they are left in the tanks long enough that they tire out. Imagine a crowd gathering in front of the first tank, when the first of the whumpees gives out and starts to panic. They’ve been treading water and being watched for hours, and eventually they can’t stop the weights from dragging them under. The tanks are made of glass, and there is a smattering of applause as the audience watches, perfectly calm and removed, while the whumpee thrashes and their eyes bulge. Somebody snaps a picture or two. The last air bubbles leave the whumpee’s mouth in a scream, and the whole crowd can see the moment they inhale water. It takes a long minute, but eventually the struggles stop, and the whumpee’s eyes roll back in their head.
Are they pulled out, so that it can happen all over again? Or are they left there to drown for real?