I’m growing tired of news about (be-still-my-pounding-heart) inflation and Republican lackies trying to out-Trump their primary opponents.
For diversion, I’ve been following reports from Nevada about skeletons showing up at the bottom of drought-stricken Lake Mead.
These stories are fascinating for two reasons.
One, they graphically illustrate the impact of climate change. For decades, the southwestern U.S. has fried like hash browns. Lake Mead, which supplies drinking water to 40 million people in seven states, hasn’t been at full pool since 1983. It is now down to a mere 30 percent of capacity — and dropping.
Which brings up fascinating reason No. 2: Despite what you’ve heard in movies and read in crime novels, dead men do tell secrets.
Already this month, two human skeletons have been found on the dry lake floor. One didn’t show any sign of foul play.
But the other sure did. It had been stuffed inside a barrel.
Investigators say the victim had been shot. They were able to trace the time of death to the mid-to-late 1970s, based on the style and brand of his shoes.
That’s intriguing enough. But the fact this barrel turned up near Las Vegas indicates something besides your garden variety murder.
More bodies surely await discovery, predicted Geoff Schumacher, vice president of The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Schumacher said, “I think a lot of these individuals will likely have been (boaters and swimmers) who drowned. But a barrel has a signature of a mob hit.”
Sounds plausible, given Sin City’s reputation. Between warring gangsters, casinos galore, rivers of hooch, no-tell motels and quickie weddings/divorces, there’s ample opportunity for innovative methods of extracting retribution.
I can’t help but wonder if any containerized skeletons lie beneath 652 miles of the multi-impounded Tennessee River, plus umpteen more miles of tributary reservoirs.
We’ve got barrels on top of barrels, for sure.
In the early 1970s, when TVA outlawed the use of barrels as flotation devices for houseboats, some folks did the right thing and hauled theirs ashore for proper disposal. Many more chose the redneck route: Couple of strategic whacks with an axe and — glub-glub — barrels? What barrels?
However, if you’re a contract killer desperate to hide a body at the bottom of our lakes, there’s a better way. It’ll take more effort but guarantees 100-percent camouflage.
Use beer cans.
Buried in the muck alongside a billion-trillion others, your secret will be safe forever.
Sam Venable’s column appears every Sunday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Sam Venable | Yes, you ‘can’ hide evidence in our lakes