I found the first floater when I was seven years old. It had washed up on the shore about a hundred yards from my family’s summer house. It still looked mostly human – a bit swollen and decomposed, but whole enough for me to immediately recognize what it as.
Even as a kid, I was never very squeamish. I used to watch my father skin the deer he caught on his hunting trips, and I would clean my own fish whenever I reeled one in from the salty lake. Finding a human body was the best thing that could have happened to me that summer.
I thought about telling my parents, but there’s no way they would let me play with it. Heck, they might even ban me from going down to the water at all, a thought which my seven-year-old brain equated to nuclear holocaust, an asteroid destroying the earth, or other disasters of similar magnitude.
So I did what any clear thinking seven year old would do. I gathered up all the other kids I knew and charged them 5$ each to poke it with a stick. The salt water preserved it well enough for us to stomach the smell, but poking it would release some of the bloated gas still trapped in the carcass. I told them they could have their money back if they could lick it without throwing up.
No-one got their money back. I made 60$ before one of the little snitches told his mother and she called the police….