A Reluctant Sale
He mentions within the first few minutes he is a lawyer. That’s
why he can be trusted, he says, because he has a reputation to
protect. Personally, I always think there is something a bit off
about someone who tells you they can be trusted, particularly
when that person is trying to sell you something. I sit at the
back of the small boat as it shudders towards the ‘Matisse’, a
37 foot sailboat waiting patiently for us on its mooring, and
cross my arms.
‘Plastic’ he yells, gesturing to the small tacky blue and
white boat that we sat in. ‘It was the wife’s idea of course!’ He
smiles ingratiatingly at my partner Stan, sitting beside him at
the front of the boat. I feel excluded from the conversation, as I
will for most of the upcoming hour we spend going over the
‘Matisse’ and all its particulars. When I ask the lawyer a
question he gives Stan the answer, a routine that is already
getting old by the time we arrive and climb aboard the yacht.
It’s an old boat, but well made and beautiful. Warm woodwork
We soon learn this lawyer’s boat-owning career, and the
lives of pretty much all of his friends who have boats, have
been maligned by women. Women, who don’t appreciate boats,
don’t love the sea, women who leave their cosmetics
everywhere and complain about the lack of wardrobe space. I
imagine these women, with brightly manicured talons and
impractical high heels, their bitchy tinkling laughter swallowed
by the waves.
We get back on the plastic runabout after giving the
Matisse a full run down, the lawyer is unimpressed when I ask
him to show me how each and every system turns on. I sit in
the front this time with Stan taking the back seat. I am curious
to see if the lawyer will actually talk to me. I ask him to take us
around to the other side of the bay. There are some moorings
becoming available on this secluded side of the bay soon, and
he urges us to get on the waiting list. Of course, it’s Stan he
gives this information to, smiling the same shit-eating grin,
neck craned at an 180 degree angle.
It’s almost too easy to slit the lawyer’s throat when he is
in that position. The knife work is all me, as I have the most
experience in that area, but Stan does the heavy lifting. I make
sure we take all the relevant keys from his body before
dumping him over the side. We don’t need my notes after all (if
it floats, Stan and I can sail it). It’s getting dark and there aren’t
many lights in the marina as we make our silent getaway. I
remove the ‘For Sale’ sign from the boat’s aft as we leave the
harbour. I rip the plastic-coated cardboard into small pieces,
watching with a smile as they hit the water, refusing to sink.
Hayley Scrivenor is a writer and PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong. You can find her work in Seizure Online, SCUM, Phantasmagoria, SWAMP and prowlings, among other places. She is a passionate member of the Wollongong Writers Festival team and spends much of the rest of her time learning, forgetting and re-learning how to tie a bowline.