A Reluctant Sale (Hayley Scrivenor)

Verity La Lies to Live By


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
gleams everywhere.
               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 - A Reluctant Sale

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.