The hour was late and a grave mistake had been made at the desk of P. Pace, Attorney at Law.

“You understand the distinction,” the attorney said, addressing the secretary. “I asked for the tide charts of the Swan Islands, and you’ve brought me a photograph of somebody’s breasts.”

“Clearly there’s been a terrible mix-up.”

“In fact, they appear to be your breasts.”

“No,” the secretary said, removing her pyjama top. “As you can see, the shape is quite different.”

“Perhaps because you were holding your phone when you took it.”

“Fine, you’ve caught me,” the secretary said, holding up her hands and walking steadily around the attorney’s desk. Her heels fell soundlessly on the carpet. Uplifted, her breasts looked like the photograph.

The attorney’s gaze returned to her laptop screen. On it looped a series of densely whorled surface pressure charts. Within them a solitary red snake grew, writhed, halted, and then was born anew. The attorney felt a yielding wave break against her temple. She saw a crescent-breast waxing on her periphery. She sighed.

“I just got lonely being a secretary I suppose.”

The attorney felt a weight yabancı gaziantep escort on her shoulder.

“It’s really no fun at all being a secretary.”

The attorney felt lips on her ear.

“Secretaries hardly get any attention.”

Increasingly, the attorney felt her position to be unnavigable. The Kaerimasu Maru was sunk, its cargo would go uncompensated, and, unlike the pyjama bottoms descending on her periphery, neither would rise again.

“There are more interesting things in the world than boats,” the secretary said, prising the attorney’s hand from the keyboard.

“Ships,” the attorney said, “ships.” She felt her lifeless fingers contact the secretary’s skin, which was warm and soft, then stubbly, then wet.

“I don’t like them,” the secretary said, “they steal you away from me.” Stutteringly, the attorney moved her forefinger against the secretary. “I think that’s why I call them boats, to… diminish them.” With her uncaptured hand, the attorney shoved aside an obdurate tome of sticky-note-feathered maritime law and pulled the secretary close. “Silly… little… yabancı gaziantep escort boats.”

The Kaerimasu Maru no longer mattered, thought the attorney, absorbing herself instead with the secretary: smelling musk in combination with perfume and feeling welcoming flesh lap against her nose and lips, which she pressed to the secretary – who moaned as the attorney grasped her buttocks and ran her tongue across her. The secretary listed backwards from her hips: unsteady on her heels, gripping the desk, crying out. The attorney’s nails scraped goosebumps, her cheeks conducted tremors, her chin became damp. Glancing up, she saw the secretary’s breasts – quivering, nipples stiff – between them: fluttering eyelids, a lolling mouth, a nodding head. Her breasts, of course they were her breasts, thought the attorney, what a funny lie: she’d heard the camera shutter sound, the background was patently the hallway wall, and as if she wouldn’t recognise… the Kaerimasu Maru sank in Honduran waters, that was fact, but… the shape was different – Belize. If Belize, then it wasn’t descended on at all. If Belize, yabancı gaziantep escort bayan there was no ill-fated voyage from Veracruz, no balanced sea turning unexpectedly corrugated. Belize – then it would have left port a day later, which meant they knew that the hurricane had shifted before they sailed, which meant it wasn’t an act of God, it was negligence.

“It was negligence,” the attorney said, tilting her head back and finding the secretary’s desperate eyes.

“I’m so close.”

“The log was doctored. They were never in Mexico, they sailed from the Port of Belize straight into the storm.” Abruptly, the attorney stood and walked to the map of the Caribbean taped above the fireplace, adjusting within it a pushpin which interlinked string. “Suppose they have agents in both port authorities, no wonder the investigators missed it.”

“God, Penny.”

“No desperate cleave southwards. No nighttime spent pursued. The crew lied from the moment they were rescued.”

“And the boat lies at the bottom of the sea and within it lies my orgasm and you can come lie in bed,” the secretary said, pulling up her pyjama bottoms and kicking off her heels towards the cat tree.

“Yes, I can, I actually can. You know, you’ve been surprisingly helpful.”

“I told you I would be.”

The door closed. The sound of rapidly ascending footfalls and laughter came diminished through the photograph-tessellated wall. A tome of maritime law, which had teetered for a time on the brink of the coffee table, fell with a thud to the living room floor.

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