Out on the open seas, the firm waves this morning are rising up and falling, shooting spray up and into the air, catching in the light, the glow of it all warming the deep eyes of the two men, chests bare and heaving, each standing atop their perfect feet, surveying the tides which they had that morning already conquered thoroughly.
Their heavy hands, calloused and raw from a tussle with a heavy storm the night before, grip tight around the girthy, sculpted mast at the centre of the ship. This mast, one long solid pole of dark wood they’d carved themselves from an oak as old as time, veiny roots embedded deep within the earth, this mast they gripped together was pure and delicate as it was strong, planed into a perfect rising cylinder by their hard labours. It is the crown jewel of the wide beast the seamen captain together—though the rest of the boat is no less beautiful, of course. Twin thick hulls skim over the ocean like the thighs of a swimmer from oral legend thrusting through stroke after stroke of butterfly, and the platform on which the two men sail and sleep side by side is smooth like the skin of their well-shaven legs.
To shave my legs is to make me a more fearsome hunter, says the man called Vincenzo to himself as he runs the painted tips of his fingers over his thighs and watches the man called Gabriel lying on his side and curled babe-like around the domineering mast, his breath drawing him close to the dark wood, then further away, and then ever closer again. Vincenzo finds his own breath matching Gabriel’s, their bodies cycling in unison through this most essential function, their pulses and warmth and in-out motion happening all at once.
The ocean rises, and Gabriel stirs and wakes and immediately gets to work upon the vessel they called the Margherita Perfecto, checking the tautness of the ropes and sliding his hands over a series of pullies to ensure the sail bloomed in the direction of God’s wind.
And now here they are in the midmorning, leaned against the mast, stealing little glances across the ship’s breadth and trying to think of conversation to make. All their books have been sealed shut by salty wetness, and three of their tallest chess pieces had toppled off in the storm of the night before, and they both refused—adamantly—to play queenless. And yet. And yet there might be play.
Another tough squall tonight, perhaps? Vincenzo says.
Aye, says Gabriel, staring out and away and towards the depths of the darkening sky.
I’m scared we get pulled off by the ocean’s cruel strength, says Vincenzo, reaching out to touch the rippled forearm that Gabriel had developed throughout the many hard days of hammering and nailing. Or, if not both of us is pulled off, then one of us.
Well, says Gabriel, flexing his forearm as if to tell a message in the secret morse code of the body. Well, what do you propose?
Tonight, says Vincenzo, gripping now the forearm tighter. Tonight, I want us to both encircle ourselves around this here mast, tight and close such that each of us is tied to the other, our faces pressed hard and heavy against this tall and mammoth thing we have made together and—
Gabriel circles the thick wooden centrepiece of their creation, their vessel, their conqueror of great and beautiful oceans, and he moves his hand from the boat’s wood to Vincenzo’s. Or, he says, we could skip the pretence of the mast.
What are you—Gabriel, what are you doing?
Ahoy, says Gabriel, his hand firming around Vincenzo’s throbbing vessel. It’s okay. It’s not gay if it’s on international waters.
Dr Colin O’Scopy, MD prefers for legal reasons that you just call him Colin. His past work has received enormous amounts of press and attention from journalists investigative and otherwise, and he is best known for the 2008 cover story of the Medical Tribune titled ‘Medical Tribune’s Exclusive Look At “Medical Tribunal”’. Medical Tribunal is also the title of O’Scopy’s well-regarded memoir, which bravely details his famous trial and demonstrates once and for all that the only real malpractice was committed by the Crown prosecutors. To this day the book continues to be censored by the liberal publishing elite. If there is anyone at all on this godforsaken Earth still brave enough to publish truth, the manuscript can be obtained through O’Scopy’s agent, Jonathan O’Brien, who is available for enquiry at jonobri.com.