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August 1, 2006 | Fiction

The Magic Word

Kevin O'Cuinn

The Magic Word photo

And then somebody said the magic word. Whale. It echoed and bobbed up and down the beach, and into the dunes, where I was relieving Victoria of her secrets.

‘Whale,’ she hummed, ‘whale..’

‘Another false alarm, for sure,’ I told her, nuzzling previously uncharted waters. 

‘No. Go, please, check.

So I did. And there they were, a quarter mile out, a pod of pilot whales. We’d spent three weeks at the ocean, waiting for a sighting. Which wasn’t long, compared to the fourteen weeks I’d waited, before she invited me to put my fingers inside her underwear. The whales moved so graciously, like a freight train. The younger ones to the rear, grandstanding for the camera flashes. I’d never witnessed anything so beautiful, and doubted if I ever would again

‘And?’ said Victoria, clipping her bra, ‘and?’

‘Like I said, false alarm.’ And I bowed my head and returned to the sandy crevices.

image: Patrick Casey


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