the tribe of the shark

The lecturer stopped her account of maritime law to inform us that she would die in a shark attack.  I returned to my crossword puzzle, and tried not to giggle.  She was so cute.

       Years later, I stopped off after a court case to grab a paper.  The headline read, Law Prof to Give Talk About Shark Attacks.  “300 million years went into the fine tuning of this sleek, stream-lined killing machine,” she said that night.  She was still cute.     

       After her talk, we slept together.  Months later, we booked a flight to Hawaii for our marriage.  For the honeymoon, she insisted on going where the sharks were the most plentiful, a huge hole way out in the ocean.

       At the hole, we noticed colorful fauna.  Then, a great white circled and began a long ascent.  She wanted the shark to tear us in half.  She wanted our upper bodies to swim in a parody of our former selves.  I was in love.  The shark swam elsewhere for nourishment.  We made for the surface and climbed into the boat and went home unconsumed. 

       Every night we wake from the same dream: while diving along a coral reef, we see a great white shark accelerating, and brace for the shock.  It never comes.  I ought to file a class action suit against my law professor for introducing this notion, but I have no standing.  She sleeps beside me.  One morning after many years in the same bed and in the same law firm, I asked her why we were never chosen.  As she put on her streamlined gray suit, to prepare for another day of carnage, she replied.

“Professional courtesy.”