Several hundred feet below, the ocean pushes down on the pale pink fat without swelling toes. Thousands of feet of water - or however deep the ocean is - girdle the whale's anterior belly. By cupping it, gently on all sides, the water suspends the potentially dangling stomach belly. In black and white pictures of whaling ships, the abdomen is splayed and jiggling, as a boatful of curdled knobs; even with a small incision, in the hopes of keeping the skin intact, and the whale contained, the fat continues to move with the waves; it never rests. More than a second after the impact, it still sways, absorbing the next motion in the same moment as the last. The skin splays itself open, while the black and white men stare transfixed at the runny custard spreading over the deck.

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