Mayor Cass Tamburlaine had just heaved open the lid of the massive flotation tank that sat ponderously to the immediate right of his mammoth desk.  His blinked his eyes like something newborn to the world of light, and began wondering—a pale narwhal about to breach the surface of the salty inland sea that filled the tank—whether or not he could clamber out of the tank himself or whether he would require the assistance of one his young subalterns to help him to regain dry land.
     He had just decided he probably could use some help when, somewhat to his consternation—a consternation rounded, admittedly, by a rind of decidedly enjoyable lecherousness—he saw the door to his office swing open and watched a disturbingly beautiful young woman, tall, with blue–black hair swinging around her shoulders, stride smartly across his vast sea of deep pile carpeting and stop in front of the tank.
     Cass pulled himself to a sitting position in the tank and looked her up and down.  She had the blackest hair he had ever seen.  And the whitest skin.  She was dressed in a sleek black leather jacket, worn over a fog-grey linen shirt and a pair of linen slacks of the same expensive, indefinable hue.  She wore shiny black leather boots, he noticed, with very wicked heels. 
     “Don’t I know you?” he asked her, slicking back his wet hair with a plump wet hand.  The young woman looked amused.  “Haven’t we met somewhere?”
     “Coal Blackstone,” she told him, deliberately not extending her own hand.  “Yes, we met here in your office.  You wanted to talk to me about some death-threat notes you were receiving.  You seemed quite upset.”
     “Yeh, well I’m still getting them, and I’m still quite upset.”
     “You’re also quite naked, and wet as a hippo, so maybe you’d like to slip something on?”   She handed him a gigantic, lime-green robe that lay over a nearby chair.
     “Okay, fine, I’ll do that,” he said.  He began pushing himself massively from the Dead Sea of the tank and, while waving as much of his nakedness around as he could in the effort, finally succeeded in entering his swaddling robe. 
     “You’re not easy with nakedness?” he asked her.
     “I’m okay with my own,” she laughed.  “I’m not so sanguine about yours.”
     “What’s wrong with mine?”
     “Well for one thing,” said Coal, with a disarming smile, “there’s an awful lot of it.” 
     Cass looked crestfallen, in all of his parts.
     “But,” added Coal brightly, “I’m not here to deconstruct the mysteries of your Worship’s nakedness.  I came about the death-threat notices.”
     “There’s a pile of them on my desk,” said Cass, slightly irritated by her marginalizing of his manhood.  “Help yourself.”
     While Cass pulled himself into his clothes, Coal sifted through the old-master death threats.  For that’s what they looked like.  Tiny Old Master paintings.  All of them—and there seemed to be about a dozen—were beautifully painted but murderously phrased.  It was like receiving a small Raphael or Caravaggio in the mail, upon which—with screaming inappropriateness—someone had scrawled a crude suggestion about the likelihood of an upcoming violent death: a fatal accident, a fall from a high window, a garrotting in the daylight corridors of City Hall, a drive-by shooting, a poisoned Reuben sandwich.  One of them actually suggested that.  “Look to your Russian dressing, you squalid Pig!”  “Pig” was in italics.  And underlined a number of times.
     Cass looked over at her.
     “Nasty, huh?”
     “Yes, quite unpleasant,” Coal agreed. “Why threaten you about Russian dressing?”
     It’s really creepy.  I guess somebody has seen me and Joy at this west-end diner where I like the Reuben sandwiches they make. 
     “With Russian dressing.”
     “Yeh. Why, do you like Russian dressing too?” Cass asked her.
     “I’m not sure I even know what it is,” Coal told him.
     “Salad dressing.  Ketchup and mayonnaise and sometimes horseradish.  Good on a Rueben.”
     Coal tried to hide her expression of distaste.  Coal hadn’t gazed upon a bottle of ketchup since she was a teenager.  And mayonnaise?  Well, no.
     Coal couldn’t help noticing that Cass was now settling down to a detailed optical tour of her charms and thought it best to guide him back to the business at hand.
     “The reason I’m here,” she remindcd him crisply, “is that Joy called me about a certain Missing Dog poster the two of  you saw the other day.”
     “Joy?” said Cass, now entirely occupied by his mental inventory of Coal’s mellifluous parts.  Just at the moment, he was marvelling at the tiny tautness of her waist and the generous flare of her left hip.
     “Yes, Joy.  Your mistress,” she said just a tad louder than she had meant to. 
     “Oh, right. Yes, Joy.”
     “Well,” Coal continued, growing more impatient by the second, “tell me about the poster.”
     “It’s here somewhere.  You can look at it.”
     “I think Joy said it was about a missing dog, rather improbably named Fish.  She said there was a name and phone number to call.”
     “The dog’s name is Fish?” said Cass.
     “Apparently.  And there was some name to call.”
     “Bliss,” said Cass.  “I remember that.  Can’t forget a name like that,” he told her, all the while vaguely bringing together in his mind, Coal’s beauty and the deep erotic promise locked, as he saw it, in the name on the poster.  Bliss it would be indeed to talk Coal out of her linens and leathers.  Bliss would it be to persuade her to join him for a quick immersion together in his beloved flotation tank.  Then he wondered if the tank would actually hold the two of them….
     When he suddenly emerged from this aquatic sex-reverie, he saw Coal inspecting the Fish poster—which she had found on his desk with the earlier death threats.  She held up one of the death-threat notices and the missing dog sign beside it.
     “What do you think, Cass?  Same artist, right?”
     “I suppose so. Yeh, could be.”
     “Almost certainly is.”
     “So?” said Cass.
     “So I’d better phone this Bliss character.”