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The Fisherman

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They fished the river early that morning because it was going to be hot. They were going after the perch. Ted said they should use the local worms. Bill said they should buy made-up stuff from the store. It came on to the heat quickly and you could see the fish jumping where the pools were calm just before the rapids. There were a couple of willows hanging low over the river and Ted said that would be a good place to fish. Bill said he preferred a more open spot where there were no tree roots and where he could sit in the sun before it got too hot.

Bill liked to fish early. In fact he preferred to fish on his own. But they had met in the pub the day before, and they just sort of got talking a bit about this and that. And about booze, good booze and not so good booze, and about women, and good women, and not so good women, and things sort of went on from there until quite late. Bill did not say too much about the women he had known mainly because there had not been too many anyway. That’s the way it is with some of these things. And the two or three he had known, mainly met through booze and one thing and another, had just sort of wandered off. Maybe it was the sex business. He wondered whether he was any good at it; whether he brought them on the right way; what they thought about it. He tried to talk to them about it, one of them laughed in his face. This made him hopping mad. She left the next morning calling him dirty names from the open window of her car. He took a quiet drink from his flask.

Ted found a few local worms in the bank which rose up gently from the river. Big worms, plenty of flesh on them, very easy to get on the hook. He thought about Bill, and the previous day. It had been hot, and they had sat outside at the back of the pub where there was this bit of a fibreglass verandah. Bill was a fast drinker. He drank four beers before saying hardly a word.

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