Aaron’s rod perched on his rest, his newspaper sprawled on his lap. His green canvas seat creaked as he shifted his weight. It was quiet out here. There was the breeze. Lapping waves. The rumble of traffic from the bridge.
Footsteps squelched from behind. Creeping, almost. Aaron looked over his shoulder. He didn't recognise the face.
"Allright mate, how's it going?" Not a local accent.
"Not too bad. Nice day for it. Could do with a bit more sun, though." The stranger didn’t answer, only rocked on his heels. One hand stayed in the back pocket of his jeans, and his eyes flickered from Aaron to the road at the sound of every passing car. Aaron tried again. "What's your name, but?"
"Spi- Simon. Caught much?"
"Simon. Aaron. Pleased to meet you. Where you from?"
"Just visiting. Staying in the town."
"Ah, one o' the b n' b's on Alexandra Road, yeah?"
"Tidy. They're all pretty decent down there."
"Sure. This a good spot? How many have you caught?"
"Me? Ho ho. Let me show you something."
He leaned forward and picked up the rod. The multiplier whirred like a showroom model as he cranked the handle. Metre by metre he reeled in the fishing line until it was clear of the water.
"You've lost the hook."
"Don't use 'em. Don't like fish. But I can't drink, see. Diabetes, my doctor said. And we've no garden in the flat. I only work part time, to top up my pension. Wife's the same. Love her to bits, we've been together nigh-on forty years, you know. But she can't stand me being under her feet when we're both off work. So I comes down twice a week for a break."
"It's quiet. And out of the way. By the time you've parked up in the layby, traipsed across the grass and mud... I'm surprised you came out here. There's a car park nearer the other bank further up. You must have missed it. Anyway, the wife, her sister's a carer. Looks after old people at home. Their own homes, you know. Drives back and forth over that bridge a dozen times a day. She'll let the old girl know if I'm not here." He proffered his flask to the stranger. "Tea?"
"No thanks, mate. Just looking around checking out who's here. I'll be off."
"Oh. Right. Well, take care. Enjoy the rest of your holiday."
Spider backed away from the lucky old man. He released his grip on the blade in his back pocket. Fishing was a blood sport, and those who took blood should be prepared to lose their own.
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