On a beach south of the city and east of the land there is an embankment. The sea splashes over the edge of the embankment at nice even intervals. Birds circle overhead gleefully reveling in the breeze that cools an otherwise tolerable day to a temperature just below comfortable. A young man, maybe thirty, maybe fifty, sits on a chair perched above the splashes of the water. In his left hand he holds the battered remains of a book that he peruses intently. In his right a fishing line twitches with the waves as it sways back and forth to a hidden beat that no one else hears. His clothes describe a halfhearted attempt at beach fashion. A Hawaiian shirt over kakis and sandals, a beaten leather fedora covers thick black hair with a pencil tucked up between hat and head. A slight smile teases his face as he pockets the book and stands up in his rickety wooden perch.
“Well, I guess that should be enough for you. Let’s try that again. “
Shifting the pole to his left hand he rubs his remaining fingers together as if feeling some invisible dust, licks his thumb and recovers the pencil. Squinting his left eye a little he writes in the air with a grimace. Then as if signing his name he ends in a flourish and returns the utensil to its resting place.
Taking the fishing pole with both hands he jerks hard and there is a slight thud. Sighing gently he reels in the remaining line and stares at the man hanging from the end of it.
The man is, scarce. Dirty bandage cloth has been wrapped repeatedly around his wrists and hands. He wears barely serviceable pants that end in tatters halfway down his calves. A small rope bracelet clings dripping to one wrist. An open scar runs down his chest from clavicle to nipple and the wire disappears into the crevice.
He sways back and forth from the rope, his head hanging limply as the rope twitches as if to a heartbeat.
The fisherman pulls a pebble from a flowery shirt pocket and throws it hard at his catch.
A low groan rewards him and he throws another stone. This one skips gaily across the forehead of his prize leaving a red line that quickly swells into a gentle crimson stream dripping into the sea below.
The voice is toneless; as if emotions are clothes to his words like cotton is to his body.
“Stop being childish.”
“Where is the red wrapped sage? Where has she hidden you?”
A scowl of anger flashes across the fisherman’s face and he goes to jerk the rod again. A flash of life interrupts the movement. A star twinkles in the midday sky.
His catch seizes the line and swings upwards kicking hard at the rod. It shatters. Line and prize fall spiraling into the sky. The fisherman curses and his prize raises a finger in salute as the stars swallow him whole.
A thin fishing line with a crimson stained hook fall softly to the rocks of the embankment.
“Well bother. I guess I’ll have to try again after lunch.”
He sighs and pulls out his book, opening it to where it was before and using the pencil to make notes in it as he reads.