Saturday, September 6, 2008

Midge and the Fisherman

He had a face on that Midge described as sour. Midge was a spinster. She had all sorts of ideas about people’s faces. His, she was certain, was sour.

For fourteen years Midge had known the man with the sour face. She had fed him and lodged him and kept herself occupied with the things he did to occupy himself. He is a great fisherman, she would tell all her friends, though he never once had told her anything about him having gone fishing. She had seen him leave early one morning with a tackle box under his arm, and ever since has told her friends all about his fishing prowess. Fishing did not interest Midge’s friends much though, and neither did her lodger, for that matter, so speaking with Midge, or rather being a friend of Midge’s, was generally avoided.

In any case Midge cared a great deal about faces. Faces, she would say, tell you everything about a person. Though she had received no formal training as a physiognomist, she had developed an amateur system for categorizing and condemning the various faces that she met. A thoroughly furrowed brow, for instance, signified tolerable breeding, while a mole condemned one to a depraved caste of untouchables. Her lodger had neither of these characteristics, but he did have something – Midge was never quite certain what – that betrayed a certain sourness of disposition. This too she liked to discuss at great lengths with her friends.

Midge, though, is growing old, and it is becoming clear – to the lodger at least – that she will not be renting out a room for much longer. The lodger, then, sets out early in the mornings with his gloves on and a large, tin tackle box in hand, determined to find a place to live once Midge is no longer around. It is not totally clear why he takes his tackle box with him on these excursions.

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