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Midge had an idea that she really had no idea what she was in for that weekend, which gave her an idea. With absolutely no fishing knowledge at her disposal (and certain that two days of online research on fishing would not give her the requisite expertise, and would more than likely reveal her to be an imposter), she would arrive at the cabin with a plausible story of having forgotten her equipment in the rush to leave the city, and insist that it didn’t feel right or she just wasn’t comfortable if offered spare equipment from her friends. And as a last resort, she could feign illness. Who knew, maybe Marcellus would offer to take care of her.

She arrived at Tosh’s cabin half an hour later than she had said she would (good coffee at the rest stop, and moderately interesting promotional literature for area activities). Tosh was standing in the dirt parking area as if he were waiting for her. He was wearing a broad khaki hat and a vest with voluminous pockets, hooks and lines hanging all over his clothing like a tacky mannequin in a cheap sporting goods store. He had two fishing poles in his right hand, another in his right; as she drove past him with a wave and parked her car (gravel crunching under her tires), she felt a wave of naseau come over her.

“Midge-Midge!” Doubling a person’s first name was Tosh’s custom for expressing a satisfied greeting. Midge realized she hadn’t rehearsed what she would say, but decided that would be to her advantage. She opened her car door, Tosh stepping back from its swing.

“Hey. Guess what?” And as she retrieved her luggage from her car, Midge was pleased to see that her tale of forgetfullness was accepted with empathy, and her refusal of Tosh’s equipment, while received with less understanding, was not overtly challenged. “No really, it’s fine. I’m actually feeling a little worn out — ” people could get too tired to fish, right? — “so if you don’t mind, I think I’ll just hang out this weekend.”

A door (she could tell by its sound that it was light and wooded, attached to a spring — must be a screen door) opened behind them. Midge turned quickly.

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