The Wisdom Of Carp
The Sage of Upyaws lowered himself onto his fishing stool and sighed a tired sigh. Another beautiful day, a glorious view, a lake full of willing carp.. He sighed again and picked up the Tupperware box, unclipping the lid and peering inside. Egg and cress. Could be worse. Ham and tomato was worse but not as bad as tuna and cucumber. That was the pits. Not the sort of fayre a Sage should be offered.
Christ, not already? He looked at his watch. Two minutes past nine. ‘Bit bloody early.’
‘To be badgering me. Most of you buggers wait until half past.’
‘I really am sorry but what are you talking about.’
The Sage dragged his rheumy gaze away from the mellifluous cloud formations and peered at his interrogator. He fitted the mold: neat hair, ironed shirt, clean jeans, super keen expression, one of those ridiculous Male scents. ‘You’ll be wanting my thoughts.’
‘Well,’ the young man shifted his weight and the Sage wondered if he was about to break into a dance – there was that couple from Whitstable who’d paid homage with a really unnecessarily over-vigorous foxtrot; she was pretty good but he looked like he was in the process of passing a hedgehog, ‘that’s a very generous offer.’
‘Yeah tell me about it.’ He stretched his back. ‘I blame the Bugle. They said I did it for the love of it. Sods.’
The young man did his best to look interested, but couldn’t stifle a yawn.
The Sage noticed things like that, evidence of a lack of respect. ‘Oh that’s lovely. You come here, disturb my peace and then yawn like I’m the one who’s boring. Well thank you but if you think I’m going to help you…’
The young man shook his head like a small sliver of brain was caught up in the wiring and its presence made thinking incoherently unnecessarily difficult. ‘I’m here to help you.’
‘You!? Help me!.? Oh that’s rich.’ He peered more closely. The man looked like he was a trainee undertaker. ‘So come on. What’s your best shot? This’ll be peachy.’ He waved vaguely at the gymnastic confusion that was the cloud bank. ‘Where do you get your insights, then? Probiotic moss? Avocado infused leylines? Some fancy new age bollocks, I’ll be bound.’
If the aggression surprised the young man – and the way he swayed like he was a badly tethered goat in a typhoon indicated that might be the case – he rallied impressively. He opened his man-bag and extracted a dog-eared pamphlet. ‘From here, if you must know.’
The Sage squinted at the flimsy booklet and scoffed. ‘Oh don’t tell me, you’re a Worthy, are you? It’s all doing good works and giving them the promise of tea and slippers if they chant some pseudo-baloney thrice weekly and pay the stipend. Charlatans, the lot of you.’
The young man felt any sense of his being the good guy here was fast slipping away. His instinct was to calm this gibbering fisherperson and in the spirit of trying to do just that he put a hand on the man’s shoulder.
The Sage could barely credit what was happening. If this young shaver had read the Article in the Bugle – and every one must have by now, the Sage was certain – he’d know that you didn’t touch him. He’d made that clear. It confused and drained him, being manhandled by those seeking insights and solace for the Wisest of the Wise. Him. He focused all his energy on His Righteous Ire but in doing so he stood up too quickly, lost his footing and slipped down the bank into the shallows of the lake. Now he was a foot or two below the cretin, this mock-seer, this charlatan and it made him feel like he’d lost both the real and moral high ground.
The youngster raised his hands, palms down, his intention being to pacify the patently rising fury of the damp muddy aggressor but due to the differential height the gesture was more redolent of religious leader blessing the devout.
The Sage took a deep breath. ‘I have come to this sodding lake for twenty-seven years to fish. For the last twenty-five it has been my privilege to share my years of wisdom with whoever decides to join me. I’ve made people fortunes, saved lives, repaired damaged relationships, cured the world’s malaises, all through the power of my insights. And then you turn up, all M&S chinos and a splash of Simper by Tommy Hilfigier and try and usurp me. How bloody dare you? How could you?’ He was nearly in tears.
The man felt awful. He took a step forward but all that did was cause the Sage to jump back and fall over into the water again. He looked defeated. ‘I’m sorry but I only wanted to let you know that the lake’s owners have decided you need a licence to fish and I wanted to make sure you knew.’ He pointed further down the bank, to a stool and a net. ‘That’s me.’ He tapped his chest. ‘Colin.’
The Sage tried to focus. ‘You’re not a Sage?’
Colin shook his head. ‘I’m not any sort of herb. I work in a Tinsel factory. This is my annual leave. I just thought you might not have seen the notices of this booklet of rules and I didn’t want you to have any hassle.’
The Sage looked at his broken stool, his ruined clothes, his prize rod that was even now floating towards the weir. ‘Yeah, well, thanks.’ He stood up. ‘You don’t, you know, want any of my insights?’
Colin scratched his chin and then brightened. ‘Where’s the best pitch to catch the carp?’
The Sage scrabbled up the bank and righted his stool. ‘Here. And I ain’t moving. Now sod off.’
this has been written in response to the latest #writephoto prompt