I got the idea for this story when I was sorting through my list of contacts on my phone. I came across one which simply said “Lamp” and a number. For a moment I couldn’t for the life of me remember putting it in there. Then it came to me, once when I was fishing a man had offered to sell me a lamp. Looking back it seemed such a strange event, like something out of Aladdin, that I thought I would turn it into a story. Here’s the beginning:
It’s wild up on the estuary, when the night is falling and the tide is low. The light leaches away one colour at a time, first the pale green of the far shoreline, that narrow strip between water and cloud, then the umber and sienna of the river itself and finally the hint of purple that lines the sky, casually painted by a veiled sunset. To either side of me stretches the beach, cobbles flung against the sea wall by a wild winter storm. Soon it will be covered by the advancing tide, and I shall retreat, yard by yard until I am forced to take shelter behind the concrete bastion, but for now I stand by the waters edge and fish.
I check my watch. It’s about time for another cast. The great beach rod stands in its rest in front of me, white banded tip nodding gently in time with the waves. I watch it carefully, waiting for that break in the rhythm, that insistent jagging pull that says ‘Fish!’ There! Is that a twitch? Probably nothing, it’s certainly not the bang of a fair sized cod but it could be something. I step forward and lift the rod from the rest, it’s time to re- bait anyway.
I lift it high and step backwards, winding hard. The rod hoops forward as I feel a moment’s stubborn resistance, but that’s just the gripwires holding the lead to the sea bed, another heave and they pull free and I step back again, spinning the reel handle as fast as possible to keep the hooks from snagging on the sea bed in front of me.