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"But bream are supposed to be good eating."
"If you like to eat fish, they are."
"You don't eat fish?"
He shook his head. "No, and I don't like fishin', either."
I didn't laugh. I took out a cigarette, and offered the pack to the old man. His fingers reached out, and then he swiftly pulled back his hand.
"I don't smoke," he said firmly.
After lighting my cigarette I said, not unkindly, "If you don't like to fish and you don't eat fish, why have you been fishing all day? I remember seeing you in this same spot when I crossed the bridge at around nine this morning." He was silent.
"Because," he said at last, "I don't know what else to do. Before I retired I was a vice-president of an insurance company in St. Louis. And this is what I always thought I wanted to do someday, retire to Florida and fish. The first day I tried it I discovered I disliked it. But by that time it was too late. I had already bought a house, and my wife wouldn't let me stay home during the day.
"So I fish. Every day. In the beginning I used to take my catch home. But when I did, my wife felt that it was her duty to cook them. And I hate the taste of fish, the stink of fish and even the smell of other fishermen. That's why I stand down here by myself. Now when I go home in the evening I tell my wife that I didn't catch anything. It's simpler that way. She doesn't have to prepare the fish, and I don't have to eat any."
"Why don't you stay home and get a hobby of some kind?"