He got up and joined people walking down towards the woods.
He moved behind a big boulder near bank of the river, away from the crowd of holidaymakers. The top portion of Eiffel Tower with its thin aerial was visible, emerging out of distant trees, accompanied by the cone of the hideous Pencil Tower. He sat down on one of the stone slabs and unfolded ‘Le Monde’, turned pages with interest and immersed himself in the newspaper, munching sandwiches. Little away a man with fishing rod sat motionless, looking far ahead towards the woods.
A boat with two men drew closer riding the slow moving river. It made a slight maneuver and neared the bank. The one man silently opened the beer canes gave one to the other young man leaning back in the boat facing him.
“ Nice weather sir, the first man addressed the man with newspaper.”
Tariq ignored him and continued to eat and read the newspaper.
“ Is it not nice sir? “ The other young man spoke as if trying to tease the older man.
“ I find is marvelous here.”
He looked up, eyes darting around swiftly, scanning the area with measured and trained bearing.
“ Yeah. I always feel marvelous here. Look at the mighty Eiffel Tower.”
Both young men turned to see the magnificent view of the tower emerging out of woods.
“ Beautiful. I have begun to love Paris.” One man said, drinking beer.
“ Every body loves Paris.” Said Tariq still reading newspaper, with a tinge of seriousness.
“ Nice to know that sir.” The tone showed excitement and satisfaction.
Both men looked in separate directions, keeping a constant vigil.
“ We also love other things and most importantly what we promise.
“ Please, don’t disturb me folks.”
It was the alarmed middle-aged angler with round speckes kissing his thick salt pepper eyebrows. They fell silent as some tourists went past them, back to the market and parking lot.
“ Why don’t you keep mum for some time? You repeat the same thing so often?”
“ No man. I have to.” The voice has developed a sinister tone.
All were silent for few moments.
“I got a reasons too brother”, Tariq hissed.
“ Do you? “ Challenged the man with fishing rod.
The men in boat seem to listen and kept a silent but potent vigil.
“Forget the crap, let’s know the developments?”
“I expect some results soon.” The angler hesitated.
“ Brother, we all are running out of time and patient now. Tell me if it’s too difficult for you. But it will be quite shameful experience to go back on a promise and accept defeat with out lifting a damn finger.”
There was an awkward silence as three pairs of eyes looked at the man with fishing rod. He coughed nervously and spoke with low voice.
“ I have been trying hard, but there are unexpected problems, you know, we have to keep whole thing quite. It’s very important that we are very careful and raise no alarm. I request for some more time and rescheduling.”
He stopped and looked at the black caped Tariq.
“ Rubbish. The buyer would not wait and would certainly go away. Tariq hissed in low measured tone. “No rescheduling possible and looks like we might loose out due to your incompetence. “
The man with fishing rod sat motion less with his blank face, betraying no emotions. Black capped man looked at him with distaste and continued.
“We still have a chance if you do your job well. If I knew you was a worthless pest with no self-respect. I would have never agreed to rely on you. Mind it, if you fail again; please vanish, because I don’t know how these boys would deal with you. They have been waiting so anxiously for the money.” He lifted his faded jacket, and stood up.
“You have raised by blood pressure, it’s a pity that so much depends on a worthless creature like you.” He gathered his newspaper, manila bag and looked at the angler, expecting a reply. There was none.
The angler moved his eyes nervously, avoided the steely stare and coughed. Suddenly he spoke with anxiety.
“Silence. Please don’t disturb me.”
A fat couple with two healthy kids was settling down nearby. Kids made noises as they went on to place their shining new fishing rods with bait in the river. The experienced and indulgent father blew air in a deflated cushion and kept an eye on the excited kids. The lady furiously busied her self with a big food basket and ordered kids to be silent. The man placed the mat and eased his bulk on a mat, the plug popped off, deflating the mat.
The lady and kids laughed heartily. The embarrassed man made a funny face
“ Sorry sir. I must have chosen a wrong place.”
A dejected Tariq bowed and walked towards a group of people walking briskly, and melted away.
Two boatmen silently smoked for some time, drank beers and kept gazing at the angler with deep disapproval. Their athletic bodies were straight and alert.
One young man spat loudly in an apparent display of deep disgust and feeling of let down. He spoke in low but confident tone-
“Do some thing fast. We are broke and need fast cash.”
They dropped in unison empty bottles in the water. The light green bottles drank water slowly and disappeared in the river. The pair straightened up in tandem to row the boat and followed the stream.
The angler silently watched them up to the bend in the river.
Powerful tugs on the rod made him smile and he begin to wind the wheel.
‘Oh. You got a big one, sir.” The boy exclaimed.
The angler nodded and smiled, judging the struggling fish.
“Please tell us how you did it?” The girl asked with great expectations.
“ Simple kids, offer a big bait and be patient.”