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(A short story of 2773 words)

Six Degrees


by Edward Cartner

A society 'gossip' writer follows up a chance meeting and then witnesses the accidental death of his subject. He determines to honour with the dead man's estranged family the 'Six Degrees of Separation' theory.

The man waiting at the top of the slipway was an icon for outdoor health: bleached denim, scuffed canvas boots and a banner of yellow hair streaming in the wind. He stood beside a dusty quad bike and lifted a slow one-handed greeting.

‘Thursday, then?’ I queried of the boatman, as I clambered out of the launch.

‘That’s right. Unless I hear otherwise.’ The man made the universal fist-to-ear phone gesture. ‘Or the weather closes in.’

The denim man joined us and leaned over to shake the skipper’s hand. ‘Thanks, Ben,’ he grinned. ‘Thursday?’

Meanwhile, much hung about with holdall and laptop, I had reluctantly stepped into an inch or so of crystal clear water that slurped up and down the sloping concrete...

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