The short story “It’s Beginning to Hurt” by James Lasdun introduces Mr Bryar, who is returning to his office. He is told that his wife has called and, upon returning her call, he lies about where he's been. Mr Bryar was actually attending the funeral of Marie, his former mistress, whom he had not seen for seven years. 

Mr Bryar’s wife asks him to buy a salmon, as the couple is going to be visited by someone named Tom. Mr Bryar goes out and buys a whole fish and watches the fishmonger gut and clean it. Upon returning to the office, he realizes the salmon does not fit in the fridge. He goes to the stock room, where it is cooler, and places the fish in a metal cabinet, after which he works all day. 

In the evening, when he is on the train, Mr Bryar re...

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