Returning serve

Aaron became so sick of being mistaken for Mark Hodler that one night, after a few drinks, he started introducing himself as the tennis star turned shock-jock journalist.

Three instant-turnoffs later he sidled up to Agnetha. ‘Mark Hodler. You’ve probably heard of me.’

A blank look. ‘No. Sorry.’ She motioned towards an empty seat.

‘From the telly?’

‘I don’t pay much attention.’ She offered a confident hand. ‘Agnetha.’

‘How do you know what’s going on?’ he said.

Soon they were talking about all the things people could achieve if they weren’t wasting time in front of the box. The Hodler charade, the arrogance and the swagger, became increasingly difficult. Aaron realised, with alarm, that he’d played his cheap prank on a woman he was rapidly warming to. Unmistakable attraction. All the signs. He began to fidget. His heart rate surged through the red-line when she laid a friendly hand on his knee.

‘I have to go,’ he said, jumping up. ‘Sorry. Late. Gotta rush.’


Ten minutes later he wandered back into the bar wearing the jumper he’d found in the car with his hair ruffled and his sunglasses on.

‘Mark!’ Agnetha looked up surprised.

‘Oh yeah,’ said Aaron. ‘As in Hodler. People are always making that mistake.’