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Care of your Bait Stock




She reaches with her gloved hand for the small white mesh  fishnet that hangs on a nail over the tanks. She jabs it mechanically into the water till her elbow is submerged, and expertly captures one of the medium sized goldfish. She scoops it out and with little ceremony carries its dripping body towards the work area behind the counter of the bait shop. She drops it into a stainless steel bowl partially filled with well water and turns to the refrigerator. She extracts the covered styrofoam box that houses the leech stock and carries it to her work station too. She puts a metal colander into the sink and pours the cold water from the box into it. The leeches stream forth like black spaghetti noodles. She wrinkles her nose as she smells the putrid scent of decaying flesh…she gags as the dead leeches fall into the mass of live ones…they are greyer and kind of stiff. But what's worse is the body of the dead goldfish that has been the leeches' food for this last week. It's ghastly remains slide out too, and lay there like some hideous garnish.  She shudders as she picks through the mass of live and dead leeches, dropping the dead ones into a coffee can for the compost box. She picks up the dead goldfish and scrapes the leeches off its streamlined body. Then with just a hint of remorse, she casts it away. She then runs fresh water into the now clean styrofoam box, and pours the new goldfish in to await the hungry dinner guests. She smiles sadly as she plops the dreadful leeches in as well.







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