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Fishing for Stingrays Back Forward

 

I am on a fishing boat with a master stingray fisherman miles off the coast of Mexico Beach, but I have to be at the coffee shop where I work at 10. It is 9:45. I have to go. I’m sorry, but I am going to be fired I tell him. There is time he says, and we start putting jellyfish bait on strings and throwing them into the ocean, but they are just Ziploc bags filled with water. These are just Ziploc bags filled with water, I say. No they’re not, he says. We were silent on the flat water for a few minutes, the sun dangling like a broken arm. Then we pulled out the same long wet string of  Ziploc bags, hand over hand into the boat, our backs arched and aching. One of my best catches of stingrays yet he says. If I put a hole in this boat, he would never, even eventually, know. If my face were made of paper, he would draw on it his face not looking into the distance.