"what if the scallops bite me?" alicia asked, rather more loudly and fearfully than she really wanted to sound. "it won't hurt much," her brother, ron, teased. "but if it does, i am fully prepared to amputate." "you are not helping," alicia shrieked. ron was driving the boat, and he clearly knew what he was doing. he had been running boats, working crab traps since alicia was old enough to notice such things. still, she wasn't sure she trusted him to tell her the truth about things. she was younger, and he liked to tease. she often found herself soaking wet from a dunk, or the loser in a game he'd "forgotten" to explain the rules for. she loved him nonetheless. he brought her treasures from his traps. he told her stories of strange creatures he'd seen in the salt marshes. "seriously," ron continued, slowing the boat down, "they can't really hurt you. it's just a bivalve." "bivalve means 'two valves,'" alicia said, "but that doesn't tell me anything about how hard they bite." spray from the waves speckled alicia's back and shoulder. she had turned to talk to ron, but she also was enjoying a break from getting the spray in her face. it was a warm sunny day, but alicia knew if the wind picked up she could get chilled. "look, it's not going to hurt if you get bitten," ron said, taking her seriously now. "if you just pick them up from the back you won't have any trouble. shoot, you pick up crabs all the time and they have a much more painful pinch than a scallop." "well, there's a bigger place to put my hand on a crab. scallops are petite." "and squirty," ron added. "you know they move by pushing water through their shell? but seriously, sis, they move slowly. they will be snuggled down in the sea grass when you see them and won't go far if they do move. you'll be fine. now climb up on the bow, look out in the shallows, and see if you can see any." ron had slowed the boat to an almost idle speed. up ahead alicia could see many boats anchored on the shallow flats. people walking around the boats would bend every now and then to pick something up from the water. it looked like a small city on the water, with people milling about waiting for a movie to start or a party to begin. alicia climbed up to the front of the boat and looked out over the sea grass flats. the water was just a few feet deep, and she could see the dark green blades of sea grass swaying as the waves gently washed across the shallows. the boat moved slowly, and alicia saw shells scattered here and there and sea urchins with their spiny red orbs. small translucent fish darted away. she had only seen pictures of scallops, but when she saw the first brown shell tucked into a clump of sea grass she knew immediately what it was. "i see one," she yelled, pointing. "that's great," ron yelled back. "wait till you see a lot more than just one. it's not worth stopping for one." alicia continued looking, scanning first one side of the boat then the other. she saw a stingray dash away, patches of gleaming white sand here and there, and another few sea urchins. then suddenly, as if they had passed into a new world, scallops were everywhere. every few feet on both sides of the boat she saw them. waving her hand at ron, she turned and got ready to drop the anchor. "here," she said. "right here is perfect." ron cut the motor and alicia dropped the anchor off the bow. she turned. ron had already put on his tennis shoes and was putting sunblock on his face. he threw the sunblock in her direction, and threw a leg over the side of the boat. "get your shoes on. there's a mesh bag on the seat for you. use that to collect your scallops. we'll put them in the cooler when the bags get full." alicia slipped out of the boat a few minutes after ron. the ground under her feet was squishy but solid; the sea grass brushed her legs. spotting a nearby scallop, she walked slowly over, reached down—water up to her elbow—and touched its shell. sure it would squirt away, she was surprised when nothing happened at all. reaching behind and underneath it, she lifted the scallop out of the water and up to her face to look more closely. the top shell was dark green, almost brown, with tiny barnacles here and there. the bottom shell was white and smooth. "told ya," ron yelled at her from the other side of the boat. "it's super easy." just then the scallop she was holding opened its shell slightly. alicia saw a row of iridescent blue dots among what looked like frilly whiskers. was it looking at her? suddenly she felt the scallop contract in her hand. its shell clamped shut, and water why does ron say he may need to "amputate" something if alicia gets bitten?
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Category: computerinformation | Author: Sarah Aksinia
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