The title is from the lyrics of this song, “He Can’t Even Bait a Hook.”
“What’s this?” Ahava stared at the contraption Constance was holding out.
“It’s a fishing pole. That’s a body of water with fish in it. Apply one to the other.”
“We’re teaching you to fish. This is part of my gift to you.”
“You stupid girl, that’s a figure of speech.”
She didn’t even wince. “And why shouldn’t it be a reality, too? You’ve never been good with either plant or animal Workings, Ahava. Without people to keep you fed, how will you eat?”
“I…” He stared at his former slave. He’d freed her as he graduated, and, in his mind, she’d always remained the same scared, easily-cowed crying girl he’d left behind. Looking at her now, he realized she’d grown up. Looking a the fishing pole she was holding out for him, he realized, a little shamefacedly, that he hadn’t.
“How do I even use this thing?” he asked angrily. Anger had always made her give in before.
“You put the worm on the hook, like so;” she picked up a second pole and demonstrated the disgusting-looking maneuver, “then you find a place where it looks like there are fish, and – back up, I haven’t done this in a few years -“
Prudently, Ahava backed up. Maybe if she couldn’t do it anymore, he wouldn’t have to, either?
“-and like this, you flick it out and let out some slack as you go, using this lever. See?”
“Wouldn’t it be easier,” he grumbled, as he reached for one of the nasty worms, “to teach me how to hunt? More practical, too.”
She leveled a cold gaze on him. “I don’t trust you with a weapon, Ahava. I promised to give you what you deserved and needed. I didn’t promise to make it easy.”
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