Gentles

The other morning my better half was sitting at my desk plucking her eyebrows or some such thing and as I passed she said: “You know, you’re not really like other people’s girlfriends.”
After I finished staring blankly, she pointed out the scribble on the otherwise empty page of my notebook:
Actual maggots.
Made perfect sense to me.
I’m rewriting a story about a World War One ambulance driver. There must be maggots. I have hinted at maggots. I have mentioned maggots in passing. But so far there have been no actual maggots. Never let it be said that there was telling about maggots rather than showing of maggots.
In those two words lies an entire rewrite and rethink on a manuscript that’s been haunting me for years now. It’s not actually about maggots at all, but about voice and tense and representation of action.
Granted, a maggot or two may eventually make an appearance, but that’s beside the point.
Anyway, I have just now finished my final assignment in one of my college subjects (oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen) so I can now get to grips with those maggots.
Which reminds me, when you use maggots as bait you call them “gentles”. Wish I understood the etymology of that. I imagine it’s one of those marvellous British inversions, or simply because they are white and soft – like gentlemen rather than poachers?
They’re very good for trout (Izaak Walton recommends them for barbel, but we don’t much see their kind abouts these parts).
So instead of fishing on this fine spring afternoon, I’ve got plenty of gentles to be going on with.

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