“You’re still on your first one?”

I didn’t look up at Lou when he asked me; I concentrated on picking my dismembered blue crab’s meat with the tip of its claw. “I’m taking my time.”

Lou and I had escaped a work conference in D.C. with our three other coworkers. Mike, a laid-back thirtysomething who used to live in D.C., had recommended the live crab market on the riverbank.

Now we were standing on the back half of an old barge—the half that had lighting, if a string of Christmas lights with disco ball sconces might be called lighting. Mike had demonstrated the shucking and eating of a crab for us, but most people had made it by now to their second or even their third crab. Lou, the leader of the crab-eating pack besides Mike, had just picked up his fourth, and he seemed concerned about my paltry contribution to the diminishment of the crab pile.

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