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Nothing goes to waste.

That pet shop—barely a memory fragment from boyhood—filthy cages crammed with improbable combinations of species—the amphibians choking on the toxic cage mates they tried to swallow—the dust-mote cage with the cockatiel missing a wing, the round wound staring at me like an angry, red eye.

And suddenly that memory is useful. I didn’t know it, but I was training then. You spend your whole life training, only you don’t bend the training to fit a fixed job, you bend the job to fit the training.