A Taste for Lionfish

In twenty-four hours, Holland would be 3,894 miles away, outside Nome on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, setting up camp on a ridgeline near the Red Knot breeding grounds.

“You can’t wait to get there,” I said, trying not to show the hurt I felt. “Even with grizzly bears rooting through your trash—and mosquitoes the size of small planes.”

Holland snorted and took a big gulp of her beer. “I have bear spray,” she said. “And that weird mosquito-net hat. You won’t miss seeing me in that.”

“But I will.

Holland was setting up her Alaskan research station with a woman named Rachel. I could tell by Rachel’s pictures online—mountain biking and bird banding—that she was a threat. She was tall, like Holland. The phrase “a handsome woman” came to mind, but that’s the kind of phrase that gets a person into trouble these days. You can’t say what you really think anymore, even if you’re one of the good guys—and we all think we’re one of those, I guess.

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