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Tiger Ghost

Bridget is on her way to Mong Kok to buy a goldfish. She’s been told that they bring good luck. They aren’t allowed pets in her building, but she can’t imagine this would apply to a fish. She’s taking the metro to Kowloon, something she hasn’t done alone before. In the subway there is a store selling fine combs, brushes, hair clips made of jade and tortoise shell. A sign in the window reads that the comb can provide a smooth journey in the fortune-seeking course. Also loving care and health. At a nearby temple, people pray to win money at the races. Money is god. 

She moves down Nathan Road. Above a Crocs shop is a duty-free medicinal store, where you can buy dried sea cucumbers to cure the heart. At the goldfish market, customers kneel before plastic bags filled with fish and wonder which fish will bring the most luck. They spend hours examining the bags. Some have only one black or gold fish. Others have several. In one bag there are dozens of tiny pink frogs, perched one on top of the other. Their tiny pink feet press against the bag as they all peer out in the same direction.

At first Bridget thought she’d just go and photograph the fish for her blog; instead she has decided to buy one. She could use a little luck, and the kids might like having a fish to take care of. There’s one that seems to be looking at her with its dark, beady eyes as if it wants something but isn’t sure what. Its mouth is pressed against the plastic bag as if sucking at a mother’s breast. She snaps some pictures of it. The little pink frogs, too. Then she takes the bag off the rack and tells the salesman that she’ll buy this fish. She gives him a few Hong Kong dollars and then, not knowing what else to do, puts the fish inside her purse. 

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