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Story

"Live Bait" is the third short story from the book More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.

Plot

Timmy’s family is vacationing at Lake Bigelow, where his parents catch and cook fish every day. Unfortunately, Timmy hates fish, which he is teased about by a kid named Duke. Duke dares Timmy to go fishing with him, and — as the boys walk to the docks — Duke taunts Timmy by taking a dead trout, plucking one of its eyeballs out, and popping it into his own mouth.

At the docks, Duke asks for a boat to rent, but none are available. However, Duke spies a small pier down at the end of the dock and a shack advertising live bait, which the boys walk over to. Inside, they are greeted by a friendly old man, who offers them equipment. Unfortunately, the boys don’t have enough money to rent the equipment, but the old man promises that — if they give him the largest fish they catch — they can use the equipment for free.

The boys board an old boat and begin fishing. Suddenly, a giant fish rises from the lake. The boat tips into the monster fish’s mouth, and the boys sink into the stomach of the fish. Inside the stomach, hundreds of smaller fish swirl and churn. The combined movement tips the boat out of the giant fish's mouth and back onto the pier. The old man greets them and claims that he has been trying to catch the gigantic fish for years, and the boys were just the bait he needed. He reveals a large glass jar marked, "LIVE BAIT." He throws a net over the boys and drops them into the jar.

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