sympathy

Nighttime. The moon claws its way over the dome of the stars. Wretched things crawl below, being born, being dead, assembling and dissolving, in moonlight as in sun. Schmutzie and Palinode relax in bed.

Schmutzie: (reading) Heh.

Palinode: Oh no.

Schmutzie: What?

Palinode: Impetigo?

Schmutzie: What?

Palinode: Are you upset over having impetigo?

Schmutzie: I don't.

Palinode: Really? Because you said 'heh' in the exact way that people say it when they realize they've got impetigo.

Schmutzie: No. You wouldn't see me if I had impetigo.

Palinode: You'd be invisible with impetigo?

Schmutzie: No, I'd be disfigured with it. And quarantined. That's why you wouldn't see me.

Palinode: So all people with impetigo are grotesque and hidden?

Schmutzie: Yes.

Palinode: Well good.

Palinode: That's for the best.

Palinode: What is impetigo?