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“Setting lasers to stun!!” Damon texts to Stephanie, which is his extremely sophisticated code to say they’re watching Next Generation high. She wipes away the message and switches context back to her spreadsheet. She realizes she’s typed EIGHT YEARS in the “phone number” field.

Is real life allowed to be this trite? Working late in a cube with a glass ceiling, avoiding coming home to someone who can’t shed his puppy skin. Stephanie’s got a two hundred dollar bag with an empty notebook in it. When was the last time she came up with a metaphor?

Backspace, backspace. Roll your eyes.


The world is running out of names. Damon and Genfi pore through stacks of birth applications and compare them to the old stories; these days, most of the time, it’s deny, deny, deny.

“Phoebo,” mutters Damon. “Can you believe that? And it’s taken.”

“Yeah, well, it’s just a masculinization of–oh no,” says Genfi.

Damon looks up. “What, found something you missed?”

“Worse than that. Damon, I’m so sorry.”

Damon swallows. “Tell me you don’t mean–”

“Prior art,” says Genfi sadly. She holds up a story with his name on it.

“Shit!” says Damon, and disappears in a puff of conservation.


What’s cute about it, Stephanie decides, isn’t that he tried to clean, it’s that he wasn’t very good at it. He did try. There are haphazard vacuum lines, and the area around the toilet isn’t bad. Yet he still cleans like a boy: he’s forgotten the blinds, thick with dust, and the scum on the faucet.

But it’s cute, so she leans in, she snakes her arm under his and she aims her face up, and he kisses clumsy like a boy, and this is cute too.

Damon is psyched. He knew cleaning up the pubes in the bathroom would work.

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