–Shut up. I’ve been thinking about the Lamplighters.
–Lamplighters?
–They made sibeccai.
–Right, right. Lamplighters.
–Uh-huh.
–Why?
–Why was I thinking about them?
–No. No. I know why you were thinking about them. Why did the Lamplighters make sibeccai?
–You think I know?
–Sure you know. Count Sibec, right? Habadad national, inherits, sells, buys an island.
–A man with big plans.
–Wasn’t Sibec a woman?
–No. You’re thinking of Yollinada. Sibec was male.
–Female.
–Male. That’s why not Countess Sibec.
–Maybe. Maybe this is my clever way of ducking the question.
–The question of why?
–It’s not really a question, though, is it? Sibec wanted to create a social utopia where no one had to work.
–I know better than that.
–Fine. Sibec wanted to create a social utopia, which is to say a society without the Dark.
–Right.
–Happy?
–I’m just trying to make conversation.
–No, you’re not. You’re trying to, I don’t know, score points.
–Are we keeping score?
–You sound like you’re trying to sound like a fictional character.
–Maybe I am a fictional character.
–Ever been to Xoxo Saltern?
–No.
–I just read this great novel set in Xoxo just before the Saltern Loss.
–Did it have sibeccai in it?
–It did, actually. It had a sibeccai porter who provided the troubled romantic hero with hearth wisdom.
–You said it was great.
–I was being ironic.
–If you’re being ironic, you shouldn’t have to tell people you’re being ironic. It should be clear. Like when you’re being funny.
–Shut up.
–Like, there’ s no reason ever to say ‘I was being funny,’ because if you were being funny, people would be able to tell.
–Shut up.
–Because it would be funny.
–The book was exactly what I would have expected if I’d expected anything. It had a good witch and a bad witch and they fought over the soul of a young giant and the young giant got hearth wisdom from her sibeccai porter, and then the young giant sacrificed herself and her only chance to draw from the Dark wells of power and become Undying in exchange for the good witch tapping the aforementioned Dark, and.
–What?
–Huh?
–You just stopped.
–I didn’t. And then things go horribly wrong because the good witch is really an evil witch intent on destroying the Dark well things get out of hand and the Xoxo Saltern Loss happens.
–Is that what really happened?
–I have no idea. I was asleep they day they taught us about that.
–Why are you all up on sibeccai all of a sudden?
–I’m not, you are.
–Shut up. You’re all, ooh, sibeccai, I can’t get enough!
–Shut up. Tell me, why sibeccai?
–The lives of sibeccai have meaning.
–No they don’t.
–Can you imagine anything more painful than being sibeccai? Pain is meaning. I wish I were sibeccai.
–You’d make a lousy sibeccai. You sleep like fourteen hours a day.
–That’s because I’m soft. If I were sibeccai I would be hard, and tough, and happy because my life would be a series of challenges.
–Every day you would be beaten.
–Every day I was beaten, that day would be a triumph.
–This may be the worst line of reasoning you’ve ever come up with.
–What about the time I wanted to eat babies?
–That was me.
–Shut up. It was me. I remember.
–No, no, no.

SEE ALSO the Lamplighters, Velvet Men, the Xoxo Saltern Loss


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