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Rose

“Apples.”

“Water.”

“Good.”

“Girls.”

“Um. Clean?”

“Pretty.”

“Good.”

“Roses.”

“Kittens.”

“MSG.”

“What?” asks Rose, startled.

“Girls smell like MSG,” Diego repeats. “That’s the question, right? What’s the most popular response so far?”

“Just ‘good,'” says Rose. “Nine of twenty-eight couldn’t come up with anything else.”

“Right,” says Diego, “like if you asked them how Chinese food tastes. Only they’d say ‘MSG’ instead of ‘good’ because they’ve been told that’s what it is.”

“Girls smell like Chinese food.”

“No,” he shakes his head, “but it does the same thing. Bypasses your discernment, your categories, all of that. Just hits the pleasure center straight on.”

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