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Sarasota

“‘Noble gases,'” says Vernon, “man, you’d never get away with that now.”

“Yeah, too poetic.” Sarasota grins up at a neon LOTTO. “You’d have to call them ‘centigrade-stable gaseous nonreactive elements’ or something…”

“You don’t think that’s poetic?”

“And they’d think up the names for new ones with those big new-drug-name computers.”

“Vartifex,” Vernon announces grandly. “Glookinor!”

“There should be common gases,” she says. “No, that’s boring. There should–there should be whimsical gases.”

“Oxygen,” says Vernon.

“What, because of fire?”

“Because most of what it does, apparently,” he says as he squints at a penny, “is turn things different colors.”

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