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“Moxie Bitters,” says Moxie Bitters.

“Misery Slant,” says Misery Slant.

They don’t bother shaking hands. They eye each other, Moxie up, Misery down: sometimes a book is written on its covers.

“You’re not worth bribing, are you, Miss Bitters?”

“I prefer Moxie,” says Moxie, “and no, Misery, I’m not.”

“Then we have a problem, Moxie,” says Misery. “And I prefer Miss Slant.”

“The lighthouse stays on,” says Moxie, and shakes her hair back. “That’s what a lighthouse does: welcome by warning, safety in departure.”

“The Platonic lighthouse, perhaps, yes. This particular lighthouse will go out,” says Misery.

“Maybe tomorrow. Not tonight.”

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