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The sun turns a blind eye to this sort of thing, although she shouldn’t, after what happened to Ceres.

At least Saturn got Jupiter to give him a ring, although after all this time they still haven’t set a date. Whatever Pluto and Charon are doing together, it got them disowned, and now Venus is spurning the advances of her opposite number. He’s calling her bluff–looking elsewhere.

Mars makes it clear, by the waggle in his orbital axis, just what he would like to do if they ever happened to fall into each other’s gravity wells.

Earth blushes. Millions die.


Twenty-six years later it occurs to Marty that she probably cheated on him that week, in college. It bothers him. He buys a plane ticket to Italy.

The village streets are still dangerous and the woods are still beautiful. He hikes deeper, into the green shadow, to the cold mouth of the cave; he pays Charon, crosses, and walks up to a particular tree on the other side.

“Remember when you went to see that band? The Somethings?” he asks. “Did you sleep with the guy in it?”

“Probably,” she says grayly.

“Okay,” he says, “I just wanted to know.”