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Drop me into a vacation and I’m bound to jump around a hotel room naked, flinging clothes all over the place. Oh, it’s not quite like that — think less Moulin Rouge and more chimpanzee. I don’t know how I manage to pack every piece of clothing that makes an outfit into different suitcases, but I do. I’m nothing if not consistent. It is also always the case that I’m dripping wet right out of the shower because thoughts on previous travels of my suspiciously white towel gross me out.

It was on one such vacay moment that I was accosted by a full-length mirror. Somewhere between the maze of stretch marks and tan lines I saw them — purplish-red polka dots with hazy auras. In other words, a rash. To say I panicked some would be fair. I jolted Big Byte out of his five-course-meal siesta.

NP: “Big B, wake up…I’m dying!”

BB: “What the?”

NP: *flashes skin painted like kindergarten vegetable printing*

BB: “You ate too much?”

NP: “What the? No! These ghastly hives…Look!”

BB: *groggy and unimpressed*

NP: “A deadly virus taking over my body. Hormonal glitch. No, must be skin cancer. I knew I shouldn’t have skimped on the sunscreen. Fuck.”

BB: “Oh, that eh? Well, no need to come to any rash conclusions, or is it rash conclusion? hehe”

NP: *fires patented lethal glare*

BB: “uh…probably just an allergic reaction to something you ate.”

Allergies. In my thirties? Yeah well, I didn’t expect to have two kids by my thirties either. Bring it on. But, what could I possibly have eaten? A quick rehash of recent meals revealed two common themes — chocolate and wine. Chocolate and wine? I’m allergic to chocolate and wine? Somebody order a cake and hire a band for my funeral because now, without a smidgeon of doubt, I’m dying.

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