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A memory from long ago: My roommates, Max and Winnie, were goin’ to the coast for the weekend. I would have liked to have gone along, but it was strongly implied that there would be much slap and tickle, and I didn’t wanna be a third wheel, and I did have things to do in town, and so I remained. I was a dedicated Warhammer player at the time, and there were miniatures to paint. I spent a good chunk of the weekend painting goblins. And when Max and Winnie returned from the coast, it occurred to me that perhaps the slap and tickle had been rather abbreviated. Winnie in particular was burnt in that way that indicates that NO one is allowed within three feet of her. I mean, she was SUNBURNT. I was kind of surprised -- she had dark hair and olive skin, whereas Max was more of the glow in the dark German/Irish guy -- but apparently, he’d remained under shade more, because he was a little red, but you could durn near see Winnie in infrared, she was so burnt. Get your hand within six inches, and you could feel the heat! And apparently, sleeping that Sunday night was a bit of an issue. There was literally no way the poor woman could lie down without feeling like she was on a well upholstered griddle. And on Monday morning, she’d had enough. “Doc?” she asked. “Do you know of any over the counter medications that will stop the agony of a serious sunburn? Or do you possibly have any drugs that will flatten me and turn my brain off until I start to peel?” “Regrettably,” I said, “I am drugless. But there IS a thing I know of that will pretty much kill the pain instantly, and can be had at any drugstore, although it’s not without side effects.” “And the side effects are?” “You will peel FASTER. And WORSE. And you will largely lose the tan you were looking for. Slather the stuff on today, and your pain will cease pretty much immediately. Tomorrow night, you will start to blister and peel. By Wednesday night, you will look like some sort of leper with cancer. By Thursday night, you will merely look freakish. And by Friday, you should be more or less presentable, as long as you’re not wearing a backless evening gown with slits upskirt.” “But the pain stops right away?” “Within a minute or two of application.” “Doc, the only parts that don’t hurt right now are my scalp, the inside of my mouth, and the soles of my feet. It literally HURTS to BLINK. Where can I get this stuff, and how soon?.” And we went out and got a large jar of Noxzema, and she and Max went into the bathroom and coated her with the stuff. And while I did not have any role in the slathering, I found her agonized groans of pain... and then pleasure, as the pain faded... more than a little chucklesome. And by the time their skins had absorbed literally most of the jar of the stuff, they emerged, much relaxed and refreshed, and able to wear clothes without constant low grade agony, and I was treated to a lovely dinner by the grateful unsuffering. And all was well. The following evening, Winnie looked like a pox victim. Thing about Noxzema? It cools the skin and kills the pain, but it also causes burnt skin to die quicker, and it blisters. Not PAINFUL blisters, but the skin’s moisture pools up under the dead skin of a bad sunburn, and makes you look like you’ve broken out in little pea-sized blister things. She looked like she had the plague. “I don’t &%@$# care,” she said. “I can sleep at night.” By the next morning, the blisters had broken... and she had begun to peel. And this began to bother her, because her skin was still quite sensitive, and little floppy patches of skin flopping around whenever she moved, under her shirt, was starting to bug her. By Thursday morning, we’d resorted to stripping her down to her skivvies and literally peeling her flesh off in strips. And SHEETS. She was literally peeling in sheets. Max in particular was fascinated by this, and began trying to perforate the dead skin in order to get as large a sheet off at one time as possible. And his fingernails were apparently irritating, and before long, she was screeching and growling and cursing like a sailor to get Max to stop trying to peel hanky-sized chunks off, it felt weird enough as it WAS! And while Max kept trying to beat his personal best, I looked at the sheets of skin I was peeling off. An inch wide, or more, and sometimes two or three inches long. Translucent, sort of, but a sort of taupe color. Tatty. Torn. And I wondered... And I ran and got a wire clothes hanger, hung it on the lamp next to me, and began hanging strips of human flesh from it, as I peeled them off Winnie’s back and shoulders. Yes, I know it’s weird. Even Max noticed. “What are you doing?” “An experiment,” I said. And Winnie slept better than ever that night. And in the morning, I looked at the hanger with the strips of skin on them. They were still a sort of tannish color, and had dried. They looked all the world like tattered little banners. I picked the hanger up and held it sideways. The strips had dried and stiffened, and now they looked like tattered flags, flying in the wind. The experiment had been a success. I took the hanger with the strips of flesh, and ran to my workbench... ...and an hour later, several of the Goblins of the Evil Rune were now carrying staffs with banners, flying in the wind. They looked great. When Winnie saw them, she was a little bumfuzzled. Max, on the other hand, thought they looked awesome. And upon realizing the sheer METALNESS of a goblin army, charging into battle flying flags and banners made from HER FLESH, she actually took a weird sort of pride in it. It's not like SHE was using the skin any more. Me? I just liked they way they looked, and the way they almost flapped in the wind... Couple months later, I was at a store to play a game. A guy was examining my critters. “Okay, what did you make the banners out of?” he asked. “I use tissue paper, but yours don’t have a texture. What, did you coat them with something? What IS that stuff?” And without missing a beat, I answered, “Human flesh.” “No, seriously.” “Sunburnt human flesh, peeled slowly from the spine of a screaming woman,” I said. Completely deadpan. Making eye contact. He hesitated. “Seriously? Sunburn peelings?” I nodded. “And what did the woman think of this?” “At first, she screamed,” I said. “But later, she sorta got into it.” Still completely deadpan. He looked at me funny, and walked off. Later, I stomped his Bretonnian army into the ground. He kept looking at the goblins’ banners....