“Stop it, you’re killing me!” I laughed and continued to tickle her tender tendrils. She caught my wrist and slowly eased it away, trembling with mirth. Turned out her race has a genetic mechanism built in that synthesizes a deadly, fast-acting poison from the oxytocin released by laughter. She went on to say she wasn’t sure whether the process was natural or it was introduced into their DNA during the species’s dystopian epoch; in the end, they never bothered to remove it from their genetic code. She and I had a falling out not long after that and I never saw her again. I heard on the grapevine that she died out on some hole in Centauri. With her condition, I guess it’s not a bright idea to work at a comedy club.
My sister is the only hearing person in my family. She had a choir concert tonight. She lost her voice. Before the concert started she stood and wept on my mother’s shoulder while I tickled my son into laughter. She didn’t let that stop her. She did her solo completely in sign language. I was fucking impressed.