"So you see, Miss Kuroi," said Konata, voice punctuated here and there with hacking coughs, "I can't possibly come into school. I'm too sick."
"Too sick?" her teacher repeated, phone pressed against her ear. "What a shame."
"I know. I feel awful. K-kinda like C-c-cloud from Final F-Fantasy, y-you know, w-w-with the Geostigma t-thing."
Miss Kuroi raised an eyebrow. "You think you have Geostigma, Izumi?"
"P-p-probably j-just f-flu," Konata stuttered. Her words were weak and raspy, as though she had a sore throat. "I feel r-really cold, a-and my head hurts, a-and I ache all over…" She began to sniffle miserably. "M-maybe I've g-got swine flu…"
"Y-yeah. S-so I really can't go to s-school o-o-or I could infect everyone e-else."
"Hmn," said her teacher. The simple, speculative sound was laced with disbelief. "Let's get this straight. You've got swine flu. Suddenly developed the symptoms. Out of the blue."
"Despite the fact you were playing an online RPG game until four a.m. last night – and you seemed perfectly okay back then." Miss Kuroi pursed her lips, determined to call Konata's bluff. "We slayed an ork together, remember?"
"I'm also suffering from a loss of appetite, a runny nose, a sudden fever and an upset stomach," Konata protested stubbornly. It sounded as though she were reading off a list.
"What happened to your stutter, Izumi?"
There was a small pause.
"O-o-oh y-yeah, haha! I-I d-d-d-don't k-know! M-miracle f-f-five s-s-s-second r-r-recovery?"
"Huh," snorted her teacher. "It's unlucky that you've got swine flu, Konata. Especially after you've only just recovered from measles, mumps, yellow fever, syphilis, rabies, rubella, Lassa fever, foot and mouth disease, hypothermia, shingles, malaria, herpes, genital warts, West Nile disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, progressive multifocal leukencephalopathy, cot death, leukemia, shellshock, Chlamydia, AIDS, dry rot and the Plague." Miss Kuroi paused for breath, then continued. "How is it that you manage to contract all these strange diseases, Izumi-san?"
Konata laughed sheepishly.
"Um… Gotta catch 'em all?"
"Get to school, Izumi. You have three minutes."