The Typewriter Spits Electrons

Rain spits from floating haze streaked across the bleak charcoal sky. The street lamps, tiny bonfires sparked by the townsfolk, burn solemnly beyond the windowpane. They are awkward trees, reaching up from the brick paving, lined in perfect succession. Lightning zaps through the floating fluff, a white crack in the Heavens before the boom. The room is smoky and cold, aching my bones with apathy, and the cogs of the clock upon the wall have ceased to work.

The whiskey drains down my throat, again. There are no words. None. They are muted behind some great wall I cannot access. Many hours have passed and many glasses of sour liquor have gone astray yet no words have fruited from my delicate mind. Nothing. Random thoughts have passed through my mind though nothing which seem worthy to document. The trusty old Olivetti Lettera 32. She will never leave me.

But I hear the tapping of a typewriter. Yes. Over there – there he is – engrossed in some fruitful thought. He is yet to drink the hard liquor I poured for him a couple of hours ago. Instead, he has remained quiet and motionless apart from the consistent taping of fingers upon the busted typewriter. And the platen slams back and the paper rolls up and the ribbon spool rattles and the typebar continues to pick at the ribbon which tattoos the paper.

That clicking, the crisp tap, each tap, another stroke, irritating, edging, creeping into my ears. It grinds, burns, stiffens my fingers into an awkward paralysis; shoulders stiff, blank scoliosis, wedged spine, gnashing teeth and bleeding gums – corroded and raw – and the drumming fingers, tapping, ticking and the ink spitting like boiling tar across the ashen canvas. It whirls, buzzes with verbose stupor, loquacious movements, phalanges dancing, screaming, singing, crying with morbid tenderness and ache. And those hollows eyes, twin moons upon a crisp skull, streaked veins glazed and locked into a fixed state.

My fingers, ever so delicately, begin to stutter, shaking with immediacy and lacking warmth. They dance with rhythm through open space; greatly different from his lolling pose. Over there, hunched over his keys and driven by hidden monomania. And, yes, the fingers merge into a fleeting blur. The joints pulsate from his skin and veins bulge, weaving back and forth behind the layers of skin. If only those fingers could be gnawed to the bone. And the skin shorn and thrown to a diseased dog for its nightly chowder. Perhaps the tapping would cease and brilliance could froth from my mind.

Lightning is brisk across the skyline, refracting across the windowpane; shades of blue flicker and illuminate while the dank crevices of the transparent screen remain in woe. Water droplets fall from ashen clumps in the sky, clouding the golden orb. A grunge odour of dank mold – furry bristles, boastful grime, green and black and thick – seeps from somewhere. The walls are cracked; lines steer through the layers of paint and brittle blocks, reeking and dead. A single light droops and illuminates the room and it flickers cyclically, blinking evermore; basking us in the glory of darkness for a moment before drawing colour from nothingness. The window is a mirror reflecting the outside, the mud lacquered across the stone pathway and fractured gate, and the damp and hollow musing which emerges from black ink.

I ask him, what are you writing?, yet he does not answer; instead, his fingers continue to dance across the keys, and the typewriter chimes with even timing. He does not even look at me, no, no, not once. The dance has not yet finished, the strings his fingers skip across still linger and splash, dipping across the whiskey bottle and the old Olivetii. What is he writing over there? If only I could look inside his cortex and chew upon the meat, then, yes, then clarity would overwhelm me and I could bask in its enlightened glow. I could crack open his brain and see the syrup of words in perfect combination floating around like a perfect stew. He is a waxen necromancer, drawing life from nothing, digging deeper and deeper into his own dogged and fragile dungeon.

Some new wave of thought fruiting his synapses and ethereal pulses, lively and delicate and rational and unique buzzes zapping life to words and visions yet seen. What ideas are pouring from his mind, his delicate dome of a head? Nothing I can be certain, here, just metres from him across the circular table, our typewriters symmetrical, one silent and broken, the other roaring with excitement and verbose energy.

Oh, but I can write as well as he. Words pour from me with ease and on a number of occasions I have recited prose or poetry which has clawed at the necks of the townsfolk and restrained from letting go prematurely. I can, as it were, fracture those who read my delectable prose. Books and references are not necessary for all information is contained within my mind, gained from a hours of reading and stored for a later date when it can be retracted and used to inspire a sentence or a paragraph or perhaps an entire piece of prose or poetry. Whatever whimsical effort I may see fit as worth my effort and intellectual strain. I am beyond the abilities of others. They cannot understand what my mind can conjure. I breathe life to a wax foetus and I beat it into beautiful fruition. Yes, I can control language like no other. It is a gift. Though now my mind is tired – that is the only explanation. Tired and warped and delicate, yes, delicate and fragile. I have slept little over the last couple of days. My eyes remain open, fixed upon fleeting thoughts that seem to exhaust me.

However, I must push my mind. I must place it under immense pressure to draw thoughts which have not crossed through the mind of others before. Ever. It – my mind – must merge into a state of consciousness, into a realm far distant from this one for I have maximised the potential and use of this reality. To see me, here, now, from another vantage point, looking down upon my crumpled body, laughing without response from my dear friend – oh yes, it is pleasant madness. Drinking copious amounts of sweet, sweet liquor to intensify my brain, the snapping of synapses, on and off, back and forth from perceptions which linger momentarily and I – yes, I – must capture them before they become a distant figment of genius lost. Such ventures are most agreeable and though my mind sits in woeful melancholy, distant and warped, I retain a sense of heartfelt ardour for brilliance not out of my reach. My dear friend suffering from intense monomania knows of my eager stupor yet he remains silent and clicks, tapping at each letter for a cure to his ever-present madness.

Few words have flowed from me of late. Merely fragments. Nothing special. Blots but mostly forgettable. But no, how could I say the words scrawled across the page are forgettable meditations? They are foundations, yes, the concrete laid out for exploration; building up to something – something beautiful, a magnum opus; and my name scrawled across the velvet cover, worshipped, loved, endeavoured to mimic, yes, me, I am that soul, waiting to be released from a binding wrath. It will come. One day. My dear friend seems to work day and night and produce large quantities of work, such ease, such relaxed exploration of the human mind he makes. He works with feverish energy, manic, until he crashes and sleeps, refusing to leave his room until his health has risen from its mild beat. He works, seemingly without drink or food. It baffles me to understand how his mind does not grow weary from such strain. Often, he runs out of paper or ink and will hide away in the corner of his cramped room, smoking with trembling hands, silently whimpering incoherent musing until I have returned with supplies and eased his trepidation. He will crawl out on his hands and knees and climb back upon the chair and continue to tap away – without a word of gratitude. I’ll pour him a glass of whiskey though he will not drink it, instead leaving it to go rotten like a lifeless fruit, rank and shrunken. Often I will drink his wasted alcohol and become blurred by its potent control, and attempt to peer over his should at his current work though my attempt often falls short as he attempts to hide the works imprinted upon the page. Of course, I am not jealous of his brilliance. Brilliance, yes, I can call it nothing else. He is an inspiration to my being though I know – for it is obvious – that I match and exceed him in quaint luminosity.

The blank page is still there, propped up and awaiting my fingers to spit rhythm. It screams for me to tap away at the keys of Old Faithful, but the words, yes the words, they are not here. They are locked away. Some days they come to me with such ease; I pluck them like posies from a fruitions garden though today they are shrivelled. And the tapping, not my tapping, but his tapping, continues to drum away and each time I ask “What are you writing over there?” he does not say a word, nor does he acknowledge my presence. He just drums his fingers with quick precision and consistency.

Sweet liquor drains from the glass and soon refills. Sweat rinses across my forehead and the oil from my hair is a glazed coat across the skin. A blue haze flickers from outside, shattering through the pane. Water washes away the sins of the transparent screen. Disjointed droplets splatter with eager yearning and wash down, a vertical drop before more crystal liquid harmonises with the window.

The bulb goes out and we are sitting in darkness aside from the glow outside. The keys upon the typewriter – his typewriter – continue to tap and the platen chimes and the tapping of the keys continues. A black sheet shades the room, lacking remorse. Lightning again, the sapphire hue bright against the dark shadows and, just for a moment, a glimpse, passion in the eyes, and the cracks splintering the spongy vessels that float across the Earth. And the tapping is no longer the repetitive scratch but a drilling, and coils and sparks flare up and dance in the darkness, leaping from the mirrored typewriter, spitting electrics, golden strings jump, dancing in twirled accessions. His fingers, extending from the silhouette over there, are blazing. Small flames spark from the skin, now charred, and the sparks continue to spit and spit, boiling liquid splashing from supermassive black holes, a thick wasteland void of feeling and drowned in lust. And the chime again, yes, that chime every few seconds is a crashing cymbal, and the keys, retaining rhythm, clicking, clicking, and the drumming of fingers and raw flames and Heaven spitting electrics – cut wires raw and exposed, and drowned in water – and a hollow screech – burnt throat – from a static spitting microphone, devilish and eternal.

And I am standing over him and I raise the typewriter over my head, feeling the weight of the blunt object craned high and I bring it down upon his skull. My dear friend is on the ground, drowning in blood, mute still, his eyes turned towards me. He stares, looking deep into my eyes as if he sees some deeper truth. The typewriter again cracks beautifully upon his skull and the bone collapses inward. And I am laughing as he lies breathless, a strange devil, and his silence is a work of musical composition, a tightly framed orchestra, leaping and dancing and the typewriter – the trusty old Olivetti Lettera 32 – waves back and forth triumphantly. The keys hang loose and the paper wedged in the roller is torn. My voice cackles, burnt laughter dripping, and my body lifting off the ground, a whimsical skip, as the light flickers – a brilliant strobe. And the lightning pulses the sapphire, carving my silhouette into fragments of splendour. This is my magnum opus.

Slab City

Long strands of hair etch creases across the morning. A subtle scent of burning tires, an orb of broken memories and tired dreams. A collection of bottlecaps nest neatly next to a display of discarded televisions. They are evenly stacked. A wall made of wires and moulded plastic and thin glass. Each screen has been painted with some esoteric musing. Drown yourself here. Your God, my Death. Release yourself. I can feel that vague sense of emptiness ripple again.

A woman walks out of a tent made of stripped canvas. Her face is covered in dust and sand, and the desert wind washes across her skin. A bale of papers scrunched in her hands. There is blood on her hands and they have seeped upon the paper. Read my dreams. Read my dreams, girl. I reach out to her and take the papers from her hand. The pages are sticky, like some invisible sap has coated the parchment. Read. I unravel the pages and look at the handwriting. It is almost illegible, and only short fragments are coherent. The woman stares at me. They’re fading away. Her eyes are cold and withered and grey.

 

When I was a little girl, I would spend my days with father picking strawberries on our family farm. It was a quiet time. I loved my father very much. He had this strength, like nothing could touch him. And he would always pick me up and put me on his shoulder and he would help me pick the best strawberries and we’d sit under trees and eat those strawberries, hiding from the sun and talk and laugh and it was good. It felt good. Strolling through those strawberry fields was pleasant.

 

I hand the pages back to the woman. She appears upset. They are fading away. She turns around and returns to her tent. The canvas whips in the wind as she pulls back the skin and disappears.

Small round stones rustle beneath my feet. They splinter into my skin and edge around the muscle and bone. With each step forward, another sharp pain wriggles through my body. Behind the wall of televisions is a pillar of cement, with an array of tubular tumblers, beakers and bottles half-sunken. Dazed. It is a vortex colour, surreal pigments and harlequin dreams. Glass tainted, jade misshaped and misplaced, before stacked and coddled. Discarded dreams, drunk down the hope. A mote of reason, mime of music. Fused. Asked for season of summer to last. Distortion eclipsing the soft evening. Shards of grey matter splitting amongst the noise of cylindrical blackholes. Curiously capturing the quaint and mellow sea adrift, minds amidst the makeshift strings and tunes.

It is a distortion.

The Perfect Crime?

Mr Wallace was a very grumpy teacher. He had been a teacher for 14 years and loathed every minute he was in the classroom.

Mr Wallace wasn’t the type of teacher to stand at the door and say, “Good morning, children!”; or even express a smile. He would sit at his desk, assign some worksheets and yell “shut up YOU!” at the slightest movement in the classroom.

The kids were absolutely terrified of him. For the most part they sat in silence, scratching our equations or frantic narratives with obvious plot holes. They barely asked a question or clarification out of fear of public ridicule and humiliation. On one occasion, while solving long division questions, a young boy named Oliver dared to ask the teacher a question. He did in earnest, though with some curiosity. As he approached the front desk, the words “Sir, how do I…” crept from his mouth. Without hesitation, Mr Wallace stood up from his desk and squealed “Sit down, you buffoon!” With tears crawling down his face, Oliver scurried back to his desk.

Mr Wallace wasted away his day yelling at kids that he had very little care for. When 3pm struck on the clock, he walked out of the class without saying a word and drove home to his empty house.

Why did he put himself through this pain? This writer finds it difficult to say. Mr Wallace never had any kids. He was never married. In fact, he had never had a girlfriend. He lived with a small dog, that he mildly despised. All in all, Mr Wallace was quite a disgruntled man.

One day, a small group of Mr Wallace’s students decided to play a prank on their grumpy teacher.

“He is such a nasty man,” said Cayla. “I think it’s time we taught him a lesson.”

“I hate it when he teaches math,” said Jessica. “He barely explains the equations! He just yells at us and says, ‘figure it out for yourselves, you filthy heathens!’”

Mr Wallace always had a way of coming up with interesting and grotesque little insults. Sometimes, it was a combination of wordplay: he would take your name and make a rhyme it with another word. For example, if your name was ‘Luke’, he would say ‘Lukey Pukey’ – much to the humiliation of his victim. Other times, he would identify some minor imperfections about your appearance. “Ergh! What is that horrendous stench coming from? Children, you must bathe more thoroughly in the evenings. My nostrils cannot stand such pungent odours.” All in all, the children felt horrible whenever Mr Wallace spoke.

“I have an idea”, said Isaac. “But no one can know.”

One Wednesday afternoon, the children sat at their desks bemused by a cavalcade of worksheets that Mr Wallace had handed out. One boy named Jack stared vacantly at a math problem. The numbers appeared jumbled and made zero sense to the boy. This was a common feeling among students; however, he feigned engagement and pretended to scribble his answers upon the page. However, Mr Wallace, as always, noticed as he notices everything.

“My boy, are you naturally slow or are you attempting to irritate me?” Mr Wallace asked with disdain.

“No sir, the questions are tricky,” confessed Jack.

“Tricky? Tricky? My friend, we have covered improper fractions over the last couple of weeks,” Mr Wallace asserted. “There is nothing tricky about these questions.”

“Yes, sir.” Whimpered Jack. “Sorry, sir. I will figure it out.”

“See that you do.”

As Mr Wallace wandered the room inspecting the children’s work, Isaac, Jessica and Cayla took this opportunity to set up their plan. It was simple. So simple, they could hardly believe they had thought of the idea. It was perfect.

There was only one thing that Mr Wallace appeared to like within the classroom. His coffee and his glorious coffee mug. The mug said “I hope you step on a Lego piece” – except, the word ‘piece’ was replaced by a red block of Lego. This was printed on both sides of the mug. Mr Wallace seemed to be ambidextrous, so regardless of the hand he used to drink the writing would always appear. The children thought the mug was rather clever, though only added further mystery to their teacher. All they knew was that he loved coffee and that mug.

While Mr Wallace was at the front of the room dealing with poor Jack, Cayla passed a note to Isaac, who was sitting three rows to her right. Are you ready? Isaac did not say a word. He just nodded.

Cayla stood up from her desk and walked up to Mr Wallace.

“Sir, I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Bathroom? Bathroom? Little girl, you have just had lunch.” Mr Wallace appeared incredibly confused. “Why would you need to go to the bathroom?”

“I would rather not say, but I must go.”

“Fine, leave us.”

Something peculiar was happening as Cayla spoke to Mr Wallace. Isaac had stood up, quickly nudged Jessica on his way, and tiptoed across to their teacher’s desk. The night before, the trio had collected a sample of small sachets of chilli sauce. One at a time, Isaac and Jessica retrieved the sachets from their pockets and poured them into Mr Wallace’s mug, careful not to leave any evidence behind. The sachets were squished into their pockets to be disposed of later. The perfect crime. Once finished, they slowly slipped back to their desk without a hint of being noticed by Mr Wallace, returning to work as if nothing happened.

Now, dear reader, you might be asking: why did no one else in the classroom notice this or even say anything towards this untoward behaviour? Why would they? This was an opportunity for the entire class to enjoy.

A short time after, Cayla returned from the bathroom and received a silent scowl from Mr Wallace. She slouched into her desk awaiting a response from her colleagues in crime. Jessica and Isaac looked at Cayla with a nod of approval. The deed was done. Now, they wait.

For what seemed like a long time, it appeared that Mr Wallace had forgotten his precious coffee. However, as the children stacked their chairs and cleaned the room and emptied the bins, their disgruntled teacher returned to the mug. He held it to his lips for moment, before saying “Okay, little people. It is three o’clock. You may leave.”

The children did not move. Normally, they ran out the door, desperate to evade their teacher’s horrid presence. Instead, they stood at the door staring at Mr Wallace as if he had said nothing at all. Mr Wallace appeared confused. It was like time had stopped altogether. He waited for a moment before bellowing “GO!” The children rushed out the door, both frightened and excited about what might happen next.

The last to leave was Cayla, who watched as Mr Wallace took a sip from his mug…

The History of the Snickers Bar

The Snickers bar was invented in the early 1970s by a woman name Samantha Stickers. One day, while her husband, Gary, was working at the local box-making factory, Samantha decided to make some sweets for dessert. She arranged some ingredients, including a block of chocolate and caramel toffees. She melted everything and mixed it all up. However, something awful went wrong! The Stickers’ household had a cockroach problem. While Samantha was busy washing some dishes, a family of cockroaches crawled up the side of the bowl and into the mix of her new chocolate creation. Samantha soon realised what had happened!

“Darn you cockroaches!”, she yelled at the top of her lungs.

Although she was disappointed that her chocolates were destroyed, she was hesitant to throw away the mix. In those days, ingredients were quite expensive. “Surely cockroaches are not that bad to each. I see on the telly that people eat bugs all the time! Maybe if I mash up the cockroaches, Gary will never know.” And that’s what she did! Samantha began to smash up the cockroaches in her new chocolate mix. Did you know that cockroaches make a horrendous sound when diced up with a wooden spoon?

To cover the cockroaches mixed into the chocolate bars, Samantha poured even more melted chocolate over her creation. This would surely hide the bugs inside, she thought. She placed the tray in the fridge to seal the chocolate.

Later, Gary arrived home quite famished. He ate the dinner that Samantha had prepared: a warm and hearty stew and a drink a cup of orange juice. Samantha said, “I have prepared you something special. Something that I am sure you will quite like.” She brought out the tray of chocolates. Gary was amazed. He had never seen such a creation in his entire life. You know, working in a box factory is not very exciting. He took one of the chocolate bars and munched into it and began to chew. Unbeknownst to him he was slowly digesting small pieces of cockroach arms and legs.

“These chocolates are my ticket out of that darn box factory! I’ll be rich! Rich I tells ya!”

Samantha was not happy about this. Not happy at all. She had created these chocolate bars. During the night, Gary thought about how he would get rich. He would quit his job making box after box, sell these chocolates and live in a mansion.

However, while Gary was sleeping Samantha was hard at work. She made a second batch of chocolates, but something was missing. The chocolates were lovely, but they were somehow different.

The cockroaches. It was the cockroaches.

The next day, Samantha made yet another batch. However before doing so, she scrounged on her hands and knees for as many cockroaches she as she could. After she had filled a small container, she threw them into her new batch and waited for the chocolate to seal.

Samantha tried her new chocolates and were thrilled to discover that they tasted as good as they had the previous day. It was at this moment that she knew what she had to do.

She packed her bags. Everything that was of value to her. Even the porcelain doll she received on her 5th birthday. She packed her bags and left forever. She would sell her chocolates and make her millions.

But above everything, there was something she needed. Something essential to her creation. Cockroaches. After placing her bags at the door, she grabbed a bucket and began to dig around the kitchen and the hidden cracks of each room. She opened up the plastering of the wall and scooped up hundreds of cockroaches into her bucket. She would have them all.

Once she had ridden the house of every last cockroach, she sealed the bucket and left. She never saw her husband again.

Snickers are now a very popular chocolate bar. Each year, they farm billions of cockroaches for their chocolates. But that’s a secret, so please dear reader do not tell anyone.

Reborn

Evening


She cried in the evenings, like paint dripping from the walls. She thought of those moments, glowing fragments of a former life, when happiness seeped into her skin. It was something distant, somethings vague, something lost. She dreamt of those lost frames, burning celluloid coiled into ashes.

It was winter in her soul – another evening.

She raised the glass of water to her lips and the liquid trickled faintly down her throat. The ice rattled for a moment as she placed the glass on the table. She reclined into her chair and allowed the memories to flow back into her mind.

It was in these moments that she saw the birth of everything. All her faults and all her wisdom. The shades flickered in her mind, like ice crystals capturing the light in the evening sun. Everlasting, yet cold. It was in these moments that she saw herself.

She wept in grief until there was nothing left. Her heart felt blank. Empty. These moments lasted forever. Some moments fade away, dissipate like dust crawling under damp furniture. But these moments crawled over mountains, swept through time. She begged for these moments yet, when they arrived, they held the weight of all her pain. Every moment of sickness, every thought of melancholy tore through her. She wept in the dusk because she knew nothing else.

She recalled the childhood with her sister, one of happiness. They were young – very young. Mere children, free of responsibility and the coldness of the world. They had never felt this coldness before. Everything was bright in those days. The sun’s warmth felt real, like you could reach out and lightly touch its glow. Expressions were real and people were real and everything was real and nothing was fake and it all seemed like it had never occurred – but a dream, merely a dream.

She begged for those days to return, but it seemed so long ago. Almost. Almost like they had never occurred.

And then she was back in front of the fire. The melancholy stirred, burned into her skin. The fire spat pulsing embers.

She wondered what this meant. Perhaps it was the world telling her something. Something vague, but something important. A message from some faraway land. Something she could never understand.

And then nausea sunk into her skin. The sickness of sleep. And the scarlet flickers of the fire dampened and she fell deep deep down into her own wonderland.

 

Morning


Dusk crawled into dawn. Sleep dances in the darkness, like every night. In these states of slumber, clarity forms into a pasty orb. All those feelings of melancholy and all those feels of emptiness and all those feelings lost innocence evaporated, curled into nothingness. When dawn arrives, everything is born again.

Crawling out of bed, the edges of light seep through the shades. It’s blinding, but warm upon the skin. And then the world returns, all the memory and moments of a life.

Coffee soothes the morning sun. Adrenaline eases into my blood vessel. The day dawned upon me. Endless routine. The same motions over and over and over again. That was everything. That is all.

Some days, I feel born again. Revamped from another life. Resurrected from a former experience.

And then mother returns through the doorway and she is talking about something. Something important, but it is lost. Everything is mute. Her words dissipate in my brain. I try to focus, on the movement of her lips, the creases in her throat as they move and mould words. But their is nothing. She is looking at me with those lost eyes. Like she knows everything. Like she knows the truth.

But I can’t talk to her. I can’t tell her the truth. I can’t tell her how things really are. How I stay awake until early dawn, musing on the sickness and bleak thoughts. How I wander aimlessly through the streets, waiting for some meaning to form. Or how I wonder I am just waiting just waiting just waiting and nothing. She appears to know everything, yet she knows nothing.

In the end, it doesn’t matter.

Dusk


Layers of scarlet scream across the sky as I lie nestled into jaded grass. Everything seemed vacant and my mind was wandering and all that chaos that lurks in the mind, sheltered from reality, returned to light. Just an aura of harlequin light blistering upon a bed of darkness.

The morning wind was cold and it crept into my brain and my brain froze into my skull and I wondered whether winter would ever fade away.

Time is a strange creature. She kisses you with warmth, with creased lips that are pure. She provides you with some essence that takes upon the soul. Something to cherish. Time is a mask. Its warmth is merely a farce, a long-ridden joke. Beneath the thin layer of beauty is a hateful figure. She wants you to cry, to tear away the pages of time, to waste away those precious moments. She wants your skin to decay, your hair to dissipate into nothingness. Lost in the soul of time past and time thereafter.

Time is a strange creature and she laughs, always.