A library visitor with unpaid casual employment shelving returns encountered a solar lifeform. Part 1 is here.
We ride the solar winds to
to the frigid outer reaches.
We’ve been coming here since
your fictional history began.
The natives are charmingly photogenic,
but they evaporate too easily.
Your eyes are very special.
I do not have eyes, you dullard,
she declared, and in a customary
Solarian farewell, rose skyward
on glaring plasma jets that incinerated
everything around me.
My self-esteem, my hair
and eyebrows, the library books,
as yet unclassified,
all were burnt to smoke and cinders.
My only consolation was a handbook of
generic tuple analysis, which I snatched
out of the flames.
return to the librarian
… and that’s what happened
to the books. Words cannot
express my generic monoplicity.
Millie stifled a yawn.
Solarian incineration is excluded
from the library’s insurance,
and we haven’t paid a premium since 1953.
As an unincorporated entity,
you’ll have to cover bibliotactical losses.
She entered data in a spreadsheet.
Weekly remuneration—zero minus coffees;
public holidays, inflation, global warming,
the rise of the zombie android ruling class…
She crumpled up the spreadsheet
and tossed it in a bin.
You’ll be working here till
the bloated sun has boiled away
the oceans, and the sea-bleached ruins
of the library are consumed
in its blood-soaked death.
You’ll be a ghost by then.
But I’m totally organic.
A cogent point, I thought.
It seemed to matter in the supermarket.
What about your teeth—the fillings?
My dentist uses wood,
whittles it to shape himself.
We’ll have to find a task
commensurate with your skill set.
Cleaning up the restrooms
will not take all your time.
I looked around, but my n-tuple
of ping pong balls had vanished.
Millie continued, suggestively.
Some books need reading,
others, writing, and a few
What about some reading?
I was wondering … have you
seen my ping pong balls?
She noticed my lack of hair
in various locations.
We have no choice then.
to continue unnecessarily
Ray Bradbury, W B Yeats, The Golden Apples of the Sun.
artwork beta world: concrete solves all problems (part above)