paperback rider 2: generic tuples


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)

28 thoughts on “paperback rider 2: generic tuples

  1. I’ve been spending more time in the library since I’ve been going back to school this Winter (your Winter). Today when I’m there I will look at it differently, now that you’ve painted this incredible picture. Wonderful ink, Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nikita. They may not be too practical. I’m interested in wooden lips, tongues, teeth; it started with a song by Marisa Monte with lyrics (translation): “A wooden word falls on the floor” etc.


    • Glad you got a laugh out of it, BG. Personally I have never read a book on that topic; apparently it would cover sets of almost anything. I’m also wondering about the ping-pong balls. Perhaps they are not relevant, but I sometimes wonder, what is? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Your eyes are very special. I do not have eyes, you dullard”…Dullard?! No flowers coming your way girl.
    This was a bit sad to read…but so good. In British Columbia, this summer, 559 fires burning away 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the protagonist deserves it, Sobhana; after all, he’s mouthing clichés without actually paying her any attention.

      Yes, sad, and I imagine you are seeing a connection with the world burning around us. Here in Australia today, politics was a circus and it will continue, but one senator spoke the truth (for me, anyway). He said “The Arctic is on fire and these people are just carving each other up.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Paul. Yes, for the poor, it definitely works that way right now in some countries: they are led into debt and cannot leave the particular workplace: basically slaves.

      I like tuple too although it’s basically unnecessary, and tulpa. I’ve had some interest in tulpas because the concept doesn’t break any laws of physics and may be plausible, ignoring internet exaggeration. I’ve never really managed a tulpa myself, but I wasn’t very persistent.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That solar creature is unnecessarily harsh to the protagonist by calling him a ‘dullard’. Perhaps she embodies the spirit of the times in Fahrenheit 451? Poor ‘dullard’, having to work unpaid AND coffee deductions…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would probably say necessarily harsh. 🙂 Yes to 451F, and today, at least in Australia, if you look at what *isn’t* in the news.

      I have to admit, somewhere in the back of my mind I might be thinking, “If the fictional character is punished, I won’t be.” Either that or it’s an accurate reflection of my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “generic monoplicity”…I like words that fail spell check….another fascinating saga, Steve…particularly the questioning of “organic” status, being rigorous is always a good thing… jIM

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t discriminate with collections of letters, I try to be multiplicitous, but I don’t like continual red underlining, so I switch it off whenever possible. And yes, we must be rigorous about “organic, ” otherwise it might wind up meaning anything at all. Wait on… Thank you, Jim.


  5. I am in the depths of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 and your words here blend in seamlessly Steve. fictional history made me sit up and take notice, I am always exploring other dimensions, the idea that you may have stumbled onto something far bigger and important than just words on paper is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gina. One idea I haven’t explored much, I think in one short story, is that we drift across timelines continuously, but everything changes and we are unaware. (It isn’t a new idea.) Just knowing how the true past was would be interesting. 🙂


  6. Oh dear, I can’t stop laughing. I mean serious under current aside, I really appreciate these belly laughs. Something else I’m sure I’ve said before.
    Love the artwork in this series too!


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