April 24, 2014 Comments Off on Racquet By Tamara Walker
At least once a week, in a recently refurbished bookstore, two women briskly approach the magazine section from opposite sides. Each carries a racquet. One woman is diminutive and attired smartly, in khaki slacks and a white blouse, long light sepia hair and rimmed spectacles. Her racquet is for hitting the papier-mâché porcupines that emerge periodically from the burnished clay pipes surrounding her home. She’s obligated to pound the creatures whenever they’re about to shoot quills. This pounding reveals the multicolored shells inside, which her friends weave into tunics in emotionally humid gatherings every other Friday.
The other woman is urban-sporty and looks like her racquet is actually for playing tennis: tall, with short-short black hair, a glare that somehow manages to look nurturing, disaffected, and fiercely competitive, and a tennis outfit (!) comprised of neon shorts, new shoes, and an airy mesh top.
They’re both there for a transparently shrink-wrapped manga magazine that reads, in terse characters across the top: Shojo-Ai. Girls’ Love. This time there’s plenty of copies, a fresh stack recently installed on the shelf. The women on the cover, clad in school outfits with their fox-like ears and cat-like tails, are embracing each other. These girls are glossy. As glossy as the polished porcupine pipes, thinks the sepia woman as she trembles slightly and lifts a copy into her modestly manicured fingers. The tennis woman, who’s glowing florescent green and appears to have just finished a grueling match, seems relieved.
“Which series are you following?” the tennis woman asks kindly.
The sepia woman shifts her weight from her left to right foot and twists the racquet around in her hands. She doesn’t reply, pretending she didn’t hear instead, shoving the magazine into her book bag and hastily walking away.
The next time, after the gawky button-down male otaku types have come and gone, there’s only a single copy left. Both women speed towards the rack as this possibility becomes distinct in their fields of vision. The tennis woman arrives first. Her arm mechanically projects outward and sticks the head of her racquet on the shelf to block and claim it. The sepia woman catches up. The sound of a string breaking on her clutched racquet pings through the silence. She thinks about porcupines. How when the papier-mâché is struck, the strings often break. Her racquet is strung with considerably more tension than the tennis woman’s, who prefers a loose stringing pattern for greater distance, power, and spin.
The tennis woman glances with flickering concern at the sepia woman and relents, giving her a pitying stare. “I guess you probably need this more than I do.” The sepia woman begrudgingly stares at the ground and accepts.
The next time they meet, the sepia woman is wearing a tunic with colorful shells woven in. She meets the tennis woman’s curious stare as they reach the magazines. “You shouldn’t judge people,” she says.
The tennis woman smirks with the impending thrill of a challenge. The ball is in her court now.
© 2013 Tamara K. Walker
Tamara K. Walker loves writing on manual typewriters even though they were thoroughly obsolete before she was born. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Apocrypha and Abstractions, LYNX: A Journal of Linking Poets, Gay Flash Fiction, nin: a journal of erotic poetics, and Scifaikuest.
December 26, 2013 Comments Off on Ribbon By Tamara K. Walker
In her hand, she held an infinite red ribbon. Time was stillish for someone grasping abstract manifestations of dimensionality, and only moved when she thought of it, like distant clouds only seem to shift when on the tip of your mind. In between the thinking-times and the time-thinkings, she often amused herself by threading it through her fingers, humored that she could perceive the end, width-wise. Aleph arrived one day in a counter-intuitive go-kart while she was proceeding down a textured racetrack of indeterminate length just as it became endless. Keeping it linear required considerable focus. He flirtatiously castigated her: “It simply won’t do for the keeper of Fields to be dallying about with infinity.” A bubble of haughty hilarity threatened to burst in her face. “You’re handling it with ease, thus you must be considerably larger than it,” he went on. “Plus, it would look SO much better tied cutely in back of your hair, in a neat little bow. . .” His voice betrayed ulterior excitement. Teasingly, she blew him an autonomous kiss.
“Oh, I’ll define Axioms when I feel like it,” she breathed breezily. As he rambled predictably about responsibility for the future fate of knowledge and why not just tie it up like the others do in a petite floppy bow, she idly tied one on the tip of her finger.
“What what are you doing?” he said, taking notice of her wistful inattention. Smirking, she pinned it on him, silencing him immediately.
“First prize,” she said.
© 2013 Tamara K. Walker
Tamara K.Walker is forever captivated with why we think about things in the ways we think about them, and likes to explore the implications of thinking about them differently. Her writing has previously appeared in Apocrypha and Abstractions and LYNX: A Journal of Linking Poets.
December 16, 2013 Comments Off on The Meta by Tamara K. Walker
“Your stories are just like your life,” she said. “You never really finish, just drop the climax like a bowl of hot wax and expect us to extrapolate the ever after from the splash of colored crumbs on the floor.” It was true. They had a peculiar parallel tendency to spin an engaging yarn and announce the end before anyone suspected, to set the scene of an intriguing social dynamo and exit stage just as the consequences of the encounter unraveled from their shadowy spool. Today, she was having none of it. She seized them by their arm and demanded elaboration. They winked shamelessly, like someone holding up empty hands to an overeager pup or a child, as if to say nope, really, that’s all there is! As she released them from her grip with a deflated sigh and they slipped inevitably out the door, she felt as always vaguely yet viscerally unsettled.
“Hey! Wait!” she called after them again in eviscerated vain. Against her better judgment, she retrieved a cup of pudding from the fridge and spent the rest of the day darting down paths of speculation as to their whereabouts, motivations, and doings.
© 2013 Tamara K. Walker
Tamara K. Walker is fascinated by anything that reveals the conceptual substructures underlying the amusing mosaic known as consensus reality. She’s an existentialist and wants you to know it. Her writing has previously appeared in Apocrypha and Abstractions and is forthcoming in LYNX: A Journal of Linking Poets. In a previous life, she published considerable amounts of science fiction poetry.