Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Short Story Found

I'm not sure what one would call it, but recently—during my more and more frequent visits to the library—I've been finding random pieces of paper in books rarely checked out. Though most are little more than just that, I've had the luck to find stories written down. Beautiful  stories, mind you, ones that mean something. I've tried to trace down who's doing this, even asked Algo, but to no avail. 

Thing is, libraries have a strict privacy policy and I would like to keep it that way. Here's the story, I hope it gets spread around some:

The window was dirty enough that even on a clear day the light came through meek and fetid. Normally, Clara would have cleaned it before noting this, but today her mind was occupied. The water cut off, she had taken to hammering a hole in the pipe located in the alley behind the apartments and filling up a large bottle to have to enough to drink, brush her teeth, and take a French bath. This had been enough and life hadn't bothered her too much.

But now that the electricity threatened to shut off, she was filled with a certain sense of gloom, a feeling that now was the point of no return for she had no idea how to siphon electricity off the grid and she could very easily imagine herself dying in the process of trying to get some of that electricity. A small tremble ran through her as the image came to life in her mind's eye. 

Her mother's eyes, always following her, didn't help matters one bit. Her mother had, for some unknown reason, decided to take a vow of silence when the troubles started—that is, when Clara had lost her job and her man—and was now even more silent now that Clara was failing to pay her bills. 

This filled Clara with a low burning anger; thoughts about how her mother hadn't ever helped before, even as a child, filled her with more seething—even if it wasn't true. That she now needed her mother's advice, but it wasn't forthcoming, seemed like another injustice piled upon the previous ones. It was almost as if her mother's previous warnings, though meant as advice, had only been curses. 

She steeled herself for what to do next. Clara wouldn't sell herself, but she would go out there and fight for what she had. Enough with the injustices. 

See what I mean? Well done, even if it might be incomplete [1]. But who writes good things like this and puts them all around the library? A better question is: what does this mean? Is it another form of graffiti? Simply a more hidden one? I've heard such stories, of course, where the author does not want to be as vocal or in your face as a normal tagger, and so hides the message in different forms. [2]

Of course, as with every trend there's an urban legend that warns you not to trust the fringe activity. QRcodes have, apparently, been included in these books and the person who dares to follow one finds themselves having downloaded a virus or malware of some kind. 

Better yet is the story about a young man who follows a QRcode and finds a website that plays a murder scene over and over. He goes to the police, and they don't help him. Soon he's lost in a web of lies and deceit as the killers—the video was real—close in on him. 

I could go on about these types of tricks, but what about the story I read? Could it be a trick? I'm not sure how. Unless the fiction writer's (I assume) plan is to only unfreeze that great ocean inside us all. And you, dear reader, what do you make of all this?

[1] I mean might as in such an open ending would make perfect post-modern sense.

[2] In the best of these stories, the author took books deemed antithetical to modern multicultural life and slightly altering the pages (gluing a single altered page so hardly anything would be noticed) so that the message was completely different. This subtle mind change seems a perfect way of undermining the status quo. Defacing of pubic property? Yes, but in a good way, I'd dare say.

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  1. Just like a starter kit for short story or flash fiction writing maybe. If you can't finish a story yourself, why not pass the baton, like in a relay

    1. That could be a great idea to start up! Which books, though, would pull in the best writers?


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