Tuesday, 9 March 2010

yet another thinly disguised Jane story

ElectroGirl is wiring her fingers up with LEDs, braiding baby-doll lace into her hair, dying her knee socks fuchsia. She is tired of not causing a stir. She is bored of the vitamin-junkies and the shoe-lacers and the look-both-wayers, the ones who are normal and unconsidered, the ones who never wonder whether automatic doors get depressed if you don't go inside. They are out there, the kinds who have never staked a dollar bill on the waxing of the moon, who don't collect pencil sharpenings in their toolbelts for confetti, who never lie awake at night in terror that the earth is a great shard of rock with fire in its belly, hurtling through the inky-everlasting, even when the sun shines. It isn't easy to subsist in the same strata and zipcode as these people. It takes finesse and patience, and a long and dampened fuse. Unfortunately, ElectroGirl has only the first of these and gets by on her wits and wings. If nothing else, she can make a hasty exit when a hasty exit is required. ElectroGirl has daddy-long-legs and isn't afraid of tripping at all.

The party is to celebrate the fact that the weekend has finally shown up after the long mulch through the working week. This doesn't mean much to ElectroGirl, who has spent the past few days trading candy hearts with a jack-in-the-box and trying to train the spiders to lead a revolt against the flea circus, but ElectroGirl gets lonely sometimes and has to scuttle around the real world for an hour or two. If nothing else, there will be people and dancing and she can try and convince herself that she really exists. Sometimes ElectroGirl gets nervous that she doesn't. Sometimes it's hard to tell. The rest of the town swarms around like stop-motion animation flies and she sits and wonders if the words in her mouth mean anything, or whether they are just small crafted curiosities made out of spaghetti-Os and pygmy dust and cats cradles, little use to anyone at all.

Late at night when she is alone with her computer and worrying, ElectroGirl trawls the internet for Missed Connections trying to find herself. She is convinced that one day she will recognise herself in the world of subway stations and morning commutes. Somewhere out there someone has been following and staring, and this would be incontrovertible evidence that she is, in fact, real. However, no matter how long she wades through the red-haired girl in striped socks reading Wittgenstein on the L train, and the blond flat-top cutie with the piercings in Trader Joe's, and the stunning one in the dufflecoat picking nervously at her nails near Union Square, she never finds herself. Sometimes she wonders about placing make-believe adverts for the people she sees in her dreams, because maybe in the act of doing so she could bring them to life. But then she thinks that is silly and she logs of and heads outside, trying frantically to make a stir, to agitate the pot.

It is a long climb to the fourth floor on heels crafted from silk bow-ties and purloined gold fillings. The stairs are thick with people and cigarettes and ElectroGirl feels herself tottering. She is not yet cocooned in the fearless coating of alcohol that would render her charming and conversational. She would like to pretend that she is thrilled to be a unique vibrating butterfly, drawing raised eyebrows and glances, but in truth she is terrified. Sometimes she feels like a roulette wheel ball, clattering and racketing around as the world spins faster. So long as she keeps moving, everything will be fine and there will still be hope, but as soon as she stops the world will crystallise and the boundaries will set. ElectroGirl isn't ready for that kind of responsibility or that kind of ending. She keeps drinking, careering around corners, keeps going. She runs up the stairs.


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