Author : J.R. Blackwell, Staff Writer

Rae woke up strapped to a table, which was hardly out of the ordinary, but always came as a surprise. She had a headache, but that was to be expected, since she had a metal bar through her forehead. Her fingers were smoking.

“Bergh.” she said, although what she intended to say was “I could really go for a coffee.”

Winston leaned over her, jubilant. He was always jubilant, no matter how much she was smoking when her eyes opened.

“It worked!” he said, repeating his usual script. He was so pleased with himself.

“Graah.” Rae said, when what she wanted to say was “Get out of my face.” He was always pawing at her when she was strapped down.

Winston whirled away, laughing maniacally. “Brilliant!” he shouted. “I’m brilliant!”

Rae felt that if Winston were really brilliant, he wouldn’t have to keep shocking her to keep her alive, but she wasn’t about to complain, mostly because talking took so much effort. Her tongue was not her own and wouldn’t always obey her. If she wanted to talk, she had to force it to shape the words, think about the pressing of the l against the roof of her mouth, the little whistle shape she had to make to say an S. It was too much hassle.

“I really am a genius.” said Winston. “Though no one understands me.”

How cliché, thought Rae. It’s because you’re crazy. And your personal hygiene is questionable. Rae sighed. Her sighs, at the very least, were hers, full of meaning. There were stories in her sighs, novels.

“They want you down at the office park,” said Winston, unbuckling the straps and throwing them across her giant body. “You remember your installation, don’t you?”

“Krrphh,” said Rae, when what she meant to say was “As if I would forget what I’ve been working on for the past three months, you imbecile.”

Winston drove. He drove a jeep. At one time, he drove a small Japanese car, but now he needed something with a roof that could be opened, so that Rae could fit inside.

“Doctor!” cried the middle manager when he saw Winston and Rae pull up into the parking lot. Rae’s giant sculpture bloomed in front of the building, giant silver tendrils, like a wicked tree. They reflected like in sharp, white lines, refracting light onto the grass, the building, back towards the sky.

Rae climbed up her enormous sculpture and let Winston talk to the manager. She bent errant pieces into crisp angles, the sculpture reaching in all directions upwards, towards the heavens. Winston explained that it was meant to be motivational to the employees, to inspire them to do their best every day. Rae knew that was bullshit, but explaining what it meant was impossible with her tongue.

Rae marveled at her hands, so compliant, twisting and turning, grasping. Like her tongue, they were not her own, but perhaps hands were more agreeable than tongues, or perhaps all tongues have rebellious spirits. She looked at her hands then, but they had no opinions.

“Murphl,” she said, because she felt like speaking. She ran her obedient hands along the sculpture, the metal edifice reaching towards the sky. She imagined rain clouds gathering, grey and that strange yellow color before a storm and then blue and white and purple electric light would strike her sculpture, and it would conduct lightning between the sky and earth, for a moment, dangerous and alive. The sculpture wasn’t some symbol of achievement; it was her, her own, a life between two places.

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