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Dorothee Lang

words lick, yellow wet


The theme of this story: surreal transformation. The main characters: romantic thief and indecisive archivist. The start of the story: quest. The end of the story: delusion.

The setting: Big South Sea, also known as flat screen, just after 9 pm.

At the desk, the romantic thief. Who is still dreaming this one dream of the web. Ten thousand monkeys, typing. Connecting words by the touch of his fingertip. Creating a haiku in a floating window while inducing a tribal fusion in the background.

Click. An instant later, the screen delivers a threesome of lines:

idly forgotten

aching flaccid overcoats

words lick, yellow wet

A second click. A copy, a blank page, a paste. The adding of a signature line. First name, family name. There it is. His poem for the day.

Enter the indecisive archivist. Or rather: enter the stolen words in the system by the indecisive archivist. File 07122006e, he names it. Saves it, just to make sure. Then he opens the file again. To analyze the structure. Three lines. Nine words.

The first transition is from English to German. From E to G. It’s just one step, really. Made not by a monkey, but by a fish. There they form. The words, wrapped in another bubble of tongue.

untätig vergessene

schmerzende schlaffe Mantelwörter lecken,

färben nasses gelb

Still nine. Still nine. The balance, though, gone. The archivist shakes his head slightly, then tries another transition. Check. Click.

les mots flasques faisants mal

à vide oubliés de pardessus lèchent,

jaunissent humide

Thirteen now. Les Francaises. Reflexive. Accented. Yet tres chique, les mots flasques. He clicks a button. Then another, to print the page. Reads the words aloud, then again in silence. Still undecided, he arranges them in three balls of paper on a plate. Then he strikes a match, to set the humide words on fire.

After the plate has cooled down, the indecisive archivist studies the ashes. They hold no image. In a swift, unplanned move he licks them from the plate, to see if the syllables left a trace of taste in them. Of course, they didn’t. Only romantics believe such monkey tales.

This text was created with the help of the Quick Story Idea Generator, the Landscape Generator, the Genuine Haiku Generator and a babelfish

Dorothee Lang is a German writer and net artist. She is author of Masala Moments, a travel novel about India, and editor of the BluePrintReview, an online journal of unintended prose and poetry. Her work has recently appeared in Pindeldyboz, Word Riot, Hobart, eclectica, CautionaryTale and juked, among others. To see some of her latest pieces, visit her virtual gallery at

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