Salinka Mura and the Typewriter|
by Charles Talkoff
Arthur was a typewriter and at first life was difficult and on account of all the media attention it was more difficult still and people came to stare and others to make fun but eventually that all faded and Arthur lived a normal life for a typewriter and his parents loved him up to a point beyond which they were tormented by guilt and conflicting feelings of remorse and fear and blame and endless recriminations and Arthur's father built a mechanism for feeding paper into Arthur so he didn't go without except once when they forgot and he was miserable and started typing but only beat against his platen and bruised himself
FEED ME FEED ME FEED ME PLEASE FEED ME and the other kids both liked Arthur but were afraid of him and resented having to bring him along and they first thought to put him at first base but he couldn't catch worth a damn and then they thought to put him behind home plate but he couldn't see over the batter or the catcher and thought every pitch was low and away or high and away and then they put him on the bench where he saw the game and wrote a story about it which everyone loved because they were in it except Nasty Paul who always tried to pound Arthur's keys and Fat Tony who kept stealing Arthur's ink so he couldn't type except in faded tones of letters no one could really make out and one day many years later while waiting for a taxi at a bar Arthur met a beautiful girl named Salinka Mura which she said very fast and as if it were one word and Arthur wanted to type her name three hundred times because it looked like an idea for the blueprint of a happy life and Salinka said I dig your crazy typewriter existence want to come to my place and get high and listen to Leonard Cohen cds and Arthur said yes and they pretty much fell in love on the spot and then Arthur started spending all of his time at Salinka's apartment and he said
Wow Salinka that's a wild crazy beautiful lithograph it looks like something Dali would have painted
and she laughed and said it is something Dali painted so they got really high and looked at it and made love in front of it and then they looked at it straight and made love again and then she said she came from a country where there were no typewriters because the king did not want anyone to write anything that might make people want to get rid of the king so there was a revolution and the king was sent away encased in amber in a large room made from amber that was packed in a crate and people carried small versions of it with them wherever they went and then there were some men who replaced the king and they said no typewriters unless we give them to you and no L on the keypad and Arthur said that was very sad and that his great sadness was that he came from a country that did not have Salinka Mura but had plenty of everything else and the government listened to what everyone was saying in case they heard something suspicious and as she was just on a student visa and was going home and he didn't know what to do and she didn't know what to do because she was unsure if she could make a life in another country and did not want to be an immigrant and he said,
but Salinka my love, what if we were immigrants together and lived somewhere else in a place that did not have either of us?
And then he ran out of paper and she was out of paper and had to run to the store but the store was closed and she ran home crying with frustration so she made her hand flat and put it inside him and he started typing and he said
you have to stop or I'll hurt you,
and she said I don't care I love you but I'm tormented by the idea that if I leave my country I'm a fraud and I hate that it might be true even as much as I hate that it might be false and Arthur started typing an answer and he looked and saw he was half way up Salinka's arm and soon she was completely inside him and an endless line of words covered her body and if you think about it it's really very mysterious and there they would be sometimes eating at their favorite bistro laughing and having a good time and sometimes speaking very seriously about a cup of tea which as everyone knows is the Rosetta stone for the meaning of tomatoes and falcons and even blind fish and often she would slide around his platen and he would type long letters or stories or short ones that exploded with delicacy and the pain of knowing something sacred and after many years she had become a palimpsest or a novel or a poem and she copied herself on to pages and more pages and that was become the story of their story and the poem of their life in a country of their own.
Charles Talkoff was born in New York and has lived in San Francisco, a Greek island and, currently, Baltimore. In addition to attending the MA Writing program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, he is currently working on a novel and despairing of the San Francisco Giants ever winning a World Series.
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