A Case of Working Madness

Lit Up: Mad March Microfiction

Photo by Taton Moïse on Unsplash

Her fingers were splayed atop the kitchen table. She was spreading them slowly to max extension, holding for a pause, then returning them to normal. Spread, return, spread, return. It was her morning ritual for the rheumatic joints. The years of clanging away on iron-wrought typewriters gave her bum wrists and rickety digits. She stared at her hands.

These hands: the ones held in an unnatural state all these years; the ones that are now cracked and battered; the ones that had a life of their own.

For a long time, she had enjoyed the heartbeat melody of metallic key strokes. Each chrome key unveiled a hidden world, and she descended quickly in among them. Her fingers pressed on, into the levers and springs of the mechanical beast. There she rode the buck for hours through underwater fantasies and bright sky anywheres. Any place, please.

In the dark expanse of a hangar, hundreds of hands clicked away in a synchronized tune. They played a deafening symphony that ricocheted off half-pipe walls. Eyes in the darkened-glass nest took pulse by the beating of the buttons. Message to syncopating sycophants: “Type faster.”

Smell that? Crescendo. You didn’t realize your fingers were burning.

In here, ideas weren’t transferred, they were branded; Fingers transfixed letters, words, syntax to the medulla. They never understood what they were typing, that was the plan. Propaganda pages. Reams of untruth spewed.

Then one day the roof was blown off the joint. Sheets were sucked up into a whirling vortex of paper cuts. Liberation, if you could call it that, was swift and confounding. The liberators met mindless, drooling fools. Drugged and disturbed.

If she could, she would have regretted all those words that were not her own.


Inspired in part by the latest story about Cambridge Analytica. Or, please don’t make me part of your grossly unethical experiments. And I just read 1984. C’est la vie.

AARON GERRY tries not to take himself too seriously, despite what the content may suggest. He enjoys pen and paper, perambulating, and donuts. Many donuts. Oh and writing. Speaking of which, his work can be found in journals and publications such as Chronogram, Lit Up, P.S. I Love You, The Creative Cafe, The Junction, and others. If you like this piece please do 👏clap👏 along!

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