Issue 43 Dec 2016
The kind that fills up your lungs and freezes all of the hairs inside your nose into tiny little miniature icicles. Tiny little perfect murder weapons for all those little elves that steal your socks from the washing machines.
Snowflakes, crystalline, brilliant. Keep trying, keep trying, keep trying to get a good look at one but they all melt on your tongue. Makes them disappear, no trace. I like that, no trace. I wish I could do that, melt into different states of matter and no one would think anything of it. But my bones and my blood and my muscles are all far too solid to go sloshing around. Something about carbon chains. I should’ve learned it in chemistry but I dropped out before o-chem. Too many non-superimposable mirror images. They swam in front of me like disembodied hands.
I stopped shivering a long time ago because I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. One time she told me being high didn’t make you lazy or stupid, just made you realize most things don’t actually matter. She made me realize that a lot of things matter, a whole lot of things, but she didn’t seem to think so. She didn’t even seem to think she mattered because she went out like a blown fuse- spectacular, brilliant, crimson all over the walls. I was in love with her brain matter, I wanted to propose but I couldn’t find a finger to hang a ring on.
They were right about the smell, all those websites that warned, like the old ad, "not even once".
They were right that it’s like nothing you’ll ever witness before or since. Aside from the continuous feverish addictive use. Like burning rubber, like chemicals, like the colors black and silver swirled together in a big industrial vat. I guess you stop smelling it after a while, I guess it becomes like bacon and eggs or the whoosh of a heater the first time in winter. You just know it.
Maddie punches in the codes for what she wants and the display on the printer comes to life. It’s a pair of jeans so dark that they look almost black, a blue sweater, and white sneakers. The outfit looks vaguely familiar. Didn’t she print one just like it a few weeks ago? Maddie shrugs. Doesn’t matter. It’s not like it’s still “hanging in her closet,” if that’s the expression. It disintegrated by the end of the day. As does everything the printer prints.
The printer itself is tall and narrow, like a one-person metal scanner at the airport. Enough room for Maddie to lift her folded arms, elbows bent, in front of her face. But that’s about it.
Maddie slips into a thin, off-white body suit that serves as the base, and steps inside. It’s a routine she could do in her sleep. Legs slightly apart, hands on the handles in front of her, her arms slightly raised. Back straight. Chin up.
She yawns. She stayed up way too late last night. But quickly catches herself. You must hold very, very still.
Maddie can hardly remember the last item of clothing that did not come from the printer. It may have been a red dress with a white collar, when she was about five years old. She remembers twirling and giggling, the skirt ballooning around her, her arms outstretched and her head thrown back. And her parents both looking at her, really looking at her, and laughing.