Stickers (Short story, Rin PoV)

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Eybol
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Stickers (Short story, Rin PoV)

Post by Eybol » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:14 pm

Stickers

I'm stuck. I'm staring at a canvas. They're not usually like this, canvases. I can see right through most of them. This one's completely opaque. Maybe there's something wrong with it?

I see the sun shining behind the clouds and the leaves blowing in the breeze and the buildings in the distance. But I can't see into the canvas. I've gone through six of them today. This is my last. I can see the frame, but I can't see the painting.

Ugh. Stupid, stupid canvas. It's like a bad window that opens up into a wall. This is the worst kind of window.

The door opened and there's footsteps behind me. I didn't notice them until I noticed them, which was when they happened which is now.

So there's someone here now, probably.

- "Excuse me, are you Rin Tezuka?"

No. I'm not Rin Tezuka. People call me Rin Tezuka, though. Why do people introduce themselves with "Hi, I am..." instead of "Hi, my name is..."? You aren't your name. Why would you want to be your name? It's not something you get to pick for yourself, after all. What if your name was Asshole? Would anyone want to be an asshole?

Well, being called Asshole is only marginally less worse than being an asshole. It's a matter of principle, that's all.

Oh, right, outward talk. Talk outward. Talk with your lips. Emi keeps telling me to do that, lip-talking. Why the lips? Isn't it easier to just read thoughts?

Seriously, why doesn't anyone read thoughts around here? They're right THERE. I wouldn't mind. There's not much to read, anyway.

- "That's my name. Rin Tezuka is my name.
Do I know you? I don't know if I know I don't know you. A lot of people know me and I know they know me but I don't know them. I don't really know I know anyone, but I do know when they know me. You're not one of those people I know I don't know but know they know me, are you?"

- "I-I'm Mitsuka Takemura! You probably don't know me, I'm new here. I'm doing a feature on contemporary art..."

Extends the hand, then retracts it while blushing profusely. Is that a common normal people greeting? They seem to do that a lot.

- "...It's for the school paper, and I was wondering if you would be interested..."

So, great. Another person to file me into a neat little categorical file of categorically filed files. Organize me into a neat structure. I'm not a structure, I'm a stream. I don't work in structures, and it's a mess when I try to.

Also, this would be the first time a scrawny first-year has tried to interview me. Journalists usually come bigger than that.

- "Interview? Go talk to my agent."

- "You have an agent?"

- "I could have an agent. Maybe. Maybe not. There probably is one if you look hard enough. I seem popular enough that I should have one.
In any case, could you go talk to someone else?"

- "I... I'd prefer to talk to you."

- "That's a weird way to start an interview. Don't interviewees usually do the talking?"

- "That's not-"

- "Or maybe it's changed. Things change quite quickly. You barely even notice it, but it happens. You have to stay on your feet. I always stay on my feet. Except when I don't, like now, since I'm painting.
Maybe that's why I missed it...
Shall I start interviewing you now?"

- "No, no! I'll ask the questions."

- "Oh, that's good then. I don't like asking quesions."

The canvas is still rigid and unyielding to the eyes. Rigidly unyielding or unyieldingly rigid? Both, and it's staring right back at me.

- "...If that's okay?"

- "Depends."

It depends on whether you're asking questions from me specifically, or just for the sake of asking questions. Why is the sky blue? What do trees falling in forests sound like when nobody's around to hear them? I love rhetorical questions like those. But regular questions have too much explaining. Like who you are, for example. Everyone expects a name, but I can't honestly answer that I am Rin Tezuka, because I'm not. I didn't pick my name, so why would I want to be it? Why would I want to be someone who someone else expects me to be? And so on. I don't want to explain all that, but it keeps coming up with like pretty much every non-rhetorical question, the explaining. So I don't like those questions that are questions. Rhetorical questions are nice because they're questions that aren't questions.

Maybe he just asked a rhetorical question? Am I supposed to answer a rhetorical answer? I'm good at those, but...

Click. Is that a tape recorder? It is. She's a big-shot all of a sudden. Seems like the sort of thing real journalists would do, though I never give them the time of day enough to do it.

She, he. Could be a he. I can't honestly tell. Sounds like a girl, but looks like a boy. What was this kid's name again?

- "I am here on the rooftop of Yamaku High School with the elusive miss Rin Tezuka, local artistic genius, Yamakuite and star in the making. It is a sunny, windy afternoon on the 1st of November. Now, miss Tezuka, at such an early point in your career, you are already opening your second exhibition, "Nameless II". There is much local as well as even international excitement, with a number of foreign critics rumored to be attending. What are your feelings?"

- "I'm a bit cold. My back is itching. I'm thirsty."

- "What does this make you think, I mean?"

- "I think there's sand in my throat, I need some water. Do you have some water?"

- "I- Yes, I do! Here."

She's standing there with her arm stretched out, dangling bottled spring water in front of my face.

I'll just give him a moment to think about this.

- "Oh..."

Oh indeed.

- "Do you mind?"

- "O-of course..."

I suppose normal people could find bottle-feeding a stranger awkward. I couldn't say I know, I can't relate.

That's better. That's much better. I can breathe now without feeling like there's sand in my throat. It sneaks up gradually until before you realize it you open your mouth and nothing but sand comes out. It's that sort of dryness, like eating a mouthful of sand. I know what it's like, I tried it once. Instantly regretted that decision.

- "Could you scratch my back too? I can't quite reach there."

- "Well... Sure."

Itches don't sneak up on you, it's not as subtle at all. I sit down long enough to paint, and it just comes all of a sudden and keeps getting worse and worse until there's worms crawling under my skin.

- "Oh, that's such a relief. It's like there's worms under my skin, sometimes. Could you get the back of my head too?"

I suppose some people might find this weird, too. She/he seems to find it weird, anyway. I don't understand why. I'd scratch my back.

That's better. The worms are gone now. I think that might have been it. I think I'm back in business now. Let's just study this canvas again.

No. Won't yield or budge. It's unbudgingly yieldnonsome, non-yielding to budging by eyes.

How rigid and stubborn you are, canvas. I may have a worthy adversary.

- "Are you having trouble getting started?"

- "I can't see through the canvas. I think it's broken."

Only one of us can walk out of here alive. Alive and unpainted.

- "Okay, well... Could you comment on this painting over here?"

- "No."

- "Why is that?"

- "It's a work in progress. I never comment on works in progress."

- "You'll be adding another layer of paint? It looks finished already..."

- "I won't."

- "So it is finished, then?"

- "It's drying."

- "...?"

- "It's drying. Drying is progress."

- "Fine. How about this one?"

- "Can't. It's part of a series."

- "...And?"

- "The series is a work in progress."

- "Okay, let's talk more generally. These are all... Different sorts of skies."

- "Yes, they are. I already said I don't comment on-"

- "Just generally, did you have any inspiration on this?"

- "...Clouds."

- "...and?"

- "Sky."

- "Sorry, what I'm getting at here is... They're so alive. Alive with color, and movement. It's unlike any sort of cloudscapes I've ever seen. It... It just seems there's something more behind it. I can't describe it. Is there a-"

- "..."

- "Look, are any of the paintings here not part of a series?"

- "I'm looking. There's one over there."

- "Ah, good, good! Now here... In Tezuka's painting here, it... Does it have a name?"

- "No names. I don't like names."

I don't like names. They're like labels. Labels get stuck in your hair and they're impossible to remove. And there's labels that aren't actually labels, not like labels you find on groceries.

Sticky labels. Stickers. That's what they're called. There's labels on labels. I'm not surprised.

Non-sticky label-labels get stuck just as much as stickers do, just not so much in your hair. And they're always wrong, no matter what you put on them. So I don't like labels, I don't give them and I try not to read them when I see them. They're unreliable imposters and liars.

Ugh. I'm stuck. Stickered. Stuck like stickers in my hair. There's stickers in my brain and I can't remove them. That's why I hate labels. And names, by association. I don't understand why anyone would want to be a name.

- "Yes, of course! As one might guess, the works in Tezuka's Nameless-series are left untitled. What would you say is the motivation for your struggle to avoid labels?"

- "I don't like labels. They get stuck in your hair."

- "Excuse me?"

- "Have you ever had stickers in your hair?"

- "One time, yes."

- "It's like that. This is why I don't like labels."

- "I see..."

From the look on her face, I can see she doesn't see. It's that sort of "I see, but I don't see" look, and he's not blind. She's not blind. It. Should I settle for 'it'?

I get that face a lot from people, blind or not.

- "Anyway... This is another of her striking cloudscapes, but this one is different. The rest are simple scenery paintings but here, there's these shapes among the clouds, twisting bodies, contorted faces, hands reaching out. Human figures in the clouds, reaching, but... They're reaching down. It's like they've spent their whole lives looking up to the sky, and now reaching back to what they used to have, what they can never have back. It's tragic. Is this what you intended?"

- "Yeah, I guess."

I don't usually give that "I see, but I don't see"-face myself, but this isn't usually.

So this is what it feels like.

- "Could you elaborate?"

- "It's sort of like that. Maybe, if you think so. I don't know."

- "You don't know?"

- "Yes. Or no. Yes, I don't know."

- "You-"

- "I don't, no, know I don't.
No."

- "..."

It's a mutual face now.

Looking now I realize this person has no outward physical deformities. I'm counting an even number of hands and feet, an uneven number of heads and five fingers on each hand. Do those usually have five fingers? I saw one person with six once. No, it's five I think, five is the most common.

He has no trouble hearing, and he's obviously sighted. No cognitive problems.

He doesn't seem to have any kinesthetic-type issues and mental problems are ruled out.

Then it's down to one of two things.

- "So do you have heart problems?"

- "What?"

- "You know, arrythmia. Something with a weird name like that that makes your pulse sound like a hip hop beat?"

- "No."

Then...

Jackpot. Full house, royal flush. My collection is complete. I've won the cripple bingo.

- "So it's your penis?"

- "W-WHAT?"

- "It is? Great! I have one of everything now. I collect people, you see. With problems. This is a great place for doing that. You're the last one. Could you just check yourself off here? There's a notebook in-"

- "I'M SORRY, WHAT?"

- "...?"

- "Did you just...!?"

- "Is there a problem?"

- "I... I do not have a penis!"

- "That is a terrible problem to have."

- "THAT'S NOT MY PROBLEM!"

- "No one said it's a problem. Or, well, I did, but it's not a real problem. This is what Yamaku is all about, you see. Look at me, for example. I don't have problems.
A problem is not a problem if you don't make it a problem.
So, not having a penis is not a problem. No penis, no problem. Now, if you'd-"

- "I'm a girl! Can't you see I'm a girl!?"

- "I don't think I can. No. I can't actually see that. And I'm not even blind. Weird.
You know, that's still not much of a problem though. I think I'm a girl too.
Are you sure though? Have you checked?"

Now, this is less like an "I see but I don't see"-stare and more an "I'm going to storm out and slam the door very loudly"-glare. Emi's given me a few of those. It's very short, and she usually follows it up by storming out and slamming the door very loudly.

So then she goes and storms out and slams the door very loudly.

Huh.

Emi's not the only one who does that, then.

He didn't specifically state his problem, so I'll just put a check mark in 'Sexual Conditions' later. This makes one in every category.

Great. My life's work is complete. I can die a happy painter.

I'd rather not do that of course, but I could die happy if I absolutely really had to.

That's the door again, now.

- "I figured you'd be up here"

- "What made you think that?"

- "Just a hunch. A crying boy running from the rooftop was a pretty good indicator I guessed right. What was that about?"

- "I dunno, says he doesn't have a penis."

- "Huh? He said-?"

- "Wouldn't it make you sad?"

- "...?"

- "Not having a penis, I mean."

- "I guess it would."

- "Makes sense, then. You see?"

- "...I see."

He doesn't see. He's not blind, but he can't see. Emi can't see either. I can't see sometimes, myself.

I know I know a lot of people who know me but I don't know them. Hisao Nakai is the only human being I know I know and I know he knows me, in some way, he knows me even if he can't quite know me the way I know me. Sometimes I wish he could see, but it's enough that he's trying.

But, see what? I don't know. I see less than he does. I don't know me. I don't understand me more than I understand jellyfish. Who made jellyfish in the first place? I'd like to meet that person.

- "Trouble getting started?"

- "No, I think I stared it down. It's dead now."

- "Dead?"

- "The canvas. I killed it. Only one of us could come out of here alive and/or unpainted, and it was me."

- "..."

- "A hollow victory."

- "Depressing."

- "I know."

- "Well, you've got a lot of work done today."

- "I have."

- "Would you like to come out of here now, you know, alive and all? It's getting late."

- "I'd like that."
Last edited by Eybol on Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AntonSlavik020
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Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Stickers

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:41 pm

The "odd number of heads" line was hilarious. Overall, interesting fic. Not a whole lot of ones from Rin's perspective, so that alone is a plus, even if she isn't my favorite.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Minion of Chaos
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Re: Stickers

Post by Minion of Chaos » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:37 pm

Eybol wrote: There's stickers in my brain
.....and that's where I lost it- repeating it in a panicked and surprised way, laughing to myself the entire time. Funny story, man- glad to have read it

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Oscar Wildecat
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Re: Stickers

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:13 pm

I'll leave the "technical" (spelling/grammar/etc) comments to somebody whose head isn't stuffed up at the moment.

But, I did want to say that I enjoyed the trip to Planet Rin. (Which would make a great name for a restaurant. Maybe located at the opposite end of the universe from Milliways.)
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain
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Oddball
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Re: Stickers

Post by Oddball » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:38 am

I'm going to be honest here, I think you went a bit too far trying to make Rin spacey. She seems unable to relate to anything going on around her.

The parts where she wasn't sure why people held out their hand and then pulled it back and the part where somebody offered her some water and she needed to be helped seemed rather at odd with each other as well.

Tone it down just a tad and I think you'll be doing good. Right now you've got her weirdness cranked up to an eleven when it needs to be closer to an eight.
Not Dead Yet

Eybol
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Re: Stickers

Post by Eybol » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:54 pm

Oscar Wildecat wrote:I'll leave the "technical" (spelling/grammar/etc) comments to somebody whose head isn't stuffed up at the moment.

But, I did want to say that I enjoyed the trip to Planet Rin. (Which would make a great name for a restaurant. Maybe located at the opposite end of the universe from Milliways.)
Reminds me of what Cpl_Crud originally had in mind for Rin's ending.

"So long and thanks for all the fish..."

Eybol
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Re: Stickers (Short story, Rin PoV)

Post by Eybol » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:05 pm

I think she'd drink the water just fine if she had a straw with her, which she evidently doesn't. Uncapping the bottle would also pose a challenge. And the way I imagined it she's either sitting on a chair where she's painting or standing up, so using a table for balance and leverage is out of the question.

She can relate to what's going on around her. She just draws absurd conclusions sometimes.

On another note; Everything about Rin is up to interpretation. The negative space of Rin's story is almost as engaging as the story itself. But I also did the opposite: The story is entirely consistent of her direct inner narrative rather than implied feelings and thoughts, and this Rin has an internal logic that can be followed in some manner, it's just that the tip of the iceberg seen by outsiders is apparently nonsense.

She's not a verbal thinker at all, and her tone of voice is different. It strays from the author's intent quite a bit. But this is just my interpretation of her.

She's a blast to write. I wish I could spend some time inside her head.

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Lianam
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Re: Stickers (Short story, Rin PoV)

Post by Lianam » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:03 am

Eybol wrote:Uncapping the bottle would also pose a challenge.
... no it wouldn't. I'm pretty sure uncapping a water bottle would be easy to do with your feet.
On a side note, while I do agree with Oddball to an extent, I must say you did do a great job at writing Rin's thoughts. You really did a good job, and it was a humorous read... although part of me feels bad because I get the feeling that being amused by Rin's thought processes is basically mentally laughing at her, not with her.
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sanduba
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Re: Stickers (Short story, Rin PoV)

Post by sanduba » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:22 pm

Great story, would love to have more Rin POV, there's only a tiny bit...
Best story:
Hanako > Rin > Lilly > Emi > Shizune

best girl:
Lilly > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Rin

Eh, that's my opinion.

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