Books on Tape
It is 1989. You have shoplifted a book on tape and you get in your bathtub to listen to it. It is a book about an elf.
The book is a pop-up book and a little man made of tape pops out of it. The little man made of tape sits on the white porcelain bath, leaning towards your shoulder. He is shiny and smells like drying glue.
You think about the English girl you will meet in Venice in 2004. Her hair is like this.
The little man gets into the water. Underneath, he is a dolphin, blue around your legs like hail driving sideways in the wind.
In Venice, they blind the dolphins. The eyes of the lions are everywhere. The English girl has placed a note in the open mouth of a golden head and the message is swallowed into the pneumatic tubes.
The tape man reaches the drain and there he drowns and becomes a clam, open on the ground with a pearl inside.
You reach for the pearl but as your arm enters the water you remember: the tape man is a dark elf and he is treacherous. The pearl blinks at you.
The tape is everywhere now, the water has turned into it and it is only tape now, and you a lobster in a shell of tape.
The girl’s hand reaches down through the dark water and pulls you out.