The Acidthrowers (novel excerpt) – Nate IV

A thousand years ago, a clan of weavers discovered a mystical language hidden in the fabric.  – Wanted (2008 Film)

Regarding the first Reeva’s case to ever be brought to the campus disciplinary committee’s attention, she shushed a lecture, citing something about the natural flow of a dialogue in her head. A few cases forward lecturers knighted her ‘the campus idiot.’ Students either joined in or ruffled her up whenever she’d paste sticky notes with undecipherable cursive on their backs or foreheads. She’d take pre-emptive cover for the latter.

She referred to herself as a subscriber of textile-ism dyed in wool. A transcript of one of her exchanges with her lecturer was met with cheers and jeers online. She had wrapped up her thesis with the following: Viewed against the colourful patchwork (period, race, class, sex) for canvass, history is threaded with seams for power-corruption.

“Haute Couture fan,” her lecturer said, “we get it. Just, please, expand your textile trade.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m cut from the same cloth as, uh…”

“Devil Wears Prada?”

Reeva huffed. “I’m not an Editrix.”

“Often, a laundry symbol will suffice for us to value the material.”

“That was my Care Tag i.e. Sheep’s clothing are one-size-fits-all.”

“Still hellbent on that Silk Route I see.”

And on they went with the silly literary equivalent of ‘freestyling off the top of their domes.’ Literary traditionalists deemed it puerile. Students had a great time decoding the textile parlance into laymen’s terms. They developed a beta online dictionary, updated it with new entries monthly. A blog called Textilism was created. Novels, poems, articles, foreign languages were ransacked. There were no editors and contributors. No. But knitters, needleworkers, and other obscure textile industry handles while coining others along the way.

Their opinions on current affairs read like a red carpet bust by Renaissance fashion police. Refurbishing of literary devices took time until a codex was complete: a multilayered storyline was said to be quilted; nuanced articles boasted detailed embroidery; cross-reference was stitching, and so on. Each issue boasted Mixed Tape[stry], a collection of short stories.

She used to enjoy what they were doing from a distance, that’s until a literary magazine, Text Isle – a retread off the main coast of The Atlantic – by former students of UFS was printed the following year. From there on Reeva’s tweets and ramblings were ransacked for ‘nuggets’ of wisdom for each issue. Political opinion, A Glib Rhetorical Drape Comes Standard With SONAs; a short story, Ripping What She Sew; a poem, Born Of Purple; and the uncanny, The Acidthrowers, comprised their first woodcut.

The launch, which took place prior to going on print via Groupfunding, was an exhibition at the National Museum. Paintings on canvass. An excerpt from the editor’s note:

Herewith we issue of first Text Isle imprint. Get it? Needless to say, and to borrow from Twain, a prevalent feature in this magazine is a wasteful and opulent gush of, and a tendency to lug in by the dogears, particularly tailor-made words and swatches until they are worn threadbare.

How apt that the spinning wheel was developed circa 500 bc in India, a rich textile haven and bestsellers’ retreat. Also, to mind comes the festival whose culminatates into bouquets of powdery pastels co-mingling in the air; experience akin to pollination of textures and colours a good narrative should convey.

Apo

Apologies for my blatant disregard for decorum – the first order of business is to perform overdue obeisance to the queen of purple:

“She tried hard to keep herself a stranger to her poor old father’s slight income by the use of the finest production of steel, whose blunt edge eyed the reely covering with marked greed, and offered its sharp dart to faultless fabrics of flaxen fineness.”

We know what you’re thinking, but rest assured. We’re busy petitioning for the post-humous Nobel. Honour to our beloved ‘O Rare Amanda,’ who was kind enough to grace our first cover, in Victorian regalia proper. With thin margin of error, the probable distant relative to our very own Reeva Greyling.

On a more richly aesthetic note, among the slew of quality material we’ve received, The Kites of Ni Shen Xiao by Randy F. Nelson, is a template of the kind of fiction that meets our rigorous submission criteria. From a primitive sci-fi and anti-futurism twine the author reels off this remarkable wear-proof (timeless) thread. Now, temperature and time controlling are two key factors in dyeing. Before turning up the heat, he takes his time with the palette – a miniature landscape of Mnt. Fuji like pigments – to weave for us a deceptively Dyeabolical, and yet royal yarn. It’s suffused with indulgent Textilism, but deftly sustains poignancy throughout.It’s suffused with indulgent Textilism, but sustains poignancy throughout with deft.

Text Isle, behold the pomp that is Amanda’s legacy, and it would behoove ye to ‘shrink with tears and terror.’ – The Editrix

Reeva whipped up a short story titled ‘The Stationmaster’ for the first issue. It foregrounded Mr. Ross’ unwavering support and faltering social standing during his wife’s nascent ironic cause celebre. She rendered her character almost invisible throughout the narrative. No dialogue, but fleeting references. His wife’s manuscripts wake him in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Vexing over her recent drafts, while scraping his scalp, ‘Oh no-no-no. Blimey, this can’t be real. We’re the talk of the town…not in a good way either, me love.’ He’d cast a pleading glance over his shoulder at the content face of her dozed off wife.

His nails reveal grease residue. He has taken to cleaning the engines with the illitirate staff. These do not snort and suppress mirth behind his back. Towards the middle order of his wife’s oeuvre he had become a Stoic to the towns’ celebrations of his wife’s magnus opus. Offhandedly, he said he had taken to hunting when found him seated at a table polishing his shotgun – at night. Before him a piece of paper with an address of the writer who gave his wife her first rave review.

Humming a somewhat hymnal rendition of a classic aimless tune, he’d reach the last page of the drafts with a phlegmatic composure of a man giving his will a final perusal. Clearing his throat once or twice, he’d sigh and remain seated. He had to pluck a little strength and see if he won’t shuffle to bed, as if walking in the rain miles away from home, this time. He’d regard the stack of his wife’s fanmail on his left, go through the first paragraph of the first letter, put it down, gently clear his throat. He’d crease his forehead at the untouched cold tea on his right with a look that said, ‘this thing between us isn’t working.’

Reeva refused to be paid in exchange for a running column. My dream for this column’s title is a “social punctuated equilibrium,” where it defies logic (even if for vague reasons) and speedily evolve into an absurd metaphor – commanded her inner voice, as uniform syntax closed ranks on her Slate. This is not Castellum… we’re in this for a long haul, she heard herself mutter inwardly.

After correspondence with bloggers from India, she sent select unedited interviews with survivors for print. Newspapers hailed the column a haunting homage to Voices From Chernobyl. A spread of ‘Before and After’ photos greeted and tore the reader limb to limb. Meltdown of faces of acid attack survivors looked on with worn resignation into the camera. If eyes are the windows to the soul, their faces were ghost towns where everything continue to corrode, and where there’s colour it’s sapped of joie de vivre.

***

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