We do not die of death — we die of vertigo

I found this one in my inbox on Monday morning:

DOORKNOBS & BODYPAINT 69 now online.

The Valentine’s issue has work by these writers: (some names), Julie O’Yang, (followed by other names)

It turns out my story was chosen to be the lead story for DK & BP’s PLANET BETTY section. Walk through these guidelines for a minute before you proceed:

1. Maximum length: 250/450 words. 2. What of romance? Scrawling “Lonely citizen @ Agro-Center #7 seeks same for possible LTR” was hardly more than graffiti. Hectic work schedules and long hours made meeting people difficult. Disinterested third party introductions worked back on Old Earth but on Betty everybody knew enough of everybody else’s business to make things awkward. Only solution was to make third parties. Repurposed old-chalky-UN-Blue –first-generation-Agro-droids fit the bill. These egg shaped hover units got nick-named “The Blue Aunties.” The units all got fresh paint and name tags. First was May, April, and June, then Rose, Daisy, and Lily, followed by Ruby, Jade, and Amber. Your assignment, Citizen, is to write in approximately 250/450 words or less how a Blue Auntie helped or hindered romance for you. 3. The sub-theme is: Lonely . 4. Within the story, you must use this text: as her name implied . (refer to a specific Blue Auntie.)

Moon & Black Machine

For my Valentine

Julie O’Yang

From this distance, Planet Betty looked like a pink, elliptical moon.

With a slow, lilting baritone murmur reminiscent of an invisible smile, B.M. thought. It’s a mystery where he came from – just like the word “love”, a sound exercised on these ivory keys, a half swallowed religion. There’s nobody else in the goddamn place, nobody who can see him name him so to believe in his own reality, he must “take a leap of faith”. Black Machine is what he called himself –


                                        “Can one move a rising star as if it were a house, æg?” Lonely Citizen whispered to her oval heirloom. The pendant was a map of a florescent Oceæn. All water has a perfect memory. On Planet Betty, girls were born with the token of remembrance. However, people believed that memories caused Lanchomania Disease and were dangerous. HappYcurræncy was the economics on the Planet, where every secret whether good or bad, every breath you take was eagerly shared to advance Multigalactic wellbeing. Private lives were similar, yet what’s kept inside the birthmarks was restricted information. Families had a taboo, the oval Aunties dominated people’s lives. Every æg was authorized to vote on her owner to become the Idoliyn or abuse her, relying on made attempts to steal the precious h’ært of the crooked tyrants.

“Auntie Rose?” L. C. insisted, toying her egg-shaped treasure hanging from her collarbone like a large drop of…tear? It’s a foreign word. Liquid, leather  gloves shrunk by being wet, petrichor. Unfashionable tastes from a heartbroken land.

“Earth is NOT a star – and I’m not Rose, I’m not that ancient,” the oval voice snapped.

“But I’ve never seen rose in my life!” L. C. replied. She knew the name of her heirloom. At birth every æg received a name tag from the Ministry of  Galactic Health, which nonetheless served as warning, including, for example, ægsplosion, ægsit, ægception, ægsecution, and the severest of all, ægmorforever –

But now, L.C. and her treasure shared a fragile moment of affection on Aggrot-Center#7 . The gene-generated radio tower looked cold, overlooking galaxies from its crown, tall enough to launch spacecraft.

“Every world has a soft spot, ours is #7,” Auntie ægsplosion retold the Oracle. “His name is Auro’Ra – the one who knows sadness. You can recognise him by the roses on his eyelids. We tend to connect bad habits with romance and sæx. 1.059463094359295264561825.”  Showing the frequency of the Constant, Auntie erupted, exactly as her name implied.

L. C. repeated the maths, sending an invisible smile on lightyear waves of an icy darkness. Equal temperament, song of mortality –

Across the Han Way, some time, some place, B. M. rejoined her, his ten fingers lumbering on ivory keys. Llunachrymosa.


And oh, here is the link to DOORKNOBS & BODYPAINT if you want to take a look:  http://www.iceflow.com/doorknobs/DB.html

Brassaï , Paris. Centre Pompidou
Brassaï , Paris. Centre Pompidou

julie 超辣

Determined dreamer. Published author in English, Dutch, and Chinese. Former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) captain turned artist entrepreneur and screenwriter. She survived the Cultural Revolution as a baby. In the 1990’s she left for London and has lived and worked in free exile ever since. Her work covers a wide spectrum. As journalist, she creates content covering a range of topics on contemporary China from an insider perspective. In 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, she hosted a 5-episode talk show TV China for Netherlands’ national broadcaster and discussed China’s media landscape with media stars and experts from both China and the Netherlands. From 2013-2016 she was the Editor-in-Chief of the English/Chinese bilingual magazine XiN 新, focusing on today’s China shaped by consumerism. O’yang contributes a weekly column to Hoje Macau on contemporary Chinese art and culture. Her English language book titles include: Butterfly, a historical crime love story set in the Second World War. Since May 2016 O'yang has been collaborating with Flemish photographer Filip Naudts on an art project, which has resulted in the photo novel The Picture of Dorya Glenn. Julie works from the Netherlands and Denmark.

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1 Comment

  1. Baron James Ashanti says:

    Waves & Raves of good luck Jewells!

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