"If anyone would like to point out my boobs, please feel free." Olive Winterleaf.
Blessed with the ability to mangle the English language, Olive Winterleaf has written four books set in the non-existent city of Nonagon or thereabouts. It all started when I discovered a microscopic lesion in the shape of a nonagon lodged under one of my fingernails. A closer inspection revealed that this 'nonagon' harboured a population of biscuit crumbs. This inspired me to write complete nonsense. Later, I discovered that the biscuit crumbs were running an illegal gambling club from my fingernail. This inspired my latest book, 'The Nonagon Mob' - a sequel to the 'Tales of Nonagon' trilogy.
Tales of Nonagon (Nonagon Series Book 1)
More Tales of Nonagon (Nonagon Series Book 2)
Further Tales of Nonagon (Nonagon Series Book 3)
The Nonagon Mob (Nonagon Series Book 4)
A very short story by Olive Winterleaf
Copyright © 2016
Jellicue counted the words as they appeared on the terminal’s display screen. He was fussy that way. He liked to make sure that any documents he typed would fit exactly on one side of a standard sheet of paper.
Once again, he carefully clicked the cursor along each line, counting each word as the small orange flashing block passed from one end of a sentence to the other.
As he pressed the right cursor arrow, he drew closer to the screen. Then, he lost his place. Now he would have to start again.
After a few more attempts, he felt satisfied that he had not exceeded his limit.
Now it was time to print the document.
He checked all the cables were attached to the correct sockets. He checked the printer and made sure a stack of fresh paper was firmly in place.
He held his breath as he selected the word PRINT from the menu.
The printer made various groaning-grinding noises, before finally spewing forth a sheet of paper.
Jellicue took the sheet. It was blank.
Annoyed, he opened the flap on the top of the printer, revealing its innards. The ink cartridge appeared empty. After much fiddle-farting he managed to insert a new one. He realigned the stack of paper and quickly pressed PRINT.
Another printer-groan resulted in a long pause. Jellicue grew flustered. It would have been quicker to write the document by hand.
Then, the groaning-grinding resumed and finally, the printer spat out a new sheet of paper.
He examined the sheet for a moment. It seemed a couple of characters were missing. They were from the last word. He probed the printer, but there was no other sheet forthcoming. Besides, he was sure there was plenty of space for the missing characters.
Thoughtlessly, he turned the piece of paper over, as though he might find the errant letters there.
Jellicue threw the paper to the floor, jumping away from it with the shock. It landed on the patterned office carpet.
The other side of the paper was blank. Not blank in the sense of devoid of print, but blank in the sense of nothing.
Flat sheets of paper tended to have two sides. This sheet of paper had no second side.
Jellicue looked down. The paper had landed with its invisible side facing upwards. He groped around the floor to retrieve it, poking his index finger over the carpet until he heard a crumpled paper sound. He took the paper by its corner and disposed of it in the nearest bin – but not before crushing it into a small pellet.
He returned to his display screen, checking that the last word was intact, before initiating yet another copy of his document. After the usual grinding noises, out came another sheet.
Jellicue returned to the printer with some trepidation. The sheet of paper was waiting. On it, were the words he had typed, but once again, the final word was truncated.
He couldn’t understand it. There was plenty of space on the paper. Why was the last bit missing? And if, for some reason the system thought there wasn’t enough space, why wasn’t the rest printed on the next sheet?
Jellicue sweated with frustration and unease. Dare he look on the other side of this new sheet?
He placed it carefully on the surface of the desk and peered under the reverse.
This sheet was also one-sided.
He lifted it and saw straight through it. He could see the other office staff milling around, going about their usual tasks and yet there was a sheet of paper supposedly obscuring his view.
He ripped the rest of the large stack of paper out of the printer and flicked through the sheets. They were perfect two-sided sheets of standard office paper.
So it seemed it was a property of the printer. He ‘printed’ the blank sheets, until all of them had been converted into one-sided sheets.
He collected them all into a neat pile and held them up to his face. He could see everything in the office.
“Jellicue! What on earth are you doing?”
Jellicue dropped the sheets. “Nothing Mr Pesterbridge.”
“Why is your desk in a mess? And where is that document?”
“I’m just having some trouble with the printer, sir.”
“Then get on to technical support!”
Ordinary blank sheets of paper littered the desk. Jellicue gathered the pape
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