The Anthropomorphic Author

"Hellooooo." The author steepled her hands, peering over the tips at her audience. Half her face was lit in stark chiaroscuro from the plasticized blowfish lamp, its dull spined flanks glowing yellow, on a low end table. She leaned forward in the hulking winged back chair.

"My name is Archi Teuthis and I will be your author for," her eyes flicked up, back, "probably only a few more seconds, really."

She shot up and moved to the towering shelves lining the shadowed walls, picked a red-bound book and began flipping through the pages. "Here we are. Anthropomorphic. Great word, one of my favorites. That and verisimilitudinous, but that word doesn't have a place in this story quite yet."

The dusty light sparked in her eyes as she scanned the dictionary page, "Anthropomorphic, an anglicanization of the word anthropomorphus, or "having human form". "Originally in reference to treating God or gods as having human form and human characteristics; of animals and other things from 1858"."

The book shut with a soft whump, a release of dust that circled in the air, and was replaced. The author caught her anonymous audience's eye and she smiled. "It seems to me that we have all, in our own way, created extentions of ourselves, often times completely falsified ones, that we give our attributes and fantasies to. We then allow them to roam in our minds, possibly as muses or little imaginative figments, but they are there."

A tiny angelfish, its stark back glinting wet in the air, wavered and flicked around the author's head. She ignored it, moving on, "As authors it's only natural to create a version of ourselves in this way. We even give them a name as we post our stories on this site under them."

A cloud of minnows formed, rising from the chair, twisting and dispensing like smoke. The angelfish whistled a short tune, flitting behind a bookshelf. The audience began to realize, their singular eye adjusting to the light, that each of these fish had seemingly come into being around the author. In fact, as they watched, the laces from her shoes changed, darkening, pulling away with flat black eyes turning from the light and ducking under the plush footstool of the library. What appeared to be shadows in her jacket detached, showing themselves to be cuttlefish, catfish, and even a golden button became a bubbling goldfish.

Archi Teuthis smiled, tilting her head as a guppy hid in the tresses. "I'm writing this story so all you Protagonizers can show off that bit of yourselves normaly hidden - that extension of who you are that-"

She frowned, then, turned to the guppy whispering in her ear. "You know, you're right. This is becoming too philosophical."

The author grinned, clapped her hands. The bookshelves shook, shaking off their dust like ragged dogs and sinking into the floor. A wall slid back, lights flashed on from a hidden projector box to the relvealed stage. The curtains rippled, a woven silver fish pattern.

"OoOo," Archi Teuthis bubbled, clapping her hands gleefully. "A talent show!"

She turned to the rows of seats. The bustle breath of people finding the best seats rung in the hall.

"Come on!" she called, laughing. "No registration needed! Hop up and show us what you're all about! Maybe a poetry reading? A little song and dance number? Or maybe you just want to show everybody what you really, but, obviously not really, maybe just what you think you ought to. Er." she began to flounder up on the stage. On cue, a fat flounder wobbled by, tipsy, to stage left. "I don't think I'm making sense."

She looked up again. Locked eyes with you. "You get it, right? Come up and show them, please? What you are? Which is not? Which is what you show? Here? It's a talent show."

The End

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