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Tilt by Ashley Moore | Word Riot

August 22, 2016      

Tilt by Ashley Moore

I was a vintage Twilight Zone, an until-recently immaculate pinball machine unplugged in some repair shop waiting to be returned to some game room where player FFF would light me up and clinch the high score. Where FFF had stopped it with the quarters. I needed an outlet, electricity, and AJO was channeling Thor.
      There was no slow burn. It was one of those haunted house things: all the lights, all the bells, all the flippers at once. Clown laughter, probably. And movement. So much movement. There I was, human again, with all the vertigo. I was afraid my lips might accidentally stumble onto his. In front of everyone. I was at the end of a hike, on the edge of some glorious bluff, looking down thinking, I’m going to fall and die! I’m going to fall and die!, seeing exactly how my body would bounce against the rocks and hit the water limply when I asked for his phone number.
      He was famished dance floors. Wide-armed words. Tomorrow evening then Timbuktu. Homemade kimchi and a January bus stop. A police interrogation through mirrored sunglasses until I opened my eyes on his sleeping shoulders pushing shapes deep into my mattress, thinking, We are a no-go for indentations! We are a no-go for indentations!, seeing exactly how my body would bounce against the rocks and hit the water limply when I asked him whether we were dating.
      That did not go well.
      That’s a lie.
      He could say the same about me.
      But I still do not know whether I am a pinball machine, piloted, or Ms. Pacman running from ghosts, collecting fruits, or Mario jumping always upwards and onwards, one more level, swim, swim, swim! The prize has moved to the next castle! Or whether I can find the glitch that lets me hijack the code and rewrite the whole damn game.

Ashley.Moore.Headshot.Word.RiotAbout the author:

Ashley Moore is a writer and educator based in Germany. She teaches at the University of Bayreuth and is the Assistant Fiction Editor at SAND, an independent, English-language literary journal published in Berlin. Her biblio-travel project, The Story Travels, is forthcoming.

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