Pulp Friction

Pulp Friction: Softcore Erotica for the Looseleaf in Everyone

I began my life as a sapling in southwest Washington state in 1978. I was planted by one of those tree planting tractors. Nobody does things by hand anymore. Oh well. People drove by me in their cars, looking at a sign that said “Planted: 1978, Harvest Date: 2015.” I like to imagine that many people were impressed by how long it took me to grow. Then again, what do I know, I’m a fucking tree.

I was cut down by one of those tree cutter downer tractors. It would have hurt, but at that point I was just a tree. I was loaded onto a truck with some of my tree friends, and we went on a road trip. It was actually quite nice. We drove to the Nipponese Paper Packaging plant in Port Angeles, north of Tacoma, and were cut up into little nice sized planks to be fed through the mill. We all went through the mechanical pulper. It was something of an experience, because the lines where my fellow trees stopped and I began got blurry in a hurry. Not that it was at all erotic; this was simply the process by which we all achieved existence as one in a ream.

It’s the only thing that any tree ever dreams of. As a tree, you don’t see much action, save for the occasional hug. But hugs are for squares, and number two pencils. The reams, they get action. They’re all any adolescent tree dreams of. Of course there is the chance that you’ll end up as a disposable coffee cup, or one of those tri-fold cardboard things gradeschool children use to explain how their vinegar and baking soda volcanos work. Which is useful, I guess, but I’m no pervert.

Any how, there I was. A sheet of printer paper. A brand new white sheet, young, hot, sexy, ready to go out and face the world. I turned heads. All those big black permanent markers could think about at night was my clean, white surface. Ballpoints would click their clickers in vein to pictures of me, printed on more white paper. It was too much for them to handle. They would just explode all over, probably staining some guys shirt in the process.

I thought I was ready for the world, but the world is a harsh mistress. I lost my virginity to a laser printer. An HP LaserJet Pro Multi-Function MFP M277. The sheet that went in before I did jammed, and came out all wrinkled. I only caught a glimpse of the mangled corpse. Needless to say, I was terrified. I had been told stories, you know, about my friends first times. I was excited. I was full of anticipation. I was nervous. I was ready. The fucking asshole printer never even called me afterwards. It was a terrible experience.

There were fans whirring, little cervos driving small wheely things that were supposed to be massaging, but just pounded my fibers with no regard for my wellbeing or comfort. The ink barely entered my fibers before it was over. There I was, dumped out in the tray, adorned with “Mark’s Schedule Toyota Saturday February 20.docx” I would have started crying, but I was just a fucking sheet of printer paper. We don’t cry. It’s just not what we do.

I was whisked out of the printer tray by Mark, who, I guess, wanted to look at his itinerary. He was going to Daytona Beach, which is in Florida, to work on a promotional photo shoot that Toyota was doing the day before the Daytona 500. He surveyed my now deflowered surface, made a “harumf” sound, shoved my in a leather folder, and put the folder in his bag.

It was dark for a long time. When I next saw the light I was lying in a table. The smells of a hotel continental breakfast found their way to my…oh yeah, I don’t have a nose. But it was one of those good continental breakfasts with powdered eggs and pancakes. Mark was munching on some of the eggs, which he had doused in catsup because, you know. There were other people around the table. They were talking about some photographer, who they were supposed to meet later that morning. They all got up to go, and as Mark was beginning to close his folder, one of the other people at the table said, “Oh wait, we need a sign for the car.”

There was a moment of confusion, I could tell everyone was really thinking hard. Then Mark said, “I’ve got a sheet of paper.” He pulled me out from the folder. “Here,” said the first person. That’s when I saw it. She was holding out a king-size black Sharpie. I had goosebumps on my smooth surface as the morning sunlight fell through the sliding glass door, making its way through the lobby and landing on the table on which I had been laid. Mark said, “Thanks.” He took the Sharpie and uncapped the magnificent specimen.

He flipped me over so that I was lying face down on the surface of the table. I was glad, because then Sharpie wouldn’t see the schedule that had been inked onto my front. I breathed in anticipation. I felt Mark’s hand steady me as he brought the wet black tip down. I closed my eyes, and the ink started to penetrate my white fibers. Sharpie moved over my surface with a powerful confidence. The slow, long strokes, forming the letters, and short bursts of energy doubling back to cross t’s and arch h’s were everything I had fantasized they would be. It only took a couple of seconds to write the words, but it seemed to last forever. The intensity was almost more than I could bear. As Sharpie’s tip was brought down to begin a new word, I let out a screech of ecstasy and quivered. (The quiver was because Mark was one of those people who misinterprets the screech as simply a weird noise that sometimes happens when you write on paper with a permanent marker, and his hand just shook.) He finished the last word, and I lay there exhausted, heaving air into my chest, with my back now adorned, “TOYOTA PHOTO SHOOT”.

It was the most intense couple of seconds that I had ever experienced. Everything I ever dreamed it would be. Afterwards, I was put back into the folder and then into a backpack. Once we were underneath the stands, I was took out again and stuck face down against the back windscreen of the SUV, held in place by the windshield wiper. The markings on by back were there for the world to see, and I wasn’t ashamed. If more papers could have such an intimate, emotional, analog experience, I think the world would be a better place. Swiping through pages left and right spewed out by an ink jet is no way to go about intimacy. But what do I know, I’m just a sheet of paper.

They forgot about me when they left. I held on for a little while before someone hit the button to clean the back window. The window washer fluid destroyed my structural integrity, and the wiper blade tore me to shreds. But it was all worth it, for those brief couple seconds with the Sharpie.

Our sheet of paper, as seen on the back of the SUV underneath the speedway.

Sheet of Paper, 2015-2016

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