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Holly Keys | Electric Cereal

Author: Holly Keys

Holly Keys is an Australian writer living in New York. She hopes to be part of the poetic revolution. She has been published in New Wave Vomit and Thought Catalog. She can also be found on Tumblr.


I drew a picture of an almost alien and decided to give him a back story.

An alien was trying to be human and succeeding, mostly.
He wore a wig to cover his bulbous head.
He wore a pair of thick glasses and a fake nose.
Most people didn’t look twice.
Transfixed by their screens most people didn’t look twice.
One person looked twice but not three times.
The alien felt at home on earth because most people didn’t look twice.


There is nothing more unsettling than seeing someone walking alone with a smile on their face. I’m not referring to your regular ‘life is nice’ type smile, but a big one, a smile with teeth. It makes the person look psychotic and makes those around them uncomfortable.

Fran always walked around with a big smile, a smile with teeth. It made her look psychotic. She wasn’t psychotic though. Her mind was relatively dull actually. She was entirely self-absorbed and this naturally made her boring to other people.  Fran didn’t think she was boring though.

Fran liked having conversations in her head. Conversations with other people were boring; conversations with herself however were of constant amusement. I suppose they weren’t really conversations, rather she imagined a voice talking in her head, about herself. The voice was a choice; she didn’t believe the voice was there of its own accord. It was just a way to pass time whilst walking to and from work at the sock shop. She sold socks. She wasn’t passionate about it and she didn’t get paid well.

Fran was 22 and bored. She hated socks, she didn’t wear them anymore. As a result she had to throw out a lot of her shoes. She had a boyfriend, Jerry. She didn’t like him but he was good looking. She wasn’t depressed, she liked herself a lot.

Fran imagined she was a famous tambourine player and the voice in her head was that of a critic, or of many critics. She didn’t imagine herself as being overly famous but thought of herself as an underground favorite. A darling of the intellectual music lovers.

“Fran is the best thing to happen to music since Bob Dylan went electric. She is the perfect combination of experimental fun and astute social commentary. Her work is extremely ahead of its time and has a real urgency to it; I haven’t heard something this exciting in a long time. The shakes of her tambourine reveal a lot about the postmodern condition. Fran might just change the world.”

Having a voice in her head saying these things to her is what caused Fran to smile with teeth whilst walking alone on the street. For some reason she didn’t feel inclined to pick up a tambourine though. She had never picked up a tambourine. She had never played any instrument on stage. She had never been on a stage. She thought that if she did go on stage with a tambourine that is the type of thing people would say though. Fran didn’t not pick up a tambourine as some sort of nihilistic protest to deny the world her talents. She genuinely just couldn’t be bothered picking up a tambourine. Fran was satisfied with the voice in her head knowing how amazing she was.

“Fran turned the New York music scene on its head last night with a performance that can’t be described accurately with words. The crowd was enthralled. It was as though Fran was showing us the future. She is the future, Fran and her tambourine.”

Fran was a bit of a narcissist.