New Voices: “Paper Fan” by Dinah Cox

April 26, 2021

The early summer heat can be oppressive already, so why not cool off with Dinah Cox’s “Paper Fan,” this week’s New Voices story. Lauren’s roommate Angelique—overbearing, over-caring, perhaps over the line—has an idea for a fan made from 3D-printed parts. Read on, as long as you promise not to steal her idea!

Angelique has invited me to her uncle’s lake house in order to stage an intervention. The lake house is very hot. In the corner, Angelique has positioned an oscillating fan, not one made from the magic of a 3-D printer, but one from Walmart, made in China by people Angelique believes in need of therapy.

Not the object, but the idea for an object, blueprints for an oscillating fan made from the magic of a 3-D printer. “It’s my idea,” she says at the board meeting. “Don’t steal it.”

I don’t go to board meetings, but my roommate does. She’s too young for board meetings, but she doesn’t care. Her name is Angelique. Everyone calls her Angel, and I have some idea why. They call me Turkey Lurkey, but my name is Lauren.

Angelique thinks I need to become more involved in the community. I think she needs to go jump in a lake. One thing she’s heavily involved in is community advocacy. She advocates for members of the community. One of the ways she does this is to turn her uncle’s lake house into a community center, a safe space, the sign says, for members of the LGBTQ community. Angelique herself has a steady boyfriend who lives in another state. They video chat.

“What are you wearing?” Angelique says into her laptop. They’re sharing a long-distant candlelight dinner—Subway sandwiches—at their respective desks.

“Can’t you see what I’m wearing?” her boyfriend replies from the screen.

“No, I mean, what pants are you wearing?”

“Oh,” he says. “Jeans.”

His name is Brett, and he acts like someone named Brett. He wears a lot of jeans.

Angelique and Brett are getting married as soon as he finishes his internship in another state. I’d tell you which state, but it’s too boring. I’d tell you what kind of internship, but you can probably guess: a really important internship. As our evil president might say, a very big deal.

But back to the oscillating fan made from the magic of a 3-D printer. These ideas are in development. Angelique is working on a prototype. She invented this notion, she says, because we live in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma is very hot. This is life-saving technology, she says. True innovation.

To continue reading “Paper Fan” click here.


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