The New Thirsty Lex

Christine Hahn

The New Thirsty Lex


We were lush in it. Days were passed with lolling tongues swilling “ooms” and “ahs” and we were quick to call bits of us “uvula” and “areola.” The swim of language pressing towards the brims of mouths gave us ripe judgment. In the feast of these times, adolescents gave shore to waves of “uh” and exaggerated “eww,” and courted each other with fingers on foreign lips, and if “qwah” was spoken, reputations were gained. Children in gated yards opened their voices with jump-rope frivolity.

We thrust pronouns on the minutia, divided bodies into sounds. Songs with “la,” with “tra” and with “ooo.” The market of continuous radio. The profit of noise, an economy of sound.

U was first. Reports detailing a “persistent toxic lingual contamination” spread through the lines of news.

The “presence of sonar signals”


The vowel-keepers first noticed the erratic behaviors. The fifth vowel, characteristically known to engage in symbiotic relationships with other letters, namely Q, took to systematically disengaging itself from the others. Pods were formed. The “ewes” seemed intent on shoring themselves from their homes deep within sentences or in the wells of vocal intention.

The scientists theorized. Correlations were drawn.

A strong sonar presence from the body’s naval center seemed at the root of these bizarre broadcasts. The high-pitched synthetic tones ripped harshly within these large fragile vowels, whose life-ability relied on the maintenance of a deeper tone, on the perseverance of throaty melodic gabble.

When the vowel’s move toward extinction became massive, immediate mandates were drawn. Since extensive lots of money had been invested in these toxic sonic infestations, media pointed hooked fingers towards the smallish gatherings of native speakers, who hoped to reclaim lost traditions by engaging in the rites of vocalization common to their ways. The scarcity of vowels was made clear on front pages, placed side-by-side with photographic evidence of the “heartless” harpooning of this gentle phoneme. Protesters wearing black and grey littered halls as speeches were made from podial stances demanding “Do Not Over-Employ the Vowels!” This distraction allowed the naval emittances to persist and soon alternate plans had to be arranged.

Following the extinction, news media informed their listeners not to worry. As Americans, we are to exist with no deprivation. There was no need to change the ways of speech. Only minor alterations, mostly spelling methods, might need to be employed. An alterance as simple as “yoo” or “owr.”

Homophones might serve new goals. A drawl will be affected. Many were inspired by this constraint and hoped to develop interesting vocalities. Nights were passed inventing ways to marginalize the inconvenience. Less willing to change, we simply grabbed a hearty share of the remaining letters, arranging them to mimic words we might lose otherwise.

A chain effect.


Years passed. The children grew tall with little evidence indicating a grammatical and semantic deficiency. Brilliance in their written speech seemed imperceptibly altered. There was a certain appeal with the newness in syntax and cadence. While the alphabet was flitted with imitative cases, fettered clefts and tears, message transmitting remained relatively intact. We were deafened where repealed letters had nicked and incised the expressive breadth.

The bereavement after the next letter’s disappearance wasn’t immediately evident. Extensive research indicated that the absence created by the missing pair might merely irk many speakers, even if their presence was deemed lacking in necessity. That is, all distinctive yelps, rings, clinks, tinkles, and tweets were decidedly still capable.

A deficiency didn’t appear.

We’ll preserve! The answer was less strange than what we’d initially anticipated. Radicals spread this sentiment, delighting in the enfeebled attack at many ill-minded chiselers. The practical advancements in lavish dialect ceased, we set limits in the ways lips might travel. Palatial vibratings were halted. Sentences escaped; they were harshly reprimanded. The hardship falters beneath the silence. There is a new death.


Extinct Missives


These pidgin inscriptives: Three newly extinct letters keep their expressings clipped. Life is twittering in these lines. Fictive lyrics restricted, we keep lines mined. With incendic fever, we begin fighting.

This is the thirsty lex, the finite script.

Keeping within brevity’s tight bind, pickets erect themselves. Lined & stripped, we strike.  In the end, we still let it slip.

The End


We delete “excess” speech.

Verbs seem fell, enfettered, depressed by deep, secret regrets. Jeweled memes secede. Elders fret & express resentment.

The ex’ed letters render text senseless.