A dog’s tail


This story’s not easy to tell
Though it’s one that I know very well.
It’s like seeing a tree
When you’re bursting to pee
But it’s too far – that’s one kind of hell!

It started a long time ago.
I’m a dog, as you probably know.
When I was a puppy
My boss was a yuppy;
A self-absorbed young so-and-so.

When he took me out for a walk,
He’d always ignore me and talk
Into his damned phone
As if he were alone.
If I pulled on the lead, he’d just gawk.

One morning I thought of a plan,
A way to get back at this man.
Revenge I would get.
But I won’t tell you yet.
I’ll reveal all as soon as I can.

I decided that, out of the blue,
I’d jump up, like happy dogs do.
That might leave him prone
Then I’d grab his phone
And give the damned thing a good chew.

It causes me anguish to say
That it didn’t work out quite that way.
It shocked him indeed,
He let go of the lead
So I ran. I now live as a stray!

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 372 published on this site earlier this week.


Kreative Kue 372

Kreative Kue 371 asked for submissions based on this photograph:


John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

That Thing by John W. Howell © 2022

“What is that thing?”

“I wish I knew. I want a photo of it, though.”

“Yeah, Me too.”

“What if it comes this way?”

“I would not wait for a second shot.”

“All those people are beginning to run.”

“I see that. Might be time to move too.”

“Come on. Just a few more.”

“One question.”

“Yeah, what?”

“What’s the use of taking photos if we don’t know what it is?”

“We may be able to figure it out later.”

“Wait. I think it is coming into view. The smoke has cleared, and I think I can make it out.”

“Quick, tell me.”

“Keep snapping. This is going to be great.”

“I’ve seen that thing before.”

“You sure have. We saw it in Ghost Busters.”

“It’s the Stay Puft marshmallow man.”

“And he’s coming this way. We are going to be famous.”

“Stay out from underfoot.”

“Time to move. Why am I thinking of Hersey chocolate and gram crackers right now?”

“Forget smores and run.”

“After you.”

My effort was:

Every picture tells a story

“You are fortunate, my friend.”

“How so?”

“You will capture a superior image with your expensive camera than I will manage with my phone.”

“And yet your phone probably cost three times what this camera did.”

“That is there, but although your camera can take much better photographs, my phone does many more things than just capture images. I can also manipulate the photographs within the phone and send them to my friends and so on.”

“You’re right, Sunil. It’s rightly said that the best camera is the one that you have.”

“That is a wise saying indeed.”

“In any case, I’m not focused on shooting what you are.”

“You are not shooting the beautiful sunset? What, then, are you picturing?”

“I have a blog on which I set a challenge. Each week, I display a photograph and ask my readers to write a story or a poem based on what they see.”

 “And do many people accept this challenge?”

“Not so many. It varies, but never more than three or four. I always try to do something, but sometimes it’s just mine and one friend who always joins in. I enjoy reading what he writes, though. He usually sees something in the photo that I miss.”

“What type of subject do you use in these photographs?”

“Anything. Sometimes people, sometimes dogs, sometimes just scenery.”

“And what is your subject this time?”

“The setting sun is indeed the main focus of the picture, but what interests me is what is happening on the periphery, away from the main subject. The in-your-face brilliance of the sun and the lines of the buildings, as well as the pathways, the gorgeous floral displays and the fabulous topiary all lead your eyes to that focal point. But that’s not what interests me. If we look at something, the actual area of focus is very small. If something moves away from that small area, we have to look at it, refocus on it to see it clearly. The camera picks up everything in its field of vision, but we still need to consciously look away from the point to which we are drawn before we can clearly see other parts of the image.”

“That is very true, and a good lesson in optics or psychology or something, but I still don’t know what you are seeing through your lens.”

“I’m waiting for the scene to play out. I shall take my picture when the conditions are as I expect them to be.”

“What conditions? What do you expect them to be? What are you waiting for?”

“You see the guy in the stripey top?”


“I believe the one behind him, the shifty-looking fellow in the dark blue top and the cap is up to something and I’m waiting for the balloon to go up.”

“What balloon?”

“There is no balloon; that’s just a figure of speech. I believe Mr Shifty is about to attack Mr Stripey and steal his bag. I’ll take my shot when that happens.”

“Wouldn’t you try to stop him?”

“Where’s the story in that? Besides, whist I’m stopping him, I can’t be taking a photo, can I?”

“True. May I offer a suggestion?”

“Of course.”

“Would it not make for a better story if you shoot it now, before the attack? That way, the reader’s imagination can supply the outcome.”

“Sunil: we’ll make a blogger of you yet.”


Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put your offering (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before Sunday evening UK time. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next time.

Sunday Serialisation – Back Paige. Chapter one, part two.

Andrea instructed the computer to seal the room. Meredith looked at her with raised eyebrows and an intake of breath that indicated she was about to say something. Andrea looked back at her boss, raised a finger and shook her head.

“As some of you know,” she said, nodding towards J’Lana and Farid, “we are in possession of information beyond that which was aired at the previous meeting.” All eyes were fixed on her. “Satellite signals indicate what appears to be a small, remnant humanoid population on an island analogous to Kalimantan which represents on our Earth one of the most remote outposts of human settlement, including some groups that have had little or no contact with other humans. It is likely that they were protected from the worst depopulating effects of the pollution by the heavy foliage where they lived.”

“What does this mean to the project?” Meredith asked, “I thought this planet was unpopulated, from a human point of view.”

“As did we, Admiral. As did we.” Andrea paced slowly around the table. “Farid: this is where you come into your own. I want a party to go to the planet to observe this group and report back. You lead. You must not, under any circumstances, make contact with these people.”

“Who do you see going with me, Ma’am?” Farid asked.

“I’ll let you know when I’ve made that decision, Lt-Commander. Meantime, work with your wife and the archaeologists to come up with a plan of action and present it to me tomorrow at oh-nine-hundred. Will you still be with us, Admiral?”

“I’d love to be, but I have meetings all day tomorrow. I’m afraid I shall have to leave you this evening. Make sure you keep me in the loop, though.”

“Of course. J’Lana: work with your teams to give me options. Whatever we find out about these people, I’d like to think we can come to an arrangement to settle here. If not, I’ll need a list of other planets to look at. If there’s nothing else?” She looked around the table. Each officer present seemed deep in thought but no-one attempted to speak. “Good,” she said, “In that case, thank you, people – we are dismissed.”

Andrea turned to leave the room, accompanied by Meredith.

“You sounded a little hesitant to me in there, Andy,” Meredith said as the trio re-entered the Rear Admiral’s office, “Are you sure you’re up to this?”

“Permission to speak freely, Ma’am?” Andrea asked, sitting at her desk.

“Of course.”

“What are you suggesting – that I’m not fit for the job?”

“Merely that a few short years ago you were engaged as a mathematician; a gifted one, I’ll grant you; but a mathematician, nonetheless. This project is opening up areas where you have no experience. I’m concerned for you – I don’t want to see you burn out.”

“Admiral Winstanley: I am supported by the top brains in pretty much every field; astrophysics, exobiology, exobotany, alien archaeology, alien relations—“

“But they’re all theoretical, Andy. None of them has any real-world experience—“

“Had, Admiral.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“None of them had any real-world experience. My astrophysicists have inferred, discovered, investigated and taken us to planets previously unknown to mankind; my exobotanists have studied flora naturally occurring on other planets as have the exobiologists with native fauna; and the archaeologists have undertaken digs and studies on planet that dwarf anything ever done on Earth. As for alien relations: Farid has yet to communicate with new civilisations, but he is as up to date as any of us with his knowledge of the Jinthae and the Borborygmi. Can you name a replacement crew that has equal, leave alone better credentials?”

“I wasn’t concerned for your crew, Andy. They were all hand picked; the best of the best. As were you. But their experience is not yours. Their accumulated knowledge is not yours and yet you have to make vital decisions every day.”

“Which I do with input from the best of the best. That is what I understand leadership to be all about. If you are worried about my ability to do the job; why did you put me here in the first place, and who do you suggest could make a better fist of it?” Andrea stood, leaned towards Meredith, her hands rested on her desk. “Do we have all the answers? No, we don’t. We don’t even understand some of the questions. But are we learning as we go along? You bet your life we are. And don’t forget, Admiral, we have all the knowledge, experience and wisdom of the Jinthae to call on, if we need it.”

“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear, Andy. I can go home now, knowing this project is in the best possible hands. Can you have my bags taken to the transport bay? I’m ready now.”

Andrea relaxed, sat back down and gave the order to housekeeping. “I owe you an apology, Meredith,” she said quietly, “I should never have spoken to you like that.”

“You should and I’m glad you did. I questioned your ability to do your job and you mounted a robust defence. Well done, Rear Admiral. Carry on. We’ll talk later.” And that said, Admiral Meredith Winstanley stood and left the room.