Kreative Kue 201

Kreative Kue 200 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

I am grateful to John, Anjali and Kristian for making this a bumper week.


John W Howell is the author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, co-author of The Contract, and blogs at Fiction Favorites.

The Mistake by John W. Howell © 2018

“So who do you have on your list?”

“Looks like an old man named Tasker.”

“Anyone else?”

“Nope. He’s the last one today.”

“Man, Thank the Creator. I’m totally worn out.”

“Me too. We have been at it for thirty days straight without a break.”

“Well, that’s how the collection business goes sometimes. Too bad those other guys got to have a vacation this week. It has made it especially tough on you and me.”

“I’ll second that. What’s say we do this one and then stop for a couple of drinks?”

“You are talking my language. Okay, we are over the guy right now.”

“You being the bombardier, just give me the word and I’ll cut loose.”

“Steady. The guy is out in a field. Another three feet. Steady. Okay, now. Hit the beam.”

“Beam’s away. The guy should be here any second.”

“I hear him in the transport receptacle. Man, he is a noisy one.”

“Let me check it out on the observation screen. Uh-oh-oh.”

“What do you mean, ‘oh-oh?”‘

“If that is the old man Tasker he sure doesn’t look his age.”

“Let me look I have the facial recognition tool. Lucifer H. Beelzebub. We collected the right guy at the wrong time.”

“What do we do now?”

“I don’t know. I never had this problem before.”

“Are we in trouble?”

“For collecting someone who according to my tablet is not due for another seventy Earth years? You tell me.”

“Crap. We need to do something quick. Can’t we dump him?”

“No once collected, always collected.”

“We’ll just have to beg forgiveness.”

“Beg who, Tasker?”

“Naw. He knows nothing. We’ll have to beg the Creator.”

“No way. The last time I was meeting with the Creator I almost pooped my robes.”

“You don’t poop.”

“That’s what I wanted to do. I said almost. Besides you were the guy responsible for aiming. How did this happen?”

“I had my tablet open to the wrong year. Ever since that last download, this stupid thing reverts to a different year when you are sure you have set it right.”

“You better report that to IT. It may be the only way to save our butts.”

“Good plan. I feel better already.”

“What about Tasker? I wonder how he feels?”

“To be in heaven? I’m sure we can sell the advantages. Maybe we can tell him he was lucky we snatched him while he was in grace. Prevented a trip to the other place.”

“You well know he was in grace right up to the last minute or he would not have been on our list.”

“He doesn’t.”

“You want to lie to him?”

“You know, I think I have Post Collection Stress Disorder. I gotta ask for some time off.”

“Good luck with that. We will be lucky to see a vacation day in the next hundred Earth years.”


Anjali Sharma’s blog, Positive Side of the Coin, is one of the most positive and uplifting blogs I have encountered. I am grateful to Anjali for her response to this week’s Kreatuive Kue:

Life is like a Rainbow 🌈

Let’s make this life-like rainbow, full of beautiful experience.

If I burn in sun and get wet in rain, then only I will experience a rainbow in my life.

Take failures as learning and success as motivation to move on. Its failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.

As life is itself like a rainbow. You need both the sun and rain to make colour appear. Don’t give up on yourself just yet, your most amazing life is still ahead of you and become best version of yourself like rainbow.

Thank you for reading ❤️


And this from Kristian, who blogs regularly at Tales from the mind of Kristian.

More precious than Gold

A Rainbow had shown them the target as It shone on the hollow old tree.

“Come on,” said Jake to Tom “Let’s see if it’s true about finding gold at the end of a rainbow.”

They dug for hours.

It provided their Mother with something more precious than gold. A bit of peace and quiet.


Meanwhile, my effort was:

Not a crock of gold

“What is this thing called, Love?”

“Are we playing that game again?”

“What game?”

“You give me the first line of a song and I have to answer it with the start of another song.”

“No.”

“What then?”

“I want to know what this thing is called.”

“What thing?”

“That coloured thing coming out of the tree, Dumbo. What thing do you think I mean?”

“I don’t know. It would probably be easier if I could read your mind.”

“Yeah – what a tale my thoughts could tell.”

“Okay, we’ll do it your way. Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue.”

“Why are there so many songs about rainbows?”

“Maybe it’s because…”

“Gotcha! You aren’t a Londoner.”

“That’s not what I was going to say. Maybe it’s because the colours of the rainbow will show the world to you.”

“Oh, very good. So you think I’m an ignorant savage and you’ve been so many places?”

“Is it true that at the end of a rainbow, you’ll find a pot of gold?”

“You’re not looking forward and you’re not looking back.”

“You’re right. We are going nowhere fast. It’s a rainbow.”

“What’s a rainbow?”

“Do you want a short answer or a proper one?”

“Yeah. I know your proper ones. Give me a short one.”

“What’s wrong with my proper answers?”

“They’re okay last thing at night; help me go to sleep, they do. Look. I don’t need detailed, scientific information. I just want to know what a rainbow is, how it’s formed and what it’s for.”

“And you want that in a couple of short, pithy sentences.”

“Of course.”

“Okay. What is it? It’s an arch of colours visible in the sky. How is it formed? It’s caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere.”

“See? It’s easy.”

“So now you know and understand it?”

“I didn’t say that, did I? But I don’t want you to tell me what refraction and dispersion are, either. So what’s it for?”

“Does it have to have a purpose?”

“Everything has to have a purpose, otherwise why’s it there?”

“Duh! It just is?”

“Don’t buy that. Nothing just happens.”

“Okay. Some people believe that there was once a great flood that was sent by God. When he stopped it, he put that bow in the sky as a sign that he’d never do it again.”

“So there haven’t been any floods since?”

“Of course there have. But not one covering the whole planet.”

“The whole planet? Is there even enough water for that?”

“Who knows? We’re talking about ancient beliefs that are based on stories that may, in some cases, be more illustrative than fact-based.”

“Best not get into religion, though, eh?”

“No. Best not.”

“So why don’t we have rainbows? Is it because we have a don’t have the same god?”

“Take a look around. How many suns can you see?”

“Oh! Where’s the other one?”

“That’s the thing. This world only has one—”

“Which is why everything only casts one shadow?”

“Precisely.”

“Thank Vrag for that. I thought I’d lost one of mine.”

“Come on, my lovely. Time to fly.”


On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). 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, with links to your own blog or web site, next Monday.

I am away from home now until about 9th January. I should have WIFi and/or 4G available for most of the time, so as long as my ancient laptop holds out, Kreative Kues should continue almost as normal.

In the meantime (and in case I end up unable to keep going) I’d like to wish all my followers and readers the very best for Christmas and 2019.

Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 11.2

In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…

A bump in the Knight is now being published here as a serial; one part each Sunday.


A Bump in the Knight. Chapter eleven, part two

Arriving in Honolulu, after clearing immigration and customs, we saw Jason waiting for us. He was carrying a sign bearing the single word ‘Knight’.

Walking up to him, I offered him my hand. He replied with a full-blown man-hug. “Sophie,” he said, hugging her, “you haven’t changed a bit.” Releasing Sophie, he turned to David, offered him a hand, and said, “and you must be David.”

“Yes, Sir,” David replied, “pleased to meet you, Sir. My parents have told me a lot of stories about you.”

“Nothing bad, I hope,” Jason said with a laugh, treating David to a pat on the back of such force that it nearly knocked the lad off his feet.

“No, Sir,” David said after regaining his equilibrium and composure, “only the good stuff.”

“Well said, lad,” Jason laughed, targeting the boy’s back with another hefty pat. David deftly side-stepped the approaching hand and avoided the bulk of its force.

“Why the sign?” I asked, “Did you think you wouldn’t recognise us?”

“Quite the opposite, my friend. My fear was that, after twenty years, you wouldn’t recognise me.”

“No fear of that, old boy. Your profile photo on Facebook is remarkably up to date. Not that I do social media, of course; young David found it for us.”

“Yes, Facebook. That’s Jessica’s doing, I’m afraid. Pushed her mother and me into setting up on it, despite our protestations.”

“Surely she couldn’t force you to do it?”

“Not directly, no. But she threatened to set up accounts in our names if we didn’t.”

I looked at David. His eyebrows were raised and there was a wry smile on his face.

“It looks like Sophie and I might end up doing it soon, too,” I said, winking towards David.

“I wouldn’t have thought of that, Mr Reeves. I think I like Jessica already.”

“We’d better go see her then,” Jason said and guided us towards his car.

Driving to his home, Jason turned to me and said, “I can’t tell you how great it is to see you on your feet, Hannice. I guess Sophie did a good job for you.”

“Sophie and a certain doctor in London,” I replied, “it was an experimental procedure using stem cells to allow the back to repair itself. The op took a few hours, but the recovery and physio afterwards seemed to take forever. It’s all behind us now, though. Just a check-up every year to make sure there’s no regression.”

“Is that likely?”

“Like I said, it was an experimental procedure, so nobody knows. So far though…”

Approaching the house, Jason’s car sent a signal to the gate, triggering it to open so we could drive through. It closed and secured itself behind us after we had passed. We pulled up at the door, where Noelani and Jess came out to greet us. Noelani placed garlands of flowers around my and Sophie’s necks, with a kiss on the cheek and a cheery and heartfelt Aloha. Jess gave the same welcome to David. It was fascinating to see the way they appeared to be in competition for the deepest blush.

As she did at the time of our last visit, two decades earlier, Noelani had laid out plates of coconut balls, macadamia nuts (plain and chocolate-coated), Maui potato chips, shrimp chips and wonton chips and a wide range of chopped, sliced and whole fruits. All this with a choice of Hawaiian beer, Hawaiian wine and Mai-Tai.

We made small talk for a few minutes before Noelani reminded Jason that we had been flying for a long time and should be given time to unpack, relax and catch up on some sleep. David, who had slept like a baby for the entirety of the journey, announced that he was fine, and didn’t need to sleep.

“Are you into computers, David?” Noelani asked.

“Who isn’t? Can’t live without them these days.”

“What do you have with you?” Jess asked.

“Macbook, iPad and iPhone,” David said.

“Do you want to get David into our WiFi, Jess?”

“Sure, Mom. David; grab your kit and follow me. We’ll do them all.”

David picked up his bag and followed Jess, still blushing.

“I think your boy has taken a shine to our girl,” Jason said.

“Do you think he might have just met his first girlfriend?” I asked Sophie.

“Give them a chance, Hannice! They’re both young, they’re both shy, and they’ve only just met.”

“Well said,” Noelani added.

GTI 3.1

Waist of Space, part one of the Unlikelihood series, followed Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley; hapless heroes of the Royal Space Regiment; who were sent on a mission to the Moon from which they were not expected to return. There they met with a group of aliens who had forged a living under the surface of the moon, and whose forbearswere testing a new kind of spacecraft.

In part two, FLATUS, our dynamic duo help the aliens (and the RSR) build their own multi-locatable craft. Will the ships be built and if so, will the drives work? What are the possible effects of having three such craft in space at one time? FLATUS — Fantastically Large Assembly for Travel at Unbelievable Speeds. The most unlikely spacecraft never built?

Part three follows the preparation and development of the Gap Travel Initiative (code named GTI) and the developing relationships among and between species, races and genders. Will humankind achieve the nirvana of limitless travel and if so, at what cost. Stick with Tarquin and Meredith as they navigate their route through an uncertain future.


GTI. Chapter three, scene one

Returning to the moon on the Sir Prijs, Patsy went immediately to her old domain, the galley, and started training the current crop of chefs, sous-chefs and pastry chefs with a view to making them almost, though not quite one hundred per cent as good as she is. Her aim, she explained earlier to Andrea, was to make sure that the quality of produce the crew enjoyed was high enough for her not to be ashamed of the galley crew, but not so high that she would cease to be held in the highest esteem and awe.

Andrea, meantime, spent more time with Jason Strangename, examining and becoming familiar with the theory and practicalities of the SEP generator. During a tea-break, Jason asked Andrea if she’d heard anything more about his possible promotion and reassignment.

“Not really,” she said, “last time I spoke with the admiral, she said that she had a job in mind for you, but I couldn’t draw her on what it was.”

“Not even a hint?”

“No. All I know is that you will lose your command of the Sir Prijs. Are you okay with that?”

“I should say. I didn’t join the Regiment to run a shuttle. If I’d wanted to do that, I’d have stayed on Earth and become a mass transit driver.”

“I take your point, Jason. We’ll both just have to wait and see what the admiral has in mind. One question, though: what about Postlethwaite?”

“SEP, Ma’am.”

“Steady on old chap! That’s a bit excessive, isn’t it?”

“What?”

“You plan to feed him into the energy shield?”

“No, Ma’am. The original SEP field, as envisaged by Doug Adams, wasn’t Shielded Energy Porosity, it was Somebody Else’s Problem.”

“And that’s what Postlethwaite will be…”

“Precisely, Ma’am. Although, in fairness to my successor, getting him transferred off this ship would be more of a kindness.”

“To your successor, if not to Postlethwaite himself.”

“Quite so, Commodore.”

“We’ll talk more on the return journey, Jason,” Andrea said, rising from her comfy chair and heading out of the Captain’s ready room.

The Sir Prijs having reached the transit coordinates, Andrea and Patsy boarded the SOPT and travelled down to the Moon.

They experienced an unexpected situation when trying to land on the SOPT’s allocated spot – the entire area was packed out with borborygmi – except for a small patch in the centre of the crowd that seemed to be occupied by a solitary human.

“Oh, God,” Patsy said, “what’s Tarquin done now?”

“Let’s find out, shall we?” Andrea replied, making a rapid descent to the landing pad, and causing a large number of borborygmi to make a hasty relocation to a less contentious space.

Tarquin came rushing up as the two women were climbing out of the transport.

“Thank goodness you’re back,” he exclaimed.

Andrea looked around and sensed the mood of the gathered crowd. Whatever it was, friendly wasn’t an accurate descriptor to use for it. She moved towards Tarquin and rested her hand … well, you don’t need to know exactly where she rested it, but I believe that if I tell you the effect it had, you’ll guess.

Tarquin fainted.

“Do you want to carry him in, Pats?” she asked, “It looks like the borborygmi aren’t too well disposed towards him just at the moment, and I don’t want to risk him being hurt.”

“Not until we’ve found out what this is all about, anyway, eh?”

“Precisely.”

Patsy picked Tarquin up from the ground and put him into a fireman’s lift to carry him through to the humans’ work area.

“Who is the senior Borborygmus here?” Andrea asked.

“I suppose I am,” Artivon said from the back of the crowd.

“No, that’d be me.” Andrea didn’t recognise the voice.

“And you are?”

“I most certainly am,” he replied, “Malodor Skatole, Chief of Staff to Chief Borborygmus Marshgass IV.”

“You’d better come with me, then, please. And you, Arty.”

“I think you’ll find that, as the Chief’s right-hand man, I deserve more respect than to be ordered around by a human.” The look on Arty’s face was one of pure embarrassment.

“And I think you’ll find,” Patsy said, making small movements with her hands, “that as chief representative not only of the Royal Space Regiment but also of the Earth authorities who, you may recall, are funding everything you are doing here, Commodore Smithson has the authority to make that request and to expect you to carry it out.”

“You’re right,” Maladore Skatole said in a tone of utter resignation, “I apologise.”

“Way to go, Patsy,” Andrea said quietly.

“Two-nil,” Patsy replied.

“Not with you.”

“I’ll explain one day.”

Inside their area, Patsy administered smelling salts to Tarquin while the two borborygmi waited in the ante-room.

“Oh, Andy,” Tarquin said.

“That’s Commodore Smithson to you, Captain,” Andrea said sternly. Tarquin started to cry. “Pull yourself together, man!”

“Yes, Ma’am. Sorry, Ma—”

Tarquin reeled from the hefty thwack across the face that he knew he deserved and which, by virtue of enhanced post-hypnotic suggestion, he truly believed he’d received.

“Report!” Andrea bellowed.

“What?”

“I leave you here, unsupervised, for four days, and come back to find the borborygmi in open revolt – and you at the centre of it. You’re supposed to be Human/Borborygmi Liaison; now tell me: what the hell has happened here?”

“It’s a long story,” Tarquin stammered.

“Give me the executive summary.”

“Ma’am?”

“The short version, idiot.”

“They wouldn’t accept my authority.”

“I’m not surprised. You don’t have any. What were you trying to do?”

“I just went into their labs to inspect them—”

“To what?”

“Inspect them. Listen: my Daddy had lots of chaps from other parts working for him, and he always made it clear how I should treat them.”

“And that is?”

“Iron fist. Not kid gloves.”

“So you went in there like a slave-owner and started lording it over them? I’m not surprised they objected. Look; I’m going to hate myself for doing this, but you will be confined to quarters for the rest of this week. When Patsy returns to Earth, you will go with her—”

“But—”

“But nothing. You will return with her and you will receive appropriate re-training. You will remain on-planet until I see fit to call you back. Patsy, can you escort Captain Stuart-Lane to his quarters, please?”

“My pleasure, Ma’am.”

Accompanied by what sounded like the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah rendered on steel drums, Patsy frog-marched Tarquin through the ante-room and across the complex to his quarters where she deposited him. She then set a security over-ride code on his door, effectively locking him in.

On her return, she found Andrea speaking calmly with the two borborygmi.

“Ma’am?” she asked.

“Stupid boy. Believing he’d been left in charge, he tried to impress me by playing the big I am. Naturally enough, the guys here weren’t impressed. I think I’ve stopped them from lynching him, though.”

“I think we understand,” the Chief’s man said, “that he wasn’t being evil, just stupid.”

“I prefer misguided,” Andrea said.

“Either way, we’ll be happy to have him back here after a period of … re-education. We could have a lot worse – he is mostly a harmless idiot, and he does have his uses.”

“Sometimes,” Andrea offered.

“Yes, sometimes,” the borborygmus agreed.

“Now, before you go,” Andrea said, signalling that she expected them to go, “can you book Patsy in for a refresher course in EPHS, please?”

“But she’s already beyond most of us,” Artivon Grumpblast said.

“I know, but we have a job for her that will require the highest level of proficiency that she can attain.”

“Can we ask what it is?”

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you any details. I can tell you that it involves the benign persuasion of a large group of people around to our way of thinking.”

“Benign to whom? To them?”

“Heavens, no. Benign to us. Mostly harmless to them. It’s about calming a developing situation and making sure it doesn’t escalate.”

“So more like Jedi mind tricks than actual persuasion, then?”

“Look. If we don’t do this, the future of this project could well be in grave doubt.”

“Okay. Nine o’clock tomorrow morning okay?” Arty said to Patsy.

“Whose time?”

“Yours.”

“Okay.”