Kreative Kue 164

Kreative Kue 163 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

My thanks to John W Howell, author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, and who blogs at Fiction Favorites, who sent:

Das Machine by John W. Howell © 2018

“SICWK 302 calling base.”

“Go ahead 302.”

“I have made a safe touchdown and am now active.”

“We copy that 302. We are receiving an image now.”

“I hope to be able to explain it, base.”

“Yeah. The monitors are showing a carbon unit.”

“Copy that, base. It looks to me like one of the life forms on this planet.”

“Can you tell if it is an intelligent life form? ”

“It hasn’t moved in quite a while. It does have unusual facial features. It almost looks like it is trying to determine something.”

“What form did you elect to take?”

“They have something here called an ATM. There were so many I decided to take that form.”

“What is the purpose of this ATM?”

“It is a reservoir for paper.”


“Yes. My sensors determined that this planet has little pieces of a compound of fibers that the inhabitants use as currency to barter for goods and services.”

“You sound like you know a lot about it.”

“They also have an intelligent being here called Google. This Google knows everything. I believe it is the repository for all knowledge.”

“Well thank the planets you have help. Has the life form moved?”

“No. It is still staring at something on my face.”

“What is on your face?”

“I had to replicate a screen. It gives instructions on how to use the ATM.”

“Why is the life form staring then?”

“Maybe there is a language problem.”

“What language did you use.”

“Ours of course.”

“Um, 302?”

“Yes, base.”

“What are the odds a life form on a distant planet will be able to decipher Scrungy?”

“Google said Scrungys are everywhere. This thing still hasn’t moved. Maybe it is not viable any longer.”

“I’m so glad we sent you on this important mission 302.”

“Why, thank you.”


My effort was:

Gimme the money

“Is it just me, or is this machine useless? I mean. Isn’t it supposed to give me money? I thought that’s what these machines were for.”

“It is. What’s happening?”

“It just keeps saying something on the screen.”


“I can’t tell.”

“What do you mean, you can’t tell. Is it in English?”

“I don’t know if it is or not. I can’t read it.”

“Put your reading glasses on, Granddad.”

“No. I only wear those for reading books and papers, not for watching the telly.”

“That’s not a TV, Granddad. It’s a monitor.”

“What’s the difference?”

“For a start, you wouldn’t be that close for watching the TV, would you?”

“Wouldn’t need to. This screen’s too small, so I’ve got to come closer. Besides which, all the buttons are here. I’d need a remote to do it all from my chair, wouldn’t I? Honestly, you kids think you’ve got all this off pat, don’t you? But you don’t think; you don’t use your noddle. You can’t see the obvious that’s right in front of your face.”

“Neither can you, apparently, Granddad.”

“I certainly can.”

“Not without your reading glasses, you can’t.”

“Alright. If it’ll get you off my case—”

“Off your case? Who’s on your case?”

“You are. Going on about reading glasses all the time, just because this machine is too dim and out of focus.”

“Is it just the screen that’s out of focus?”


“Mostly? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, the print’s worn off on the buttons and things around. It’s quite an old machine, you know.”

“Is that your reading glasses you’ve got on now?”

“Yes, it is.”


“And what?”

“Any clearer?”

“Clear enough to see that it’s all written in some sort of code I’ve never seen before.”

“Let me look… That’s not code, Granddad, it’s Hindi.”

“How am I supposed to read that?”

“You aren’t. You’re supposed to select your own language.”

“Okay, I’ll try. What do I call it?”


“Well, if I’m supposed to ask it for English, I have to call it something. Like that thing you gave me for Christmas, where I have to say ‘Hey, Google’ to let it know I’m about to ask it something.”

“You don’t talk to this one, Granddad. You press the button for the language you want.”

“What button?”

“Look; there. You’ve got four buttons on the left and there’s a flag beside each one. You just press the button next to the language you want.”

“That’s flags, not languages.”

“Do you recognise any of the flags, Granddad?”

“Yes, three of them. The second one is the Union Jack—”

“Union Flag, Granddad. It’s only the Union Jack when its flown on a ship.”

“Don’t care. There’s that one, the French one and the German one. Don’t know what that one on top is.”

“That’s the Indian flag. So, which button are you going to press?”

“Which one is for English?”

“The Union Flag, Granddad. That’s our flag. It means English.”

“Alright. Don’t go on so. There, I’ve pressed it… Oh! It all makes sense now. So I put the card in there…”

“That’s right.”

“Then I have to key in my code. What’s my code?”

“I don’t know.”

“Oh, it’s in my book. Hang on… There it is. Okay, done that. Then tell it how much I want. How do I tell it a hundred pounds.”

“That’s about nine thousand Rupees. Tell it ten thousand.”

“Ten thousand? I haven’t got that much in the bank.”

“Rupees, Granddad. Ten thousand Rupees. That’s about a hundred and fifteen pounds.”

“Then why don’t they say so?”

“Because they don’t use pounds.”

“Well, maybe they should. There goes, ten thousand. Oh, look! It’s given me a load of notes.”

“Let’s take them, Granddad. We’ll go back to our guide and talk about what we have to spend them on.”

“Hundred pounds? Not all that much, is it. Will it last us the week?”

“If it doesn’t, we’ll get some more.”

“And I’ll tell you how to use the machine properly next time!”

“Of course, Granddad.”

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 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 – pingbacks don’t often work.

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.


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