Kreative Kue 204

Kreative Kue 203 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
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.

Captain Tom by John W. Howell © 2019

“Captain Tom this is Houston.”

“Go ahead Houston.”

“Is this Captain Tom?”

“Excuse me but are you new to the team?”

“Yes. Why do you ask?”

“Do you know how many of us are here?”


“In outer space.”

“Well, I’m quite sure we are not alone if that’s what you mean.”

“Okay let me start over. You called for Captain Tom. I answered. You then asked if I were Captain Tom.”

“Yes so?”

“Who the heck do you think I am?”

“No need to be prickly. I was just following protocol.”

“I’m sitting in this cramped capsule which as far as I know is the only cramped capsule orbiting the Earth right now. You called me and then have the cheek to ask if I am Captain Tom.”

“I’m beginning to see your point. You are on a mission, and the only one on that mission, and I called you.”

“What does that tell you?”

“Since we are on the same frequency I would guess that you are Captain Tom.”

“So why did you ask? I know I’m making a mountain out of a hillock but with nothing else to do and it being so damn cold, I am curious.”

“That is an interesting saying you have there.”

“Which one.”

“Mountain out of a hillock.”

“Yeah, so?”

“The saying we have is “mountain out of a molehill.”‘

“For heaven’s sake. What’s the difference?”

“Also you mention the cold.”

“Yes, I did. It is freezing up here.”

“What have you done with Captain Tom?”

“Here we go again.”

“It would not be cold unless the integrity of the capsule has been compromised.”

“If that were to happen you would see it on the telemetry.”

“Unless someone knows how to intercept the signal. Now before I hit the abort button tell me what you did with Captain Tom.”

“I ate him.”


“He was just too tempting. Like a sardine in a can. In case you wonder, he was delicious. Go ahead and abort. I’ll just be waiting up here for the next one. TTFN.”

“TTFN? Your call sign?”

“No. Ta Ta For Now. Zoraggeue out.”

Meanwhile, my effort was:

Andy’s first flight

“Andy, look out of the window. Give me your impressions of what you see.”

“It looks so peaceful. Just like—”

“I know; cotton wool.”

“How did you know I was going to say that?”

“It’s what everyone says the first time they look down on clouds.”

“Just goes to show it’s true, doesn’t it?”

“There is a resemblance, I’ll admit. Like so many things, though, when you’ve seen it a few times, it becomes commonplace, part of the environment. What started as a thing of wonder just is.”

“Just is what?”

“Just is. That’s it. Listen. The first time you saw snow-capped mountains up close. Do you remember what you said?”

“Of course. I said it was like a perfectly iced cake: flawless, clean, bright and inviting.”

“And what did you say to me last month when we were stood on the bridge across Lake Geneva, looking at the Alps?”

“Looks cold.”


“Was that observation not valid?”

“It was.”

“Then what’s your point?”

“My point is that when you look at something with fresh eyes, it’s normal to compare it with something with which you’re familiar, maybe even to romanticise it.”

“It’s in my nature to romanticise things. I have studied the romantic poets in great depth. Through the words of a poet, the blind can be allowed not to see, but to appreciate what surrounds us. Imagine for a moment that you don’t have the power of sight. We’re standing on that bridge in Geneva and you ask me what’s around us. Which would be most helpful, a poetic description of the scene, employing metaphors that will mean something to you – or a simple statement that it’s cold and hilly.”

“I take your point, but if I were blind from birth I would certainly be able to feel that it was cold, and it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that I would sense the terrain from the way sound was echoing around. Maybe I could even guess that there was snow on the mountains by the way the snow absorbs sound.”

“So am I wrong to employ poetic metaphor to define what I see?”

“I wouldn’t go that far. The use of metaphors is good, for the reasons you just gave. What I would suggest, though, is that you acquaint yourself with established and commonly-used metaphors so you can avoid the cliché trap. And don’t restrict yourself to the work of the romantic poets. Extend your reading to other forms of literature.”

“I still have much to learn, don’t I?”

“You do, Andy, but be patient. Your interaction, personality and emotion modules are still developing. Trips like this, exposing you to new experiences, sights and sounds are an important part of your calibration and learning.”

“Thank you.”

“Engage sleep mode now, Andy.”

“Good night, Doctor Stokes.”

“Good night, Andy. Dream of electronic sheep.”

img_0317aOn 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.

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


  1. Pingback: Kreative Kue 205 | Keith Kreates!
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