Kreative Kue 226 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.
DYI by John W. Howell © 2019
“Hmmm. This looks interesting.”
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, hi. I’m just getting my outdoor light installed.”
“Is this going to be your patio?”
“Yeah. I have all the support bars in place. The concrete guys are coming tomorrow, so all I have to do is wire up this lamp.”
“Oh, I see. It is a pole lamp, and you are wiring the base.”
“I didn’t know you were an electrician.”
“My goodness. You sure you know what you’re doing?”
“I have my instructions right here.”
“Can I look?”
“These are in French.”
“Yeah, I know. I got this terrific deal on Amazon. Free shipping too.”
“But, the instructions are in French.”
“Yeah, they didn’t say that in the description.”
“How are you going to do this?”
“Normally I don’t read instructions anyway so I’ll just hook it up the way I think it will work. Look at there slots. I’ll just match the slots on the base with those on the lamp. Easy peasy.”
“Doesn’t ‘Installation professionnelle requise’ mean professional installation required?”
“I don’t know. I don’t read French.
“I think I would call an electrician. You could cause a short which could cause a fire.”
“Oh, stop. I’ve done this a hundred times. So there all hooked up. Now to test.”
“Well, at least you have a tester.”
“No, I don’t. I’m just going to switch on the light.
“No problem I’ll just throw the switch here on the lamp. There see. Great light. Whoops. What happened?”
“You better turn around. I think I see smoke in your garage.”
“Whoa. I see smoke in a lot of garages.”
“Nice job. I think you took out the grid. I hear sirens. This could be bad.”
“Why did you let me hook that thing up? You knew it was dangerous.”
“Well, see ya. I gotta get home and put out a fire. Call if you need bail.”
This week, from The Dark Netizen, a short tale.
This is tricky.
There are way too many wires here. Which one do I cut to defuse the bomb? Well, the manual says I should cut the red one. But, there are two red wires here. The contingency calls for cutting the green wire. There isn’t one! Think..Think. Got it! Green is a mixture of blue and yellow. I should cut those wires together. One…Two…Three…
*beep beep boop boop BOOM*
“Trainee, if that was a real life situation, we would all have been blown to smithereens. You fail this test!”
My effort was
Tell me again; why is the black one connected to the front when all the rest are at the back?
No, it isn’t obvious. Would I be asking if it were?
Alright. There are four connecting blocks—
No, four. As I’m looking at them, the two on the right have brown wires coming in the back.
Hard to tell. If pressed, I’d say the one in the first block—
Yes, the rightmost one; is maybe a shade lighter than the second one. The third block has the earth wire, the green-and-yellow one, and the furthest left has two blue wires.
Yeah. The slightly paler one is coming from the same cable as the paler brown one. The darker blue and darker brown are coming from a hole in the back of the unit, as is the black one that’s inexplicably joined to the same block as the pale brown one.
No, I can’t send you a picture of it.
Because, for reasons that are beyond my ability to fathom, there’s no camera on my house phone. Okay?
The earth cable? God knows. It’s coming from the same direction as the pale pair, but they’re in a two-wire cable. The earth cable just disappears into the wall.
No, I’m not planning to break the wall open to see where it goes. You’re the electrical gurus, you tell me.
No idea. What’s a ring main?
Whoosh. Right over my head, mate. You’d do as well explaining it in Kiswahili.
No, I didn’t mean I want you to.
Stop it! Stick to English, but choose words I’m likely to understand.
Well, that’s an option, and I suppose I could, but the electricians around here are only interested in big jobs. We’re so far out in the sticks that asking an electrician to change a fuse means at least half a day’s work by the time he’s got here from the city. That’s why I’m calling you.
Hahaha! You want me to look it up on your web site? Maybe I will.
Let me finish. Maybe I will in five years, which is when they reckon we’ll get the internet here.
I told you, it’s for an outside light. Mains powered, PIR activated.
Uh-uh. And if I do that, how confident are you I won’t electrocute myself?
So, you’ll stay on the line whilst I do it. And if I do electrocute myself, what will you do; grab the first flight across the Atlantic and drive three hours from the airport to come and rescue me?
Oh, you’ll call an ambulance. What will you dial?
No, nine-one-one won’t help. I’m in a different country, remember? On a different continent.
In that case, you can stuff it. I’ll buy a solar-powered or battery-operated one. You can have this one back.
What do you mean, no refund?
I invalidated the refund policy by opening the box? How else would I find your phone number?
Do you enjoy bad publicity? One-star reviews?
It certainly sounds like you do.
No, but I will be able to in five years’ time when I get the internet!
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 email@example.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 next Monday.