What’s my number?


I borrowed a car from my mate
But it had no front number plate.
I started to worry
But was in a hurry
And couldn’t afford to be late.

The handling left me ecstatic,
It drives itself on automatic,
Could not see the car
And that turned out quite problematic.

As I was approaching the toll
I was passed by a Highway Patrol
The red light on top
Told me I should stop.
The officer thought it quite droll.

To let drivers pass in a dash
A basket is there to catch cash.
I don’t carry money,
Though some think that funny,
I can do without that balderdash.

I know what you’re going to say,
That cash is the best way to pay.
You think it’s fantastic?
I’d rather use plastic
Or an app on my phone any day.

I could only find one useful thing
And threw in a metal keyring.
Although it sounds strange
The machine gave me change
Which I put in my pocket – kerching!

Driving away from the stall
At not too much more than a crawl,
I saw to my rear
The one thing I fear
Nine cars in one grand free-for-all.

Thanks to this little car’s grunt
I avoided that multi-car shunt,
But it beggars belief
That I had all this grief
Coz there’s no number plate on the front.

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 360 published on this site.


Kreative Kue 360

Kreative Kue 359 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

Detente by John W. Howell © 2022

“Did you ever hear the story about stepping on a crack?”

“No. Can’t say I have.”

“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.”

“That’s harsh. Anyway, these are lines.”

“Break your mother’s spine.”

“Come off it. We are not here to discuss fairy tales.”

“Doesn’t matter anyway cause these are shadows.”

“If I may get to the point.”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“We need to figure out boundaries.”


“Yes. I’m tired of you wandering into my space as if it is your own.”

“What do you mean ‘your space.’”

“I was adopted first, so my space is what I choose.”

“That’s a laugh, small stuff. Where do you get this attitude anyway?”

“Around the folks, I have to be nice. Out here, I can be myself, which is someone tired of sharing the land.”

“Do you see all the space here?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Okay, what part do you want?”

“All of it. I need you to move to those hills over there.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You know what? I never thought you would refuse.”

“Well, I refuse.”

“Darn it. I’m used to getting my way. So what do we do now?”

“I didn’t start this, but if you want my advice, we come to a position of mutual tolerance.”



“What do I get out of that?”

“The absence of nasty wounds.”

“Makes sense. Shake on it.”

“How about a wag instead?”


Raymond Walker offered this insight to canine philosophy. Raymond is a prolific author whose main web site is at http://raytwalker.com/. Details of Raymond’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

The conversation of dogs by Raymond Walker © 2022

Lead lines?

Yes, those strange long lines you see on the road as you are out walking, you see them in the park too when the sun is high, they seem to move and change but we see little of them. We can be dragged back with them, evil things but we are dogs and always wish to move on.

I sat on my human’s lap one day as he was looking at ley lines on his PC. The doddery old bugger doesn’t even know that we can read, I think that he just doesn’t know how to spell “lead” These lines are ancient works apparently that humans use to link historic sites that the ancients of their race used in a mystical formula to calculate time periods and the positioning of historic or religious artefacts. I do not know why we put up with humans.

The biscuit and the ball, of course. You know that. We may have the intellect and sensibilities, but the allure of biscuit and ball makes fools of us all. Social, genetic and inbred responses to known stimuli. those homo erectus fools can hardly even smell or hear but they have the hands to make the biscuit and the ball. We have both tried to resist the pull, but it is as inevitable as gravity. We succumb. We fail even intellectual Canis Sapiens such as you Pericles, the epitome of a thinker, a philosopher and a dealer in great deeds, must follow the ball or biscuit. A worthy canine by all standards, a good dog, as the humans would say.

And you Andromeda, A worthy thinker, said with a wagging tail and a butt sniff, Worthy beyond measure/compare. Do you believe in Lead lines, that they draw us ever onward towards the next historical cataclysm? Do you think that lead lines draw us along with those that hold the biscuit and ball towards our doom? Do we have a choice but to follow them when they hold the biscuit and ball?

I have seen the future in their ley lines, the time periods, the geographical positioning. My human uses a device that sprouts words, but I have seen the positioning of those ley/lead lines and indeed there is trouble coming, it squats on the horizon and bears fangs, and it is coming to get them and perhaps us.

Do you feel so Pericles? Do you think that we can be saved? Do you think that cataclysm for humans will apply to us? Will it come soon Pericles? Can we be saved? Can humans die and we not follow?

Andromeda my dear, turn and look down the road. Jump forward quickly and pull the lead lines from your human’s hand. Jump into the pain and effort and break free and then run for your life as I will for mine. Imagine there in front of you, in front of me are the ball and the biscuit.

Breaking free was easy even for the smaller dog as it was unexpected, the humans unaware of our conversation.

Andromeda and I ran like the wind, as though the biscuit and ball were before us waiting to be caught or eaten. We ran and ran and the wind in our faces, cold and chill became a wind from behind us, warm and superheated, our lead lines dragged out behind as we saw the humans turn to face the east and an explosion; deafening to dogs and humans alike tore through the atmosphere. Still, we ran and ran and ran on till eventually I dropped, panting and exhausted and Andromeda, in better condition than I stopped beside me.

We thought of the “lead lines” that dogs immemorial had followed and of course we realised that they were of historical significance. The proto dog, the progenitor dog must have known and given us the lead lines to follow, given us the biscuit and ball and brought us to where we are now.

My effort was:


I heard mother say to the Master last night
That walking two dogs is like flying a kite
I simply don’t know where she gets that idea,
It seems more like knitting, as I shall make clear.

I want you to stand there like Great Uncle Gaston
Whilst I move out thusly… and that’s how we cast on.
Next, you still do nothing; you know what? Just sit.
I’ll circle around you, and voilà – a knit.

Pass under my lead, and I’ll give a twirl
Then come back behind you, thus making a purl.
Then run to the back as fast as you’re able,
I’ll take up position and create a cable.

We know that you limp, whilst I have my twitches
But working together, we’ll make some fine stitches.
Run like for cable but stand still again
Whilst I dive beneath you and hey: There’s a chain!

We’re making good progress; no time to be sitting
We’re not simply walking, we’re doing some knitting.
The length of our walk there’s no reason to stop;
We might make a slip, but never a drop!

You know I would not pull the wool o’er your eyes
I’ve known you a long time, you’re really quite wise
And now you can see, just as I thought you might
That knitting is more fun than flying a kite.


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 on 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 time.

Sunday serialisation – Andrea 15.3

Andrea cover300

Andrea – in search of space, picks up where Making Merry left off.

Fresh from her work on Project Prodigialis, Rear Admiral Andrea Smithson takes command of the Terra II project.

The largest in-system luxury cruise liner had been refitted and recommissioned in the Royal Space Regiment fleet as HMDSV Colin Pillinger. Its mission? To identify, locate and survey a habitable but uninhabited planet which can be populated over time to take pressure off Earth and its resources.



Andrea – in search of space. Chapter fifteen, part three.

Having little else to do, Tarquin shadowed Ishmael for a few weeks. During that time, he mastered the dark arts of allocation of ship’s resources, including personnel, as well as many of the managerial or command functions of his boss’s job. When the day came for the second, more detailed survey of what was quickly becoming known as Earth-2, Ishmael was sufficiently confident in Tarquin’s new-found abilities to leave him in command of C-pill whilst he went off in the Sir Prijs to oversee the surveys. That Andrea had also been doing almost as much shadowing of him as Tarquin had, and had gained an equivalent, possibly superior, understanding of the captain’s role, left Ishmael confident that, between them, the ship might just survive. That said, he did have some back-up measures in place including the ability to MTS back at a moment’s notice.

The day of departure finally arrived. All the equipment needed for an extended survey of the planet had been tested, calibrated and placed on board the cruiser. The scientists and their teams were in position and the Sir Prijs herself was ready to go. Ishmael Al-Kawazi was the nominated commanding officer for the project; Captain Pippington, as master, reported to him – the same relationship Ishmael enjoyed with Andrea.

Having cleared the mothership, the cruiser entered MTS; the displays shimmered and showed a different, though now familiar, star-field.

Sub-Lieutenant Olsson took the Sir Prijs into a surveying orbit designed to ensure that every square metre of the planet’s surface would be visible to the craft’s instruments over a period of days.

Whilst the initial surveying task was being completed – most of it unattended and under computer control – the science teams started to inspect and analyse the results as they came in. The data drawn from the planet was also MTS-beamed to the labs on C-pill so the back-up teams could perform parallel analyses.

As soon as the Sir Prijs returned to the mothership after completing the surveys, Andrea declared a five-day pause to allow the away team to regain strength after the long hours they had worked. Doctors Turner and Green had also counselled their commander that the teams’ minds and bodies needed a few days’ complete rest to recover from the effects of repeated MTS and CAG journeys.

Six days later, all the ship’s senior staff, including the away-team leaders, gathered in the conference room to review the results of the surveys. Jinnis Keet had been invited to attend as an observer.

Following Andrea’s opening remarks, J’Lana Lustra spoke. “My planetary cartographers have put together a three-d holo image of the planet.” She pressed the button on a clicker in her hand, causing a holographic image of a globe about one metre in diameter to hover above the centre of the table.

“That looks like Earth,” Tarquin said, “like home.”

“Doesn’t it, though?” J’Lana agreed, “but it isn’t Earth. Let me zoom in… here.” The image flattened and zoomed in to the Thames estuary. Gasps of surprise came from those who hadn’t previously seen the planet in detail. “London is not there. None of the buildings, none of the bridges. But look at this.” She zoomed in closer. This brought out even more expressions of surprise.

“What am I looking at?” Andrea asked, voicing the question on everyone’s mind.

“This, Admiral, is ruins. Ancient ruins.”

“I can see that. It looks like the ruins of ancient Egypt, Rome or Greece breaking through the tops of the trees. The last remnants of a civilisation that died out—”

“At least two thousand years ago. Yes. That will explain the extent of forestation and the surprisingly healthy eco-systems, the large numbers of animals in areas where they had been almost wiped out. We are looking at our future, the destiny of our planet – maybe two- to three-thousand years into the future.”

“But what happened to all the humans?” Dr Green asked.

“We don’t know that yet, Doctor. Perhaps when we go down to the surface, we may find something, but we don’t currently have the people or the equipment.”

“You’re right, Commander,” Andrea said, “We came with exobotanists, exobiologists, astrophysicists, stellar and terrestrial cartographers and more; but these disciplines won’t help us here. Nothing ‘exo’ is of value.”

“Then what skill-sets do we need? Who can dig out what has happened here?”

“Good choice of words,” J’Lana said, “we need archaeologists and palaeontologists – we need people to dig down and uncover an ancient past.”

Tarquin chirped in, standing, “We need Indiana Jones.”


“Sorry – fictional guy from old films. Dug up relics from civilisations that had been dead for thousands of years. Exciting stuff. Terrified of snakes but great with his whip and had a particular set of skills. Oh, no – that was somebody else.” He looked around and correctly read the expressions on every face. “I know,” he said, “shut up, Tarquin.” He made a zipping motion across his lips with his index finger and resumed his seat.

Ishmael decided it was his turn to speak. “Okay,” he said, “I need a list of all the people on board who have any training or experience in archaeology or palaeontology. There are more than five hundred people here, mostly university educated. I can’t believe that there isn’t at least one person capable of leading a team, even a team of enthusiastic amateurs. Gloriana, how’s the atmosphere?”

“Perfectly breathable, Sir.”

“Great. Let’s get to it. Get the lists to me as soon as you can. Then we’ll gather whoever we have in here and do some brainstorming. All agreed?” No-one argued. “Admiral?”

“Agreed, Commodore. Looks like it’s time for another chapter in this quest.”