Kreative Kue 206

Kreative Kue 205 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
Dad067aJPG
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.

Gone Girl by John W. Howell © 2019

“Papa come quick. Someone has taken Seal.”

“What do you mean taken?”

“She and I were minding our own business, and this brute of a man came and grabbed Seal.”

“Can you take me to him?”

“Of course. Follow me.”

“Not so fast, Angel. I’m more than twice your age.”

“Okay, here we are. Look down there.”

“Oh my gosh. He has her in his hand.”

“I know Papa. I think he might crush her.”

“I wonder what he intends to do. I’ll tell you this though. If he harms one feather on her head, I’m coming for him.”

“How about us taking a pecking run at him.”

“He might harm Seal.”

“I think we could surprise him.”

“too risky. I’ll fly down and see if there is any negotiation possibility.”

“Be careful Papa.”

“Pssst. Seal can you hear me?”

“Oh yes Papa, I can. Where are you?”

“I’m just behind the giant’s head where he can’t see me. Are you all right?”

“I’m just fine. The giant has some delicious seed.”

“You mean you are not a hostage?”

“No. I’m sitting on his hand eating some seed. He came to where Angel and I were playing and put out a finger. I hopped on, and here I am.”

“Can you fly away?”

“Of course.”

“Then do it.”

“And give up this seed?”

“For heaven’s sake, I’ll get you all the seed you want. Just come home.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

“Okay then. Let’s go home.”

“You ought to be spanked, young woman.”

“Why?”

“I told you never talk to strangers.”

“He’s not a stranger. He lives here and puts out seed for us.”

“Still, humans are hazardous animals.”

“I thought he was sweet.”

“That’s cuz you’re an innocent bird.”

“You know humans eat birds don’t you?”

“Ew. They do?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry Papa I won’t do it again.”

“That’s my girl.”

“Papa?”

“What, dear?”

“What kind of birds do humans eat?”

“Those big old chickens and Turkeys.”

“Ew. Let’s get home so I can take a bath.”

“Come on Angel we need to go home.”


Daima Hussain is co-author of Charda Suuraj, a blog that aims to represent Pakistan culture from real Pakistani viewpoint (and features some delicious Pakistani recipes, too).

The Bird and his Man by Daima Hussain © 2019

“Where on Earth did you get these ghastly clothes, Westley?” The man addressed his query to the bird on his hand. He glanced down at his attire with a grimace of disdain. “Oh, the things one must suffer in the name of king and country.”, he sighed melodramatically.

“Oh, shut it Knightley, at least you didn’t have to transform into a bird. And those clothes will make you blend in with the locals.” The bird replied in a posh tone, looking irritated (if is possible for a bird to look irritated).

At this Knightley smirked and agreed, “At least there’s that. How the mighty have fallen! However are you managing Westley? Stonlak told that the time he was transformed to an eagle, his feathers itched terribly. But then again, at he was an eagle – a noble bird – not a sparrow.”  He sniggered, taking mean-spirited amusement in his colleague’s discomfort.

“This form is best suited to the mission objective Knightley, I am not a man who shirks his duty. And may I remind you that I am your superior on this mission, please treat me with the respect due to my station.” Westley replied stiffly.

“At least I didn’t get my position on the Force handed to me on silver platter due to my status of birth. I was promoted to Force Captain on my own capabilities.” Knightley sneered, an ugly look full of both disdain and envy on his face.

Westley the bird, was interrupted before he could defend himself, as at that moment, a disembodied voice spoke up, “T-minus 5 minutes to deployment, Agent Alpha, Agent Beta, report position.”

Immediately the man and bird seemed to come to attention, all traces of irritation or anger gone from their postures. The bird replied first, “Agent Alpha, Codename Westley reporting, code delta-1b48723I489632, ready for deployment, Sir!”

The man followed, “Agent Beta, Codename Knightley reporting, code delta-8h9564E4329795, ready for deployment, Sir!”

The voice replied, “Area is clear, no hostiles, primary scouting was a success, target is at Theta position. Agent Westley, you know your duty. Agent Knightly, do not interfere with the primary objective, observation only.”

The man and bird stood in complete silence as the time ticked down and soon the command was issued.

“Deploy.”


 

Meanwhile, my effort was:

A bird in the hand…

I found this little bird
And I know it sounds absurd
But I caught her eating berries from a bush
She pooped when I first held her
I could tell the fruit was elder
By the colour of what came out of her tush

She’s a black cap, I can see
Juvenile, she has to be
Yes, I know that by the colour of her head
It’ll go black when she’s older
Just the top, not from her shoulder.
If I’d left her in the tree she might be dead.

I grabbed her on a hunch
That the hawk was after lunch
Did I say a hawk was clearly on the hunt?
Some words I mustn’t use
So a better one I’ll choose
Let’s just say a rescue seemed well worth a punt.

I’m aware I’ve saved her bacon
By the chance that I have taken
But I must decide what we should do with her
If it’s safe to set her free
Then I think we’ll all agree
I should do it now, and not succumb to dither.


DSCF0811aOn 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 next Monday.

Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 1.1

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, 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.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.


Knight after Knight. Chapter one, part one.

Immediately after their wedding reception, David and Jess flew off from Hawaii and spent a couple of weeks in our villa in Cyprus. They flew first to Heathrow and enjoyed a couple of days’ layover at Knight Towers, where David introduced Jess to Sophie’s parents. By this time, Eddie and Martha were by then well into their eighties and Sophie and I were happier for them to be where we could keep an eye on them, and where they could be under the care of the KGT clinic rather than left in their cottage in the wilds of north Devon. Not that the care available to them at their home was lacking, but the loads and pressures that public health professionals work under are much greater than our team experience – apart from which, Sophie wanted them with us and who was I to argue?

How it is that in all the time Jess had spent with us she never met Eddie and Martha is something of a mystery, but that was the case. When we told her that she’d be able to meet them, she informed us that she found the prospect somewhat daunting.

“Why is that?” David asked.

“Pogonophobia,” she replied.

“You have a fear of beards?”

“Petrified,” she said.

“It’s true,” Nell said, “When Jess was about six, she was playing alone on my family’s private beach when a large group of heavily bearded men approached. She thought they were after her and has been terrified of bearded men ever since.”

“You never told me this,” David pouted, “So who were they? And what happened?”

“They just ran straight past, waving cheerily and shouting hello,” Jess said, “I found out later that they were some of the competitors in the World Beard and Moustache championships that were being held on the big island that year, just out for an afternoon run. At the time, though, they terrified me.”

“It’s a good job that Eddie doesn’t live up to his name then, isn’t it?” I said.

“Gotcha!” Jess said, landing a healthy punch on David’s arm and laughing.

“So the whole thing was a set-up?” David asked.

“Not entirely. The pogonophobia is real and so is its cause, but well… with your grandparents being called Beard, I couldn’t pass up the chance, could I?”

“And that’s why I love you so much.”

“Is that the only reason?” she asked, coquettishly pouting whilst twirling the end of her hair through her fingers.

“Should we leave?” Sophie asked. We all laughed at that.

Over the years, we had arranged for quite a lot of work to be done in the Cyprus villa, as we planned to spend a lot of our time there, post-retirement. Kanene and Katerina had studied pictures and video of the Reeves’ house and successfully fused it with the décor of Knight Towers and traditional Cypriot styles to produce a home that was as balanced and comfortable as it was unique. In no small part due to the work she and Kanene had done on the villa, Katerina had risen through the ranks of her firm and was now Managing Partner. I FaceTimed her, told her that David and Jess would be arriving and asked her to have the villa opened and ready. In her elevated position, I didn’t expect Katerina to do it herself, of course. She has a number of junior employees who are perfectly capable of opening, cleaning and checking any of the many holiday homes on the island, but she promised me she’d see to it personally. She also said that she would leave a welcome gift for Jess, though she declined to tell me what it would be. I’d need to wait until after the honeymoon to find out what it was. All she would tell me was that she expected Jess would love it.

What about Kanene? Well, I’ll tell you. She who, a quarter of a century ago, was my housekeeper; a village girl and daughter of a witch-doctor; is now Creative Director of KFI (which stands for Kanene Fonseca Interiors), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holy Island Services. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sophie and I spent a few more days with Jason and Nell Reeves before heading back to Knight Towers and picking up the reins of our daily lives. It never ceased to amaze me how well our two families got on together. I mean, our backgrounds were so very different. Let me explain.

Jason Reeves, who now manages and leads the investigation branch of the Oahu County Prosecutor’s office, started life as a street kid. Had he not joined the local police as a patrol officer, he would most likely have joined them as, at the very least, a ‘person of interest’. His parents were what is termed ‘regular folks’: poor but honest. They tried to raise their five kids, three boys and two girls, to be decent, upright citizens, but at an early age, Jason was seduced by the apparent glamour of gang life. A youth supervisor took him under her wing and managed to direct his energies in a more positive direction.

What can we say about Noelani, his wife? The phrase ‘born with a silver spoon in her mouth’ could have been written for her. Noelani Keahi was the sole offspring of one of the island’s wealthiest couples. Initially shunned by her parents when, at seventeen years old, she became involved with Jason, whom they described as a low-life, they came around when they saw what he was making of himself. Eventually, they embraced him into their family and gave the marriage their full blessing. The home in which Jason and Noelani raised Jess was her parents’ wedding gift to them.

You know my story. Papa started as a market trader and eventually, with a lot of years’ hard work, built Knight Global Trading. He and Mama had me late in life and were so involved in the business they had no time for me and packed me off to boarding school when I was eight. I only saw Mama and Papa during school holidays from then on. I always had the feeling I was in the way, back then. Mama died when I was fourteen, and Papa threw himself into the business even more. He’d always been single-minded about the firm, but without Mama, he had nothing else. I spent most school holidays with friends. I made it to Oxford where, at Papa’s insistence, I read African Studies and was inducted into the firm during the holidays – always by Papa’s senior managers, never by Papa himself. After Uni, he packed me off to Dar-es-Salaam to head his Africa operation. I stayed there for more than twenty years until I had the accident that cost me the use of my legs.

Sophie, daughter of Eddie and Martha Beard, is one of nature’s doers. Born and raised in rural north Devon, she had lived most of her early life on the fringes of poverty. She married David Deigh, a jobbing builder who eventually succumbed to AIDS resulting from an infected blood transfusion after a relatively minor accident. When I met her, after my mishap, she was acting as PA to Max Matham, an old Uni chum who eventually joined the firm and is now my CFO. I found out that Sophie was a qualified physiotherapist and happily engaged her to help me with my physio needs. The rest is history.

So you see, we are very different people. Although we are all wealthy, some would say obscenely so, we all approached that status from different directions, and I dare say we have different attitudes to the great privileges and greater responsibilities that come with it.

GTI 5.1

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 five, scene one

The following morning, after a brief meeting with Meredith, Jason and Patsy – both in full dress uniform – entered the first of the three rooms. Seated around the central table were the ten most senior members of One Dimension, the group that was so vehemently opposed to the GTI project.

Jason spoke first. “Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, and thank you all for coming to see us today. The Royal Space Regiment is aware of your reservations—” He was interrupted by a muttering of ten people all talking at the same time, that quickly rose to a crescendo. “We are aware of your reservations about our work,” he repeated, loudly and forcefully, “and we are keen to do what we can to allay your concerns.”

The ten people looked around and at each other. The atmosphere was not one you would call affable.

“Thank you, Commodore,” Patsy continued, “My name is Patsy Pratt and I am a commander in the Royal Space Regiment. Don’t worry; I’m not here to roll out our standard sales patter. It’s not what you need and it’s not what you deserve.”

“That’s right,” Jason continued, “and it wouldn’t show the proper respect for your deeply-held concerns. What we want with you is a dialogue; one-on-one by preference—”

“Why can’t you talk to us all together? Divide and conquer, is that your plan?” one of the group shouted out. The rest joined in.

“We’re not trying to divide you,” Jason replied, “we are determined to show each and every one of you the respect that your positions deserve. Your questions must and will be heard, and they will be answered. Very possibly you all have different questions. Similar, but not identical. As well as being members of a campaigning group, you are all individuals with particular doubts, reservations and worries. We want to address those doubts, reservations and worries and we feel that we can do that better individually than collectively. So, are you ready to hear how we are planning to do that?”

Grunts, nods and assorted reluctantly affirmative noises came from the group.

Patsy tapped the table and continued, “Here’s how we’re planning to handle this. You will start here as a group. I will call you, one by one, into the room next door,” she pointed to the door at the end of the room, “In there, you will see a brief presentation of our project, its aims and objectives. I will then speak to each of you in there and listen to your concerns. I expect it to take no more than five minutes, but we have to be flexible. Whether I affect your viewpoint or not, at the end of the chat, you will pass through to a third room, where Commodore Jason Strangename will be on hand for any group discussion you may want. He will also offer refreshments. Whilst you are waiting to be called, you won’t be left alone. Members of our technical teams will come in and answer any questions you may have that fall within their discipline. You will need to remember, though, that these are technicians, not policy-makers. They will be able to talk to you about such issues as operations, safety and security. I will address matters of policy after which Jason will be available to discuss anything that you wish. Is everybody happy with that?”

More grunts, nods and affirmative noises.

“At your request,” Jason said, “we aim to respect that, for the purpose of this session and only for the purpose of this session, we see you not as individuals but as representatives of a large group of people. For that reason, and again at your request, we shall refer to you by the letter on your badge, not by your name. We will start with Mr A. If you could go through with Commander Pratt, please. I shall remain here until Ms B is called, at which time I will go through to the third room and signal our first technician to come in here. He will bring coffee and biscuits with him.”

“Why can’t we come back in here after we’ve been done?” Mr I asked.

“We thought long and hard about that,” Jason replied as Patsy and Mr A passed through into the interview room, “but finally decided that it would be better if each of you enters the one-on-one stage in the same condition, without anyone else’s take on the chat. We are trying to be fair, as well as respectful. We know that what we are doing represents a major step for the entire human race. Like all big moves forward there are physical and metaphysical risks and there are people with serious concerns. Let’s see how we all feel on the other side, okay?”

In the soundproofed interview room, Patsy was preparing Mr A. He had wanted to be the first through because he saw himself as the leader. Deal with the largest ego first, and the rest should be easier was the strategy agreed by Meredith, Jason and Patsy. On a large screen opposite his seat, Mr A watched a brief promotional film that introduced the borborygmi, the FLATUS and Ubiquitron drives and the reasons for scrapping them. Of course, the incidental music and the subliminal images and messages worked to prepare the subject for the final onslaught of EPHS. Most of the conditioning was delivered through another film that introduced the Jinthae and gap travel. Again, the pictures and descriptive soundtrack were incidental to the message of the film which came courtesy of less obvious media. By the time he was halfway through the second film, Mr A was oblivious to the steel-drum music, and to Patsy’s hand movements both in the air and on his person. [Stop it! No inappropriate touching took place. Application of EPHS includes lightly touching various pressure-points in non-contentious parts of the subject’s body. I’m really disappointed that you could think otherwise]

When the film finished, Mr A sat back, his face flushed. He looked at Patsy with a broad smile and said, “Why couldn’t you have explained it like that in the first place? I can see now why you have to do it. You’d be doing a massive disservice to humanity if you didn’t follow through on this tremendous opportunity. Thank you. Thank you all.” He stood, shook Patsy’s hand and walked through to the departure lounge.

Patsy called for Ms B who came in with Jason. For his part, Jason continued through the room and joined Mr A in the departure area.