Homeward bound.


“I cannot believe that you brought Mum out with … TAXI! … all this lot going on.”

“How could I not, Elena? It’s Mum’s birthday after all. We always bring Mum out for a nice meal on her special day.”

“Didn’t you notice that … TAXI – Oh for pity’s sake – TAXI … all the restaurants and everything are shut?”

“Yeah, I kind of heard they might be, but you always hope, don’t you?”

“Is that what you live your life on? Hope?”

“Ain’t nothing better.”

“TAXI! Where in the name of all that’s sacred are all the taxis? … Glory be, Louise, you’re not hoping, you’re wishing.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Let me explain. You hope for a sunny day, an empty road to cross, an open eatery. All these things you can reasonably expect to happen. Not necessary they will, but they can. You wish for a lottery win!”

“Can happen.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Can too. People win all the time.”

“Against odds of seventy-eight gazillion to one, yeah. You can’t live your life on those odds.”

“Why not?”

“Cause you’ll go through life disappointed. Like I am at there being no effing taxis.”

“So how are you going to get Mum home?”

“How am I going to get her home?”

“That’s what I asked.”

“How am I going to get her home? How are you going to get her home, more like it.”

“Why is it down to me?”

“Because it was your idea to bring her out on the one day the city’s locked down on account of the election.”

“Tell you what I don’t get…”


“I don’t get why the city’s locked down for the election. Never is usually.”

“Don’t you watch the news channels?”

“Nah. Boring.”

“If you had, you’d have known that they’re expecting big trouble. Riots in the streets they were talking about. Advised every business to close down for the day, board up if they could.”

“I didn’t know about that.”

“It’s been all over the news for a week or more.”

“So where are all the rioters? Same place as the taxis?”

“Looks like maybe you’re not the only one doesn’t bother watching the news channels. Looks like the rioters didn’t watch, either.”

“Taxi drivers did — ouch!”

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 255 published on this site.

Kreative Kue 255

Kreative Kue 254 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.

Lost by John W. Howell © 2020

“What do you mean you can’t find it? The coordinates are clear.”
“The coordinates are real clear, but we still can’t find it.”
“That’s impossible. Give me an optical scan of the area.”
“Okay. Coming at you.”
“I don’t see anything.”
“That is exactly what I told you.”
“Maybe the solar flares are distorting the picture.”
“Okay. What do you see then?”
“Some vegetation is all.”
“That is exactly what we are seeing.”
“Why don’t you walk a couple of klicks and send us another shot.”
“What? Through the coordinates, you mean?”
“That object is as big as a mountain. It can’t have disappeared.”
“So one would think. Maybe our measuring devices have been damaged. You think the locator on the thing could have gotten damaged in flight.”
“Well, the takeoff was certainly a jolt. You could be right.”
“Not to mention the landing. This planet’s gravity is pretty strong.”
“Okay let,’s assume the locator is faulty. Can you get to higher ground and, maybe you can spot it.”
“Yeah, there is a cliff up ahead. We have to cross what looks like a desert.”
“Go ahead and cross.”
“Okay, the rover made it across the sandy place. It looks like this desert has been dug out of the cliff.”
“Can you climb to the top of the cliff?”
“I have shot a grappling hook and repelling rope up and over. All I have to do is climb up there.”
“You have permission to do that.”
“Okay, I’m here. My goodness.”
“This is a plateau and, it is made of grass.”
“Can you see the sphere?”
“No, but when I rise with my jet pack, I can see a huge hole not too far away. There is some kind of pole rising up from the hole.”
“Send me the picture.”
“Here you are.”
“Look at that. Amazing. Aim the camera up to the top of that pole.”
“I don’t have an LD lens, so I don’t know if you can see the top.”
“Yes, I can make it out. There is some kind of symbol on a flag on top. Jet to the hole and point the camera into it. Be careful and don’t fall in.”
“Here it is. “Look at that. The sphere is at the bottom of the hole.”
“You sure. It doesn’t look like ours. The size looks right, but that one is white. Can you see the letters on it.”
“Yes, I can.”
“Do you have any idea what it means?”
“S-P-A-U-L-D-I-N-G? I have no idea.”
“Well, it can’t be good to see other spheres landing around there. We’ll just chalk ours up to lost and take the penalty. Come on back. It’s time for lunch anyway.”
“Roger that sir.”

This made me smile – from Na’ama Yehuda, who blogs at https://naamayehuda.com :

The Bubble by Na’ama Yehuda

“It is the only way!” he insisted.

She shook her head. She understood his urgency but he’s been going on about a string of crises for the last two hours, and her bladder was threatening to win the Battle Of Emergency.

“Are you even listening?” his voice rose, reedy with strain.

She took a breath, curbing the depth of it as to not add to the internal pressure. There was no rest-stop in sight. She began wondering if the wall of a nearby metal shipping container would have to do. With any luck, no one would be peeking out their window or strolling by or who knows.

“I really have to go,” she tried.

He exploded. “Can you stop thinking about yourself for a moment and actually take this in?!”

Her bladder cramped. Did he seriously just say “take in”?!!

He was known for working himself into a tizzy, but his anxiety and whatever issues the current times awoke in him, did not give him license to be disrespectful. “Start the car,” she bristled. “We’re leaving.”

He glared at her as if she grew antennas, which she thought was hilarious given the circumstances and his ideas. Laughter began to bubble in her belly, but she didn’t think her pelvic musculature could manage the added demand.

“We can talk more about building your floating sphere,” she added, regretting her choice of words almost as soon as it left her lips, yet finding herself unable to conjure any other imagery. “But if you don’t get me to a bathroom in the next three minutes, you’ll have to wade through bigger waters than what this world saw during Noah’s flood.”

My effort was


This golf ball is so flipping large
To bring it here needed a barge
What made it much worse
I’d forgotten my purse
So how could I pay the surcharge?

I shouted across to my caddie
“Just pay the wee man will you, laddie?”
He looked a bit dumb
Then said to his Mum
“Can I have an alternative Daddy?”

His Mum said, “Don’t be such a chump,
You wanted to come to this dump,
Defy your old Dad
And he’ll only get mad,
You know what he’s like with the hump.”

His reticence firmly unmasked
He paid what the bargemaster asked
I said, “That’s the way,
Just do as I say,
Exactly as you have been tasked.”

And so I play golf on the shore
Round in sixty, and not a shot more.
It beats water-skiing
In the Caribbean
And my final word shall be – FORE!

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 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, 17.1

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 seventeen, part one.

“Did she behave?” David asked when we’d returned from India.

“Impeccably,” I said, “Not only that, but Susie who, by the way, is a heck of a forensic accountant, said that she enjoyed working with Hannah and she’d be happy to work with her again.”

“I’m not surprised. They’re close in age and Hannah’s a nice person to be with.”

“That’s not the reason. Oh, it’s true, they got on extremely well together, but mostly, Susie was impressed by Hannah’s understanding of the principles and her work ethic. They even worked into the night together to produce the presentation for the clients.”

“But Susie found the problem in the end.”

“Not alone. Susie did the deep digging, but it was Hannah who spotted the anomaly. I’d have to say that Susie, before long, will reach the standard Max was at when she started her practice. She’s going to be an asset to the firm. Look after her.”

“But, if she were your responsibility, what would you do with Hannah?”

“I can’t give an impartial opinion, I’m too close. However, based on what I saw and based on what Susie said, I’d not discourage her if she said she wanted to follow through in forensic accountancy. She does seem to have a natural aptitude and she said she enjoyed the work.”

“Thanks, Dad. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Meanwhile, in case anyone says anything, here’s what happened after we did our job…”

I went on to tell him the detail of the interview in the Nairs’ office, culminating in the dismissal of the culprit, and their thank-you to us.

“So you weren’t working all the time you were there?”

“No. Is that a problem?”

“Not for you or Henk, or even for Hannah. But Susie is on contract and with a rigid leave structure—”

“And during our tour of the Golden Triangle, she spent a lot of time giving instruction and advice to your daughter. That took a lot of worry and responsibility from Henk and me. It may not have been exactly what she was employed to do but be assured, she was working.”

“You do know she has to submit time-sheets to cover the period. What will she put for those dates?”

“She’s already done it. Assistance and duties while in India as instructed by Mr Knight and Mr Overbock. It has the benefit of being true and complete.”

“That’s not going to wash with HR. If she’s lucky, she’ll lose holiday entitlement.”

“And if she’s not lucky?”

“That depends on her line manager.”

“Okay. Put her on permanent secondment to KOP. We could use a permanent, competent accountant, and to have a forensic accountant on tap will be great for us. We can also use her as Hannah’s mentor for her university studies and cover all her work experience.”

“If that’s what she wants.”

“Of course. Anyway, back to Susie. You pay her salary, we’ll look after her working conditions. That way she won’t need to submit timesheets and everybody should be happy.”

“I’ll need to ask Finance and HR.”

“No you won’t, David. You’ll need to tell them.”

“Fair enough. I’ll tell HR and they’ll tell Finance. Susie’s bosses won’t be happy. It’ll leave them without a forensic accountant.”

“They’ll have to sponsor another accountant through the training – they have plenty to choose from.”

“We’ll talk to Hannah at dinner, and put it to Susie tomorrow.”

I wasn’t surprised to see that Hannah jumped at the chance. She and Susie really hit it off in India and I fully expected that the prospect of the two of them working together more would please my granddaughter; not only for the relationship they’d formed, but also to further Hanna’s chosen career. Susie was less enthusiastic at first. She had a number of friends at Knight Global’s head office and was loathe to part from them. However, at one level, the chance to move from being an accountant in a large organisation to being the accountant in a small outfit presented her with what she called an exciting challenge. She was marginally hesitant at the prospect of becoming Hannah’s mentor; not because she didn’t want to do the job, but because she didn’t believe she was adequate to the task. However, when I told her that I would hand over to her all of Max’s books, files and notes, her attitude changed.

“You’ll really give me access to the files and notes of the legendary Max Matham?” she asked.

“No, Susie. I won’t give you access to them, I’ll gift them to you, and all of her books.”

“Can you do that?”

“I can. In fact, I have to. She left them all to me in her will with the stipulation that I hand them to a young forensic accountant that I judged could make good use of them.”

“When you say files and notes—”

“I mean full details of every case, every investigation she ever worked on. And that will give you unique access to all her thought processes. The only thing I’d ask is that you respect the absolute confidentiality of all these records.”

“Of course.”

“That includes not telling Henk or me; or Hannah; about any of the cases or any of her notes beyond what we need to know to do our jobs. There are bound to be some things about me in there; some I’d rather no-one else saw and some I’d probably rather not know myself. I’ll rely on your discretion to decide what is appropriate to pass on to us.”

“I can agree to that, Mr Knight.”

“Does that mean you’ll take the job?”

“If my managers are okay with it, yes.”

“Don’t worry, they will be, we’ll make sure of that. Just think about it, though, Susie. This job will be as close as you can get to private practice without actually being it, but with none of the financial risks.”

“And with none of the promotion prospects, either…”

“We’ll work something out, Susie. Whichever way this goes, your career prospects will not be negatively impacted.”

Subsequent discussions with David and, through him, with the relevant departmental directors produced a structure that ensured that Susie’s progression would continue as normal, the biannual assessments that form part of the staff development programme being completed by Henk and me instead of her line managers. She remained contracted to Knight Global Trading as a developing member of head office accounting staff but on indefinite secondment to Knight Overbock Partnership.

The other major success we achieved was having an open-ended casual internship agreement signed between Knight Global and Hannah. The arrangement was looser than we would have liked, but it did mean that Hannah could work with us, according to our needs, whenever she was not at university, whilst enjoying all the protections and benefits available to her as an employee of the group.