Tagged: challenge

Boring!

“Hang on, Mr Director, let me get used to this form.”

“What’s to get used to, P’sheen? You’re a bird.”

“Yeah. I’ve seen that. First time I’ve been without manipulators, though. How am I supposed to hold things, carry things?”

“You’re not. Your assignment is simply to observe and to report back on what you see and hear.”

“I need to know how to use this body, though. I can’t just go straight in.”

“Why not?”

“Because if I crash because I haven’t mastered flying properly, my cover will be blown. It’s easy for you; all you need to do is stand there and look like a tree. That’s really Acting 101. I need to spend time exploring what it means to be a bird. Once I’ve figured that, I need to find out what it means to be a … what species am I, anyway?”

“Look, P’sheen. You keep telling me how method you are, how you like to research your parts and so on. And yet you haven’t worked out what species you are. Explain.”

“Hold a mirror in front of me so I can see myself, then I’ll be able to work it out.”

“I would have thought your character would be flexible enough to look at yourself and work it out.”

“Yeah, sure. I can twist myself inside out so I can see the back of my head and look myself in the eyes. Come on, just hold up a mirror, or take a picture and let me look at it.”

“Okay. Picture coming up… [click]. How’s that?”

“Ah, okay. Male Green Woodpecker – Picus viridis. Right. I kind of guessed that, but wanted to be sure.”

“So you know what you need to do so as not to attract attention?”

“Yup. I hang around on the grass eating ants.”

“Ewww.”

“No, they’re fine. Remember that job in the deep south a while ago? They were into dipping ants in chocolate and eating them. Quite tasty. They put the ants in a jar with sugar to keep them happy until they wanted to dip them in the melted chocolate.”

“Why bother keeping them happy if you’re going to eat them?”

“I don’t know how true it is, but they said that the ants go sour if they’re not happy.”

“I think you’ll find, my gullible little friend, that they were pulling your chain.”

“Either way – it’s what they did.”

“So you’re eating ants. Do you have a long tongue, like a proper ant-eater?”

“Sure do. It wraps around the back of my head – and it has barbs on the end to help pick up the little critters. See how far I can stick it out?”

“Oh, wow. That’s cool. Now; the job I have for you—”

“Not so fast, Boss. Method, remember? I need to practise.”

“Practise what?”

“Flying, feeding, manoeuvring, the whole nine yards. I have to feel Green Woodpecker. I have to think like a Green Woodpecker. I have to be a Green Woodpecker – a convincing one. That takes time and commitment. When’s the caper coming off,”

“Caper? You’ve been watching too many B-grade detective movies! But the answer is: I don’t know. That’s why I need you to get into their lair and find out. Preliminary intel suggests soon.”

“Okay. Give me a couple of hours to familiarise myself with my part.”

“You can have one.”

“Why only one?”

“Because whatever you ask for, I’ll cut in half.”

“So if I’d said I needed four hours…”

“I’d have said two.”

“I need four hours, then.”

“Too late. I’ve said one already.”

“That’s not very fair.”

“You’re wasting your hour, P’sheen.”

P’sheen flew off, laughing raucously as he executed his undulating flight over the meadow. The director waited patiently.

Fifty minutes later, the laughter started again, stopping only when P’sheen landed on the grass in front of the director.

“Okay, Boss. I’m ready.”

“What’s with the laughing?”

“That’s not laughing, it’s my call.”

“Well, don’t do it when you’re working. Fly in silently, listen and fly out. Silently. Clear?”

“If you wanted me to be silent, why am I a woodpecker. An owl would have been more useful.”

“Oh, yeah. Hooting and screeching. Just what we need.”

“Silent flight, though.”

“I’ll grant you that, but you’re not in the form of an owl, you’re a woodpecker, so work with it.”

“Be nice to me Boss.”

“Why should I?”

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat.


I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 192, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.

Kreative Kue 192

Kreative Kue 191 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.

Good Deed by John W. Howell © 2018

“Now just have some patience. We can’t cross until the light turns green.”
“I know you want to help, but I need to get going.”

“Aw come on. You know very well that you could use my help getting across the street.”

“What is taking so long? This light must be an eternity.”

“I pushed the walk sign. It shouldn’t be too much longer.”

“Do you offer to help strangers all the time?”

“Honestly? No. You just caught my eye and looked like you needed my help.”

“That is very nice of you my dear, but I have lived in this city for fifty years and never had a problem before.”

“Well then let’s just say this is a way of me paying it forward.”

“So this is about helping you rather than about helping me?”

“Um. Well, I guess so. I hadn’t thought about it up to now.”

“Yeah, I get it. A young woman from the suburbs comes into the city and wants to save some poor soul from harm.”

“No, it isn’t like that. I just want to do some good today is all. By the way is that bag too heavy for you?”

“I’ve been carrying this bag forever. Keep your hands off it.”

“Okay, okay. I just asked the question.”

“That’s it. I need to be going. Thank you for trying to help but I see the light has changed and I’m off.”

“You can see?”

“Of course I can see. What made you think I couldn’t?”

“The glasses. I er ah—”

“Typical of a do-gooder. Just assume someone is sightless simply because they are old and wearing sunglasses. Goodbye girl.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“How about letting go and say goodbye.”

“Hey, you with the old woman. Don’t let her go.”

“W-what officer?”

“She just held up the First National bank. You are very brave to grab her. You can let go. I’ve got her now.”

“I’m shocked. She seems like a nice old lady.”

“Kiss my grits sister. Now, look at what your good deed has done.”

“Hush up Sadie and put your hands behind you.”

“You know her officer?”

“Yeah, hardened criminal this one.”


Meanwhile, my effort was:

Call me a cab

“What’s your sister doing, Shereen?”

“Holding her hand up for a bus, Momma, so we can get you home after your appointment.”

“Where’re we at now?”

“Broadway and West 58th.”

“When’d you last see a bus on West 58th?”

“There has to be one, Momma. Them buses run every hour, by rights.”

“Last time I see a bus anywhere near Broadway was around nineteen-fifty!”

“That was only about a half hour ago!”

“I’m talking about the year, girl, not the time.”

“Donna!”

“What?”

“Momma says there ain’t no bus going past here.”

“I know that, Sher. Ain’t been no bus here in my lifetime. Yours neither.”

“So what’re you doing, waving like that?”

“Ain’t it obvious? I’m hailing a cab.”

“She says she’s hailing a cab, Momma.”

“I know that. I heard her. I’m blind, not deaf. What’s the time now?”

“Twenty-oh-two.”

“I said the time, not the year.”

“That is the time. It’s just gone eight.”

“So why didn’t you say that?”

“I did, just in military time.”

“You’ve changed since you signed up for the military after nine-eleven, Sher. You’re not the same girl any more.”

“We all changed after nine-eleven. You didn’t see it, Momma.”

“No, but I heard it alright. Why’d they do it?”

“If we could have figured that out, we could maybe have done something to stop it. But it’s all religion and politics and you can’t talk to either, cause they’s both about what people have been told to believe, not what they know or understand.”

“This jibber-jabber ain’t getting us home, girl. Has Donna found a cab yet?”

“Not yet, Momma.”

“Why can’t she just call an Uber?”

“It’s only twenty-oh-two, Momma. Uber won’t exist for another seven years.”

“Well, I can’t wait that long to get home; you father’ll be expecting his dinner.”

“Yes, Momma. Here comes one now. Donna!”

“I see it. Hey, he ain’t stopping … oh, he’s got a fare already.”

“Shereen, I need caffeine. Take me inside and buy me a coffee.”

“What about me?”

“You keep waving your arm, girl. Come tell us when you got us a cab.”


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, with links to your own blog or web site, next Monday.

Call me a cab

“What’s your sister doing, Shereen?”

“Holding her hand up for a bus, Momma, so we can get you home after your appointment.”

“Where’re we at now?”

“Broadway and West 58th.”

“When’d you last see a bus on West 58th?”

“There has to be one, Momma. Them buses run every hour, by rights.”

“Last time I see a bus anywhere near Broadway was around nineteen-fifty!”

“That was only about a half hour ago!”

“I’m talking about the year, girl, not the time.”

“Donna!”

“What?”

“Momma says there ain’t no bus going past here.”

“I know that, Sher. Ain’t been no bus here in my lifetime. Yours neither.”

“So what’re you doing, waving like that?”

“Ain’t it obvious? I’m hailing a cab.”

“She says she’s hailing a cab, Momma.”

“I know that. I heard her. I’m blind, not deaf. What’s the time now?”

“Twenty-oh-two.”

“I said the time, not the year.”

“That is the time. It’s just gone eight.”

“So why didn’t you say that?”

“I did, just in military time.”

“You’ve changed since you signed up for the military after nine-eleven, Sher. You’re not the same girl any more.”

“We all changed after nine-eleven. You didn’t see it, Momma.”

“No, but I heard it alright. Why’d they do it?”

“If we could have figured that out, we could maybe have done something to stop it. But it’s all religion and politics and you can’t talk to either, cause they’s both about what people have been told to believe, not what they know or understand.”

“This jibber-jabber ain’t getting us home, girl. Has Donna found a cab yet?”

“Not yet, Momma.”

“Why can’t she just call an Uber?”

“It’s only twenty-oh-two, Momma. Uber won’t exist for another seven years.”

“Well, I can’t wait that long to get home; you father’ll be expecting his dinner.”

“Yes, Momma. Here comes one now. Donna!”

“I see it. Hey, he ain’t stopping … oh, he’s got a fare already.”

“Shereen, I need caffeine. Take me inside and buy me a coffee.”

“What about me?”

“You keep waving your arm, girl. Come tell us when you got us a cab.”


I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 191, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.