Kreative Kue 344

Kreative Kue 343 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

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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

Camp by John W. Howell © 2022

“Okay, now let go.”

“I’m not sure I should.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t think he’s got the hang of it yet.”

“You know, at camp, everyone has to be on their own.”

“I know, but maybe we can do this later.”

“For heaven’s sake. You have been saying that for a week.”

“But look at him. He looks so frightened.”

“He’s not frightened. He just has gas.”

“Well, whatever. It’s not my idea to send him to camp.”

“I know it’s mine. The kid has to learn to get along in the world. The first thing is to let him swim on his own.”

“He’s never done that before.”

“I know. How do you think I feel when the whole pod is laughing behind our backs.”

“Why would they do that?”

“We are the only dolphins on the planet whose kid can’t swim.”

“That can’t be true.”

“Well, it is. Kids are supposed to be natural swimmers when they are born.”

“Ours is special.”

“That is one way to describe him. Please let him go.”

“Okay, but you better save him if he gets into trouble.”

“I’m always here.”

“There he is on his own.”

“And look at the wake he is turning up. Go boy go.”

“I’m really surprised.”

“I told you it was instinct.”

“But my child is just not any run-of-the-mill dolphin.”

“Yeah, I know. He’s now a dolphin who can swim and ready for camp.”

“Can I go too?”

“Against the rules. You and I will go to our own camp.”

“You devil.”

“I resemble that remark.”


My effort was:

If we can find them…

I suppose I had about eight winters the day it happened. It was between my eighth and ninth winters, anyway. 

About three months earlier, Dad had suggested we break away from the pod and set out to find our own feeding waters. You see, the pod had grown to such an extent by then, that there were times when the shoals of fish we found were simply not big enough to feed us all. Breaking the pod up into smaller units was the only sensible solution anyone could think of. You see – there were more than two hundred of us before we broke away, and it needs an immense shoal of small fish to feed two hundred hungry dolphins as well as the others that follow us, knowing our ability to track down mega-shoals is unmatched in the oceans. If we could agree to split in half; two pods of a hundred members; our ability to find food would quadruple. That’s according to Uncle Gr’nant’sk’s calculations, anyway. And he should know – he’s the smartest dolphin any of us has ever met.

But the council didn’t agree. Strength in numbers was the only mantra they’d ever subscribe to.

So, Mum and Dad agreed that we’d leave as a family. Including siblings, aunts and uncles, there would have been twenty-seven of us. That’s enough to satisfy the strength in numbers requirement as well as increasing prey availability fifty-three-fold (again, according to Uncle Gr’nant’sk’s calculations).

Uncle Gr’nant’sk fell ill whilst we were making the preparations to leave the pod. Being weak, he fell behind and got himself caught up in some nets that the uprights were using to catch tuna. He didn’t survive that encounter.

That really shook everyone’s confidence. The entire family, excepting only Mum and Dad, decided that strength in numbers was everything. They knew that the feeding opportunities were limited and becoming more so by the season but chose to accept a small number of losses through malnutrition rather than, as one elder put it, leave themselves open to who-knows-what in a smaller group. There was a discussion, which turned into an argument which turned quite nasty. Dad said something I didn’t hear clearly (because Mum stuffed a flipper into each of my aural orifices) and managed to earn us what they called a temporary banishment.

Now, anyone who knows anything about large, and I mean really large pods will tell you that one of their chief characteristics is that they are always on the move, always on the hunt for those shoals whose membership can be counted in millions because that’s the size the pod needs to feed adequately. So, when they say temporary banishment, they should really add, “and good luck finding us when your exile ends.”

We left. Just the three of us. Evicted from the pod, ejected from the family, shut out of all our relationships. 

At first, it was good. Okay, perhaps not-too-bad would be a more accurate characterisation. We played on the waves, raided groups of fish that were probably too small to be termed shoals and generally had a life that may not have been described as actually comfortable, but which was okay. We rarely went hungry for long and we had each other for company.

We found ourselves near an area where, according to Dad, the uprights were trying to find shoals large enough to feed their voracious appetites, and we should move away. Trouble was, Mum and Dad couldn’t agree which way we should follow. I’d never heard my parents argue before and it was frightening. Dad kept saying that his logic told him we should go one way, but Mum said her gut pointed her in a different direction. In the end, Dad followed his logic and went off towards the east, whilst I chose to follow Mum and her instincts heading south. We agreed to meet up in this same place after a few days to compare notes.

That was the last time we ever saw Dad.

It’s just Mum and me now, condemned to spend our days searching for our old pod and our family, hoping they’ll take us back.

If we can find them…


23-01-2007 14-38-05_0016a

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.

If we can find them…

IM000460_2a

I suppose I had about eight winters the day it happened. It was between my eighth and ninth winters, anyway. 

About three months earlier, Dad had suggested we break away from the pod and set out to find our own feeding waters. The pod had grown to such an extent by then, that there were times when the shoals of fish we found were simply not big enough to feed us all. Breaking the pod up into smaller units was the only sensible solution anyone could think of. There were more than two hundred of us before we broke away, and it needs an immense shoal of small fish to feed two hundred hungry dolphins as well as the others that follow us, knowing our ability to track down mega-shoals is unmatched in the oceans. If we could agree to split in half; two pods of a hundred members; our ability to find food would quadruple. That’s according to Uncle Gr’nant’sk’s calculations, anyway. And he should know – he’s the smartest dolphin any of us has ever met.

But the council didn’t agree. Strength in numbers was the only mantra they’d ever subscribe to.

So, Mum and Dad agreed that we’d leave as a family. Including siblings, aunts and uncles, there would have been twenty-seven of us. That’s enough to satisfy the strength in numbers requirement as well as increasing prey availability fifty-three-fold (again, according to Uncle Gr’nant’sk’s calculations).

Uncle Gr’nant’sk fell ill whilst we were making the preparations to leave the pod. Being weak, he fell behind and got himself caught up in some nets that the uprights were using to catch tuna. He didn’t survive that encounter.

That really shook everyone’s confidence. The entire family, excepting only Mum and Dad, decided that strength in numbers was everything. They knew that the feeding opportunities were limited and becoming more so by the season but chose to accept a small number of losses through malnutrition rather than, as one elder put it, leave themselves open to who-knows-what in a smaller group. There was a discussion, which turned into an argument which turned quite nasty. Dad said something I didn’t hear clearly (because Mum stuffed a flipper into each of my aural orifices) and managed to earn us what they called a temporary banishment.

Now, anyone who knows anything about large, and I mean really large pods will tell you that one of their chief characteristics is that they are always on the move, always on the hunt for those shoals whose membership can be counted in millions because that’s the size the pod needs to feed adequately. So, when they say temporary banishment, they should really add, “and good luck finding us when your exile ends.”

We left. Just the three of us. Evicted from the pod, ejected from the family, shut out of all our relationships. 

At first, it was good. Okay, perhaps not-too-bad would be a more accurate characterisation. We played on the waves, raided groups of fish that were probably too small to be termed shoals and generally had a life that may not have been described as actually comfortable, but which was okay. We rarely went hungry for long and we had each other for company.

We found ourselves near an area where, according to Dad, the uprights were trying to find shoals large enough to feed their voracious appetites, and we should move away. Trouble was, Mum and Dad couldn’t agree which way we should follow. I’d never heard my parents argue before and it was frightening. Dad kept saying that his logic told him we should go one way, but Mum said her gut pointed her in a different direction. In the end, Dad followed his logic and went off towards the east, whilst I chose to follow Mum and her instincts heading south. We agreed to meet up in this same place after a few days to compare notes.

That was the last time we ever saw Dad.

It’s just Mum and me now, condemned to spend our days searching for our old pod and our family, hoping they’ll take us back.

If we can find them…


This was written in response to Kreative Kue 343 published on this site.

 

Kreative Kue 343

Kreative Kue 342 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

P1010613a

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

Now What? by John W. Howell © 2022

“Looks like he’s out.”

“Amazing. We were just talking about him and out he went.”

“You have to understand. He is a highly-strung dog and sometimes he just needs his rest.”

“Well, what about you? Maybe we can continue the interview while he naps.”

“Up to you.”

“You could give us some background on his life.”

“Like what?”

“Where was he born and the like.”

“That I don’t know. We found him at the side of the road.”

“Ah. A rescue.”

“Not exactly.”

“What then?”

“He was hitchhiking. We stopped and asked him if he needed a ride. He jumped in the car and that was it.”

“Extraordinary story. So he’s been with you ever since.”

“Yes. We got a call from his previous owner who wanted to visit him.”

“Really. That’s odd.”

“I’m not surprised that his previous owner wanted to contact him.”

“He’s that good?”

“I’m not sure that’s it.”

“What is it then?”

“Once he takes up residence, good things happen.”

“Like what?”

“Like that Lotto win, you are here to talk about.”

“That was some win. Where did you get the ticket?”

“I really have no idea.”

“You having memory problems.”

“No. The dog bought the ticket.”

“W-what? “Is the legal?”

“Don’t see why not. He’s over twenty-one in dog years and as far as I know, the Lotto rules don’t forbid ticket sales to dogs. When he wakes I’ll let him tell you the particulars.”

“You are saying he can talk?”

“Seven languages.”

“Anything else?”

“He’s a licensed financial advisor. I’m going to need his help.”


The following story is from Mark Bierman, always a most welcome visitor who blogs at Adventures in Writing (https://markbierman.wordpress.com/) and whose first novel Vanished is available on Amazon

Flash fiction by Mark Bierman © 2022

“Pshaw! Really Josh, was it so morally bankrupt? Flushing the goldfish down the toilet and framing Sylvester? My actions liberated the poor thing, forced to swim in circles in that glass dungeon, that’s no life. ‘Course the dummy had the memory of well, a fish. Irritating! ‘Oh, look! A castle! Oh look! A castle!’ All day and everyday! Sheesh! Did everyone a favor!

“Yup! Looks like I’m really paying for it, huh, Josh? Enjoying the view, Sylvester? Oh wait, you can’t because you’re outside for the day and the curtains are closed. That’ll teach you for clawing the stuffing from my bed. This is waaay better, anyhow! The best part is, I know Dad will bring me to the store to get a new one this afternoon! All you’ll be able to do is meow for forgiveness as we drive away.

 “Lucky for you Josh, that you’re a budgie. Frank’s now working at Marty’s Mattress Emporium; flys around jerking his beak towards every mattress, ‘Soooofft!’

“Parrots who squawk get shipped down the block! Ahhh! This is the life! Worship me! Worship me!”


My effort was:

The camera never lies

They do say, don’t they (whoever they refers to), that the camera never lies.

I have two observations on that.

Firstly, whoever asserted that had no knowledge of digital cameras or familiarity with… I don’t know… Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, GIMP or any of the plethora of image manipulation software, free and paid-for, that make up the photofinishing market these days.

My second observation is that, even were it impossible for a displayed image to show anything other than what was directly accessible to the lens at the time of capture, it has always been open to the photographer to arrange the scene in a way that will convey the impression that he or she wants to convey. In other words, the inability of the camera to lie – were such a concept true – does not preclude and has never precluded the ability of the composer of the image to deceive, to create a reality other than that which is immediately apparent.

Take this image as an example. We see an elderly gentleman holding his dog. The dog is on its back, supine; its eyes closed and its mouth in a relaxed position. What are we to infer from this scene? It is a still image, so we aren’t given the opportunity to observe whether the animal is moving, twitching or even breathing. Is it possible that he is dead? We certainly don’t have enough evidence to exclude that. The man’s face is giving nothing away. We can probably assume, from the expression, or lack of, on the man’s face, that the dog is still alive. Were he dead, we would expect the man to show signs of distress. Unless, of course, the poor pooch had gone to doggy heaven some time prior to the photograph being taken, in which case his owner (can we safely assume the man to be the dog’s owner?) would have cried himself out and would now be merely sad, resigned to the loss of his pet.

Do we believe, then, that the dog is asleep? Let’s look at the evidence with that as our hypothesis. The dog’s position is as consistent with sleep as it is with death. If we assume, therefore, that the man’s expression leads us away from the assumption of death, then sleep becomes a very real possibility. I’m certainly heading rapidly towards sleep whilst writing this drivel.

Before I go, though, I want to offer an alternative – and we can call it your homework for the week. Consider the attitude of the two characters. Is it within the realm of reason to speculate that the man may have hypnotised the dog?

Or has the dog, perhaps, hypnotised the man?

Discuss.


IM000460_2a

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.