Tagged: stories

Traffic

“Tell me again, why are we headed east?”

“It’s not rocket science! This queue on the westbound lane goes on forever. This way is practically clear.”

“And why do you suppose that is, dear heart?”

“Because, love of my life, everybody wants to be in the place we just left. It’s holiday season and the world and his wife are headed to the coast.”

“It wouldn’t have anything to do with the severe weather warning they gave out on the radio this morning, would it?”

“What severe weather warning?”

“The one that alerted risks of property damage, risks of injury and, oh yes, interruptions to travel.”

“Well, duh! Makes my point for me, doesn’t it? Travel can’t be much more difficult than that lot on the other side have it.”

“They said, if you were listening—”

“Which, incidentally, I wasn’t.”

“Then it’s a good job I was. They said that roads would be impassable—”

“Witness to the left, so they’re not wrong there.”

“No, Dumbo. Roads where we are going will be impassable.”

“And you believed them? Look to your left, my sweet. Look and learn.”

“Which part of ‘will be’ is confusing you, oh prince of dumbness? That lot is there now, before the weather hits.”

“Yes, and it will only get worse. No way we want to get mixed up in that lot.”

“We wouldn’t have had to, would we? We could have stayed where we were.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s where they’re sending people to escape the storms!”

“And you believe them…”

“WHAT?!”

“You believe the weather forecasters.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Why?”

“WHY?”

“Yes, why?”

“Why do I believe them? Because they’re the experts. Because they know what they’re talking about. Because they have information we don’t.”

“Like Michael Fish and that hurricane he said wasn’t coming and did?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Listen. I know thins will be hard for you to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway. They don’t know. They’re guessing.”

“No, they aren’t. They have data, models. They’re the experts.”

“And you’ve learned nothing from recent elections and referendums. We don’t want experts. We’ve listened to experts for too long and look at the mess we’re in.”

“So… what? We don’t listen to experts? We take our lead from people who live by hunches. Is that what you’re saying?”

“Experts have been forecasting things since forever and getting it wrong. People – senior politicians – that I don’t want to mention by name, though we all know who I’m talking about, know things that experts don’t know. Why are you laughing?”

“Are you listening to yourself? These people make things up, sell them as facts and, when proven wrong, deny what they’d said before; claim they were taken out of context or misrepresented. Or they say things like ‘the words themselves are not important and are used for illustration or to make a point, you should listen to the intention behind the words’. They are liars.”

“Well, I don’t happen to think so.”

“So that build-up of clouds ahead is what – an optical illusion? Some kind of metaphor?”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

“Then what did you mean?”

“I was talking about politicians; honest politicians.”

“Oxymoron.”

“Don’t call me a moron! You’re my wife. You’re supposed to support me.”

“There’s a turnaround. All this time, I’ve been thinking that it was the husband’s job to support his wife.”

“Now it’s you twisting my words.”

“You ought to be a politician, you know. I could see you in public meetings, saying the first thing that comes into your head then denying it when it’s thrown back at you.”

“Okay. If you’re so clever, what do you think I should do now? Turn back?”

“Exactly.”

“Not going to happen.”

“So you’re going to navigate blindly into the eye of the storm?”

“If that’s what it takes.”

“Yup. Politician through and through.”


I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 179, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.

Kreative Kue 179

Kreative Kue 178 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

My thanks to John W Howell, author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, and who blogs at Fiction Favorites, who sent:

Business Center by John W. Howell © 2018

“What the hell?”

“Excuse me, ma’am?”

“Why is this thing telling me to sign in again?”

“Well. you have to use the sign in procedure to use the computer.”

“Come on sonny. I’m not that stupid. I’m talking about this website.”

“Oh sorry. I thought you were having trouble signing in.”

“Yeah if only. I got bigger problems than that.”

“Can I be of assistance?”

“Do you know anything about binary physics?”

“Er..no.”

“Then thank you very much but butt out.”

“Well. I never.”

“Never what?”

“Experienced such rudeness.”

“Please. At your age, I’m sure you have.”

“I can’t remember when then.”

“So put on your big boy pants and get over it. I need to concentrate.”

“Fine. I’ll just finish my banking then.”

“Banking?”

“Yes, I do my banking online.”

“What bank do you use?”

“First National.”

“I would take my money out of there if I were you.”

“What? Why would I do that?”

“Cause in ten minutes that place will be empty.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Look sonny. I’m giving you a hint since you tried to be nice. Take it or leave it.”

“What are you doing over there?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know? Now are you going to move your money or not? I’m ready to hit the enter button.”

“I can’t believe this.”

“Believe it, sonny. Believe it.”


My effort was:

Ahem!

“You’ll never guess what I’ve found here, Eddie.”

“Enthral me. What have you found, Sybil?”

“No need to be rude.”

“Sorry. I’m just deep into something here.”

“Where?”

“I’m having a bit of trouble with the language, but I think I’ve found a backdoor into the North Korean state security server.”

“I didn’t know you could speak Korean.”

“I can’t.”

“So what makes you think it’s their server.”

“The text looks Korean, and there’s loads of pictures that show the kind of stuff we’ve been seeing on the telly recently.”

“You sure it isn’t Arirang?”

“South Korean TV? No, there’d be different languages and more cultural stuff on there. This looks kind of official.”

“And you just slipped in?”

“Hardly. I had to navigate a load of firewalls and security first.”

“What’s the URL? [coughs]

“That’s the Uniform Resource Locator; a kind of address for the site.”

“I know what it stands for, smarty-pants. You want to teach me how to suck eggs, too?”

“Sorry, Sybil. The address is long and encrypted. It’s just a stream of random letters and numbers.”

“So how did you [coughs] get to it, then?”

“Didn’t you see? I just shut my eyes and hit a load of random keys, then did control-enter to put the www on the front and dot-com on the end.”

“And that got you North Korean secret service?”

“Apparently.”

“Doesn’t sound secure to me.”

“Getting there is only the first part. It’s like standing outside Buckingham Palace: easy to know you’re there, and easy to look at the public face of it, but to actually get inside—”

“You need an invitation? [coughs]

“Either that or a way of getting past all the security.”

“But once you’re through the main gate, you’re there, aren’t you?”

“Would that it were that easy. No, once you’re through the gate, there are still loads of obstacles; loads of security checks to get past. Then, when you’re inside, if you can get through all the barriers, you need to be able to find the room you’re looking for… you okay?”

“Just bit chesty, that’s all.”

“If you must cough without covering your mouth, can you give the screen a wipe afterwards?”

“Sorry.”

“So. What did you find?”

“Yeah. I was looking around at various things, following leads, nosing [coughs] around here and there—”

“Get on with it, I haven’t got all day.”

“What’s with mister impatient all of a sudden?”

“Sorry. My mind is still on this Korea thing. Go on.”

“Well, you’ll never guess [coughs] what I [coughs]—”

“HAND!”

“Sorry. I found out about your secret bank account.”

“What secret bank account?”

“Duh! The bank account you like to keep secret [coughs].”

“How did you find that?”

“I think [coughs] I’m getting quite good at this [coughs]. I even transferred the money you owe me from there to my [coughs] bank account.”

“I thought we were a team.”

“I thought you were [coughs] honest, trustworthy and reliable – to me, at least.”

“I am. I was planning to pay you that later.”

“When? [coughs]

“Soon. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah. [coughs] Doctor told me [coughs] I should give up this [coughs] game, though.”

“Why?”

“He reckons it’s responsible for this [coughs] hacking cough! [coughs]


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 – pingbacks don’t often work.

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.

Ahem!

“You’ll never guess what I’ve found here, Eddie.”

“Enthral me. What have you found, Sybil?”

“No need to be rude.”

“Sorry. I’m just deep into something here.”

“Where?”

“I’m having a bit of trouble with the language, but I think I’ve found a backdoor into the North Korean state security server.”

“I didn’t know you could speak Korean.”

“I can’t.”

“So what makes you think it’s their server.”

“The text looks Korean, and there’s loads of pictures that show the kind of stuff we’ve been seeing on the telly recently.”

“You sure it isn’t Arirang?”

“South Korean TV? No, there’d be different languages and more cultural stuff on there. This looks kind of official.”

“And you just slipped in?”

“Hardly. I had to navigate a load of firewalls and security first.”

“What’s the URL? [coughs]

“That’s the Uniform Resource Locator; a kind of address for the site.”

“I know what it stands for, smarty-pants. You want to teach me how to suck eggs, too?”

“Sorry, Sybil. The address is long and encrypted. It’s just a stream of random letters and numbers.”

“So how did you [coughs] get to it, then?”

“Didn’t you see? I just shut my eyes and hit a load of random keys, then did control-enter to put the www on the front and dot-com on the end.”

“And that got you North Korean secret service?”

“Apparently.”

“Doesn’t sound secure to me.”

“Getting there is only the first part. It’s like standing outside Buckingham Palace: easy to know you’re there, and easy to look at the public face of it, but to actually get inside—”

“You need an invitation? [coughs]

“Either that or a way of getting past all the security.”

“But once you’re through the main gate, you’re there, aren’t you?”

“Would that it were that easy. No, once you’re through the gate, there are still loads of obstacles; loads of security checks to get past. Then, when you’re inside, if you can get through all the barriers, you need to be able to find the room you’re looking for… you okay?”

“Just bit chesty, that’s all.”

“If you must cough without covering your mouth, can you give the screen a wipe afterwards?”

“Sorry.”

“So. What did you find?”

“Yeah. I was looking around at various things, following leads, nosing [coughs] around here and there—”

“Get on with it, I haven’t got all day.”

“What’s with mister impatient all of a sudden?”

“Sorry. My mind is still on this Korea thing. Go on.”

“Well, you’ll never guess [coughs] what I [coughs]—”

“HAND!”

“Sorry. I found out about your secret bank account.”

“What secret bank account?”

“Duh! The bank account you like to keep secret [coughs].”

“How did you find that?”

“I think [coughs] I’m getting quite good at this [coughs]. I even transferred the money you owe me from there to my [coughs] bank account.”

“I thought we were a team.”

“I thought you were [coughs] honest, trustworthy and reliable – to me, at least.”

“I am. I was planning to pay you that later.”

“When? [coughs]

“Soon. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah. [coughs] Doctor told me [coughs] I should give up this [coughs] game, though.”

“Why?”

“He reckons it’s responsible for this [coughs] hacking cough! [coughs]

Image source: Pinterest


I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 178, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.