Tagged: stories

Kreative Kue 233

Kreative Kue 232 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
IMG_0137a
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.

The Store by John W. Howell © 2019

“Excuse me. Do you work here?”

“This orange apron with my name written with a Sharpie by a two-year-old says I do.”

“Oh, good. I really could use some help.”

“Well, sir, as our motto says, “No item too obscure for us not to carry it.”

“Huh?”

“Just retail humor, sir. I’d be glad to help you out. Now, which way did you come in?”

“More retail humor, I’ll bet.”

“Yes, sir. Seriously now. What can I do to help.”

“See this screw.”

“Yes, sir, I do. Rather small little thing, but I do see it.”

“I need another one just like it.”

“That shouldn’t be too hard, sir. Follow me.”

“Oh, thank you. I have been wandering around for hours, it seems.”

“Goodness, do you need some water?”

“I could use some, I suppose.”

“Here, take this canteen.”

“Canteen?”

“Yup. We are required to carry a canteen in cases like this.”

“Is this sanitary?”

“Don’t worry, sir. I have never been accused of backwash yet.”

“Thanks, I’ll wait until I leave.”

“It is ten miles to the exit, sir. I think you will thank me for the water later.”

“Fine. There now I feel better.”

“Ah, here we are at screw acres.”

“Screw acres?”

“Yeah, that’s the name of the section. Don’t tell me you are one of those weirdos who makes a sexual innuendo out of everything.”

“Where are my screw sizes.”

“Sir, I’m going to ask you to stop. You are making me uncomfortable.”

“I just want to get my screw and get out of here.”

“Understood, sir. You. will have to wait to get home for that. Anyway, here is the section for tiny screws.”

“Here is my size. Wait, does this come in a quantity less than 10,000.”

“I’m afraid that is our smallest, sir.”

“Who buys that many screws?”

“You’d be surprised, sir. Now is there anything else I can help you with?”

“I guess you could give me directions to the exit.”

“Don’t you have a map app on your phone?”

“Yes, I do.”

“It would be a lot easier for you to do that. Once you have the directions, I think you can hitchhike your way there.”

“Hitchhike?”

“Yeah, all the carts with loads usually stop for pedestrians. Good luck to you, sir.”

“Wait.”

“Yes, sir?”

“I still don’t have my screw.”

“I would try our on-line store, sir.”

“Online store?”

“Yes, sir. https://saveatriptohell.com.”

“Thanks.”

“Always happy to help. Bye, sir.”

“I wonder if I will wake up now?”


My effort was

It ain’t over ’till it’s over

“John, where are you? Over.”

“Aisle one-eighty-seven. Why? What do you need?”

“Just to know where you are. Over.”

“George, when did you get your discharge?”

“That was a couple of weeks ago, John. Medics gave me some cream and it’s cleared up now. But thanks for asking. Over.”

“Not that discharge, you numptie, your discharge from the army.”

“My demob? Over.”

“If you like. When was it?”

“Three years ago. Over.”

“So when are you gonna stop using the intercom as if you’re still in uniform? We don’t bother with Roger Wilko, over, over and out, or any of that stuff here.”

“Have you finished? Over.”

“Give us a chance. I only got this picking list three minutes ago. There’s a good half hour’s work here.”

“Not that. I was asking if you’d finished talking. Over.”

“Why?”

“You didn’t give me any indication. How do I know you haven’t got more to say? Over.”

“I can see what you’re doing, George. You want me to start using all this military rubbish.”

“It would make it clear that you’ve finished and you’re ready for me to talk. The way we do that in the army is to say over. Over.”

“Well, the way we do it here in civvy street is to listen for the squelch when I release the talk button. That means I’ve stopped talking. Okay?”

“Stopped, but not necessarily finished. Over.”

“What?”

“You might release the speak button so you can scratch your nose, or pick something up or any number of things. Not necessarily because you’ve said all you want to. Over.”

“George, do you know the difference between a pendant and a pedant?”

“Course I do. One’s a thing you hang around your neck and the other one’s a really annoying person. Over.”

“Close. A pendant is hung around your neck and a pedant should be hanged by the neck.”

“What are you saying? Over.”

“I’m saying, don’t be so damned annoying.”

“How am I annoying? Over.”

“Forget it. What did you call me for? I’ve got work to do.”

“Oh yeah. I’m doing the crossword and I’m stuck. Over.”

“What’s the clue?”

“Four letters; sequence of six balls bowled by a single bowler. Over.”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!”


IMG_0146a
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.

Kreative Kue 232

Kreative Kue 231 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
DSC_0013a
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.

Again by John W. Howell © 2019

“Alphie come look.”

“What is is m’ love?”

“The rubbish bid has been tipped again.”

“Ack those boys.”

“Yes, and you need to set it right.”

“Me? Why not just let the rubbish blokes take care of it?”

“You know full well those blighters won’t lift a finger to right the thing. They’ll just pass by.”

“Okay but I’m getting distraught with this goings-on.”

“I know, dear, but what can we do?”

“Post a camera out by the bin and catch the little maggots who are doing this mischief.”

“Good idea. Let’s see. A camera and line feed couldn’t be more than two hundred pounds—”

“I get it, Bertie. For two-hundred pounds I can make many trips to the bin.”

“There we are, my smart man. Now pop off and set the bin right and I’ll put the water on for a lovely cuppa.”

“Ah, the shortest distance to getting what you want done, is through a tea strainer.”

“And a wee scone.”

“Be still my beating heart.”

“Now go on with ya and wear your scarf. It looks like a bit of chill in the air.”


My effort was

Memory Lane

“Sad, isn’t it Belle. Remember what it was like when we lived here in the seventies?”

“Do I ever! The whole place was a hive of activity. The family that lived in the house were always having guests around, and parties – oh, those parties.”

“Belle! We agreed when we left that we’d never talk about those parties. People wouldn’t understand.”

“It’s just us, dearest. No-one else to hear us. I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t talk about them between the two of us. Didn’t you enjoy them?”

“You know I did. Every bit as much as you did”

“Haha, yes. I did, didn’t I?”

“And everyone who was at any of them knew how much fun you had – and how much you helped them to have fun. By the way, whatever happened to the couple who lived there, do you suppose?”

“I heard through the grapevine that they both died of old age. They reckon Marie went first and Marc about five years later.”

“Do you still follow that?”

“What?”

“The Grape Vine.”

“I still keep in touch with a few of the girls that are left. I’ve not been active on there for a long time, but it’s good to keep up with old friends. Mind you, they’re dropping off at a rate now. I suppose it’s to be expected, though, isn’t it? I mean, none of us is getting any younger.”

“You can say that again!”

“None of—”

“But don’t. So what’s happening to the house now?”

“Apparently, it’s jointly owned by about twenty descendants of the two families, and it can’t be sold until they all agree on the price.”

“How hard can that be?”

“Not at all, except that one of them is in prison and two are overseas and no one has any idea how to contact them.”

“Surely there’s a way through that?”

“You’d think, wouldn’t you? But why do you suppose there are so many empty houses just falling to pieces?”

“Oh, well. Not our problem. Pity, though.”

“Yeah.”

“Fancy trying to get in and relive some old memories, Belle?”

“Oh, Av, you’re incorrigible.”

“And encourageable. Come on…”


IMG_0137a
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.

Kreative Kue 231

Kreative Kue 230 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
P1000410a
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.

My Ride by John W. Howell © 2019

“So where are you?”

“I’m standing under the stop sign.”

“Which stop sign?”

“Um let me see.

“The one at the Citroën dealer.”

“The Citroën dealer? Why there?”

“When you ordered your Uber you said you were at the car dealer.”

“That is true. I guess I forgot to mention which dealer.”

“Excuse me? You said, car dealer. That’s all you needed to say.”

“Okay but I still don’t see you.”

“Where are you?”

“At the Ford dealer.”

“Mon Dieu.”

“Mon Dieu? Why Mon Dieu?”

“You must be an American.”

“How do you know.”

“A car is a Citroën. You should have said you were at the Ford dealer.”

“You are French right?”

“Zut Alors. Of course, I’m French. You are in France in case you have misplaced your mind.”

“I guess I should call for another ride.”

“You can do that, but there is a small problem.”

“Which is?”

“I’m the only Uber driver this side of Auzances.”

“But I’m in Auzances.”

“Well, then good luck to you.”

“You don’t serve Auzances?”

“Non.” You will be pleased to know an American drives in Auzances.”

“Well, goodbye then.”

“Bon chance. You will need it.”

“Why’s that?”

“He drives a Citroën.”


Tien Skye, who blogs at From the Widow Seat offered this tale. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Segway to Hell

The pugnacious man on the electronic scooter. Everyone in the neighbourhood knows him. Or of him. Zipping around the neighbourhood, he terrorises the pedestrians with his erratic and high speed driving, as well as frantic honking and shouting.

One is never be sure if he will be weaving in and out at high speeds from the back and almost knock into anyone as one is stepping out from the bus stop to flag down the bus. This has happened a few times, to the point everyone believes there is an alarm system on his electronic scooter which reminds him to zip past people from the back as they step out from the bus stop or get off the bus into the bus stop. Even more alarming, he will turn back to flip a bird or scream an obscene or both as he ignores what is in front of him and proceeds to narrowly mow down other pedestrians.

Once, an elderly woman was getting up from a bench in the park after feeding the pigeons when he flew past her on the electronic scooter, startling her so much she plonked right back on the bench, clutching her pounding heart. “Fuck you, you dying hag,” he screamed as he extended a middle finger toward her.

Then there was another time, a child was waiting for his dog to finish doing its business so he could pick up after his pet. Hardly had the child picked up the turd and turned around to throw the little bag into the bin on the pavement did the same man zipped past the child, scaring him so much he fell down and smeared the dog turd over himself. “Fuck off, you little piece of shit!” he shouted.

Today, a father is putting out the rubbish for the garbage collector. Again, the same man zips down the pavement, honking frantically. But the father fails to notice and steps back after depositing the bags of rubbish. The man swerves to avoid him and turns back to give him the middle finger.

“Fuc-” the man never has the chance to complete his swearing as he turns the corner, colliding into a car parked on the side of the road. There is a weird crackling sound from the man as he falls and rolls onto the road, his electronic scooter falling on him.

He groans but does not move. “Help…help me…I can’t move,” he whimpers. “Somebody…help…me…”

The father looks at the man and his electronic scooter. Then he shrugs, turns on his heel and goes back into his flat when he hears the phone ringing. On the other side of the road, the old lady who is sitting on the bench and craning her neck to see what has happened, turns back and continues feeding the pigeons; she hears nothing but the coos of the pigeons. Further up ahead the pavement, the child who is waiting as his dog is marking a fire hydrant, see the man rolling onto the road; but he starts chasing after his dog when it runs off to investigate a bush, hearing nothing but the barking of his dog. At the bus stop, a bus pulls in and passengers get on and off; they hear nothing but the electronic beeps of bus fare and the chugging of bus engine.

Life continues in the neighbourhood but not for the electronic scooter rider.


*evil grins at this story*

A group I hate besides pedestrians who are glued to their phones as they walk are these irresponsible electronic scooter riders. Pedestrians who are glued to their phones as they walk are annoying, because I have no eye contact with them so I have no way of knowing if they want to step to the left or to the right – we usually end up in an impromptu and awkward choreographing of waltz. My favourite trick is to stop in front of them and let them figure out which way they want to go.

But these irresponsible riders, weaving around on their silent electronic scooters at  30kph, sometimes 40kph even, on the pavement, there is no telling what is going to happen at times.

So please, if you are one of the riders, have the decency to slow down instead of just zipping silent past pedestrians.


My effort was

Hiding in plain sight

“Shh! They’re looking for me. They’ll never find me here. ”

“How can you be sure?”

“See that box behind the stop sign?”

“No.”

“Lower down. I know it’s a ‘no stopping’ sign and no, I don’t know why they chose to put it on the same post as a stop sign. Perhaps there was nowhere else to put it, what with all these other signs crowding the area out. But forget about that, just look at the box.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a cloak generator.”

“You mean it makes a cloak and covers you with it? What good does that do?”

“No, it doesn’t exactly throw a physical cloak on me. Let me try to explain it simply. You know about optical illusions, yeah?”

“Of course.”

“Have you heard about an optical allusion?”

“A what?”

“Look. When you want to hide something, if you make it reflect light with a polarisation exactly opposite to what the eyes expect, it becomes invisible when you look straight at it. You can still see it out of the corner of your eye, but as soon as you try to look at it, it disappears. That, my friend, is an optical allusion. ”

“And?”

“And that’s what this box does, creates a Symmetrically Extended Polarisation field around me.”

“So no-one can see you?”

“Precisely.”

“I’ll buy it. Why?”

“Wait till somebody comes by to pick up those bags of paper. You’ll soon see why I sit next to this SEP generator.”


DSC_0013a
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.