Write 50 words including book, deliver, gherkin, working.
I was busy in the living room, writing the last few chapters of my book for delivery in the latter part of the Autumn to the shop shelves. It will be a special occasion marked by a gherkin based salad which will be the working model for future participants.
Bond had an important meeting at the Gherkin and needed to book the flight to London. He had a package to deliver, but was in no hurry. Working his way through the crowded airport, he scanned for the three men following him.
Bang! The woman beside him dropped dead.
The colonel had given up working and was reading a book. Mrs Cadwallader approached him.
“Did Countdown deliver the goodies today?” she asked. “I need a gherkin or two for the salad.”
“Gherkin smerkin,” the colonel muttered quietly to himself. “What’s wrong with tomatoes?”
“I heard that,” she answered, “Philistine.”
Staff working at the fancy restaurant were impressed and delighted to be awarded another Michelin Star. The head chef didn’t require any fancy cook-book to deliver amazing dishes to clientele. Surprisingly, one of his specialties incorporated gherkin in the recipe.
The couriers are working harder than they ever imagined, and we really want them to deliver the goods. And that’s not easy. We want to shop, and browse for a new book. Our pickle supply is down to the last gherkin. There is quite an odd feeling about all this.
"Don't like gherkin," yelled Tommy, who flung it into the air, landing splat! onto the painting his sister Bree had been working on. "You need 'anger management', I will book you in and deliver you," said his dad looking down on his daughter's artwork, thinking it added an extra something.
She was working hard and didn't really want to stop but a rumbling tum told her a lunch break was very overdue. She would have to deliver the results of her labour after, therefore was unimpressed when the slice of gherkin fell from the sandwich and landed on her book.
I have decided that my plan for the day is, to make some gherkin chutney and deliver a jar to Mrs Cadwallader and the Colonel, and if the weather is favourable, I'll be working in the garden, or I'll finish the book I'm reading and take it back to the library.
I do value your concern for what it's worth, but there's no point in dwelling on the situation. I just had an attack of the blues for some reason, I guess it's probably due to progress of my ageing rack. which I won't elaborate on, so don't crucify me.
In my noble book of greatness programs to awaken the passions of young school students I use the Gherkin syntax. As they are working through statements like WHEN you experience joy, THEN, you are truly alive, AND your passion intersects with greatness … they personally deliver their own, creative, unique codex.
His writing rarely failed to deliver, although working full-time would impede the progress of his book by many months. ‘A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity’, but nonetheless, he couldn’t stoop to living in squalor. His quandary was as bittersweet as a gherkin relished in the watery autumn sunlight.
Write up to 500 words about Where I would like to visit and why — factual or fictional.
A MEETING SOMEWHERE SOMETIME SOMEPLACE
By Robert D. Mckibbin
‘Who is that?”
“Robert? How is that possible?”
“Doesn’t matter, just accept it is happening.”
“Okay, but where are we?”
“Somewhere, sometime, but I am in New Zealand.”
“That’s right. I was with Janet on the boat.”
“Yes, but you flew back after your holiday.’
“Well, how are you?”
“I’m fine, but I am much older now. I have just been awarded the OBE.”
“Wow, an OBE!”
“Yes Mum! It means ‘Over Bloody Eighty’."
“Silly you, you were always fooling about. How is Janet?”
“She’s 78 now, but she started the year really under the weather but she has managed to fight her way back now!”
“That is good, what are your other girls up to?”
“Lesley is granny now, has nine grandchildren with her eldest Sheena, who has two teenage boys, and is expecting a new baby boy in the new year. This means we have nearly ten great grandchildren. Janet and I keep close contact with them all. It is quite pleasing to see them as extensions of ourselves. They would be your great great great grandchildren. Because we are able, we like to donate to keep them going. Our eldest great grandson Mason, is a very accomplished squash player, he is No. 1 New Zealand for his age. We are very proud of him. All of the kids are sports minded. Janet and I were not interested in any sports, so they must have inherited those genes from their fathers. Joanna and her husband are very sports orientated and have five children, three boys and two girls with Mason leading from the front.”
“That is interesting, because your father was always sports inclined, perhaps it jumped generations.”
“Lesley remarried twelve months ago. She found herself Johnston, a 55-year-old man from China. They are extremely happy. He reminds me of myself.
“Larry, Lesley’s youngest, has two children, a boy and a girl, they live in Brisbane, Australia.”
“Where are Paula and Terri?"
“Paula is a teacher in Boulder, Colorado, she has a rocket scientist for a husband, and Becca is 19, she is at university doing science. Terri lives in Amberley, Surrey with Kevin, who plays the stock market for a living. They have two boys, James aged 22 and Edward 18. James has just graduated with a bachelor of science.
“Janet and I decided to get into rentals in 1995, we bought ten houses in six months providing an excellent income from our tenants which more than covered the mortgage repayments. Having the properties has enabled Janet and I to get new cars and travel around the world. We have also been able to help our children with their lives.”
“Your dad and I would have liked to help any of our ten children but we never had the money. You were the one who got the best of us, with you passing the 11 plus, we were both so pleased and proud, and then you became a police cadet and then a policeman.”
“Well, that had a further development from that, two years ago, I self-published a book, I Haven’t Had a Stretch All Day, which is about the life and times of a young policeman in Liverpool in the sixties and seventies. It is not an autobiography but is based on things that happened to a fictional policeman who could have been but was not me. Janet was very helpful. With her very meticulous mind, she did all the proof reading and gave the final sign of the first copy. It got to the stage that she practically memorized it. I wish you could have read it.”
“Perhaps I will one day, anything could happen, just look at this conversation.”
“Well yes, I have enjoyed this. Bye Mum!”
“Bye son. Look after yourself!”
~ ~ ~
By Dick Smith
My wife has asked me a very difficult question,” sighed the professor, “and I really don’t know how to answer it.” He looked at his friend sadly.
“My wife is always asking me difficult questions I can’t answer,” laughed the carpenter. “You are the learned one. If you can’t answer it I don’t think I’ll be much help. I’m just an ordinary unlearned fellow.”
“Ah,” replied the professor, “I think you may be wrong. I am an expert in Greek antiquities and it is true that I know more about them than almost anyone in the world.” He sighed again even more deeply. “But sadly I know buggar all about anything else.”
The carpenter started at the use of the word “buggar.” He had never heard the professor swear before. He must truly be most upset.
“Oh dear,” he said. “And what is this terribly difficult question may I ask?”
“Well,” the professor began, “In a month’s time I will have my fiftieth birthday.”
“I knew that, I hope you put on a good party.” The carpenter grinned. “Plenty of Lion Red.”
The professor winced at the mention of Lion Red. “Well yes I will,” he said. “But that is not the problem. My wife, it seems, has been saving up and she wants to give me a special birthday treat. She wants to shout me a holiday and she has asked just where in the world I would like to go and why I would like to go there.”
“Wow,” said the carpenter. “If it was me I would go to Paris and see some of those naughty shows people talk about. Say what, reckon she’d pay for me too and we could both go? And then after that we could go on to Amsterdam and … ”
“No no no no, slow down,” broke in the professor. “You are getting way ahead of yourself.” He looked at his friend who seemed to be a little breathless and was getting noticeably redder in the face. "The question is way more complex than that.”
“Seemed to be too good to be true. I don’t suppose she would want me to go anyway. Probably wants to go herself.” The carpenter's breathing began to slow. “Probably wouldn’t let you go on your own anyway,” he added.
“Correct on all fronts,” replied the professor. “Of course she wouldn’t let me go on my own and of course she wants to go too, and therein lies the whole problem.”
The carpenter looked puzzled. “I don’t really understand,” he replied. "She has the money and she has asked you where you would like to go. You just pick a great trip and off you both go. How about a trip away to watch the All Blacks or maybe a week’s big game fishing.”
The professor shuddered at the idea of either of those options but thought better than to verbalise his opinions about them. He scratched his head and thought deeply about his reply, for he had no wish to denigrate his good lady.
“My wife,” he started pensively, “wants me to choose a great trip and because it is my birthday she wants me to decide just where we should go. However for it to be a good trip I know that it will have to be somewhere that she will enjoy. This means of course that a great many things that I would love to do are quite out of the question. I would very much like to do a camping trip in the outback of Australia but the thought of Helen encountering a snake, a crocodile or a dingo fills me with misgivings. I would love to cycle from John ’O Groats to Land’s End or perhaps kayak down the Danube, but the thought of trying to persuade Helen that that is what I would love is more than I can visualise. I would be more than content to spend a month camping in archaeological sites in Greece but I would not wish to participate in the social life of a visiting tourist in Greece. So there you have it my friend. I can go anywhere I like but it must be somewhere that Helen also will like.”
“What does Helen really enjoy?”
“Shopping, socialising and sun bathing.”
“Guess you’ll be going back to the Gold Coast then.”
The professor looked sadly at his friend. “Guess so.”
“And what will you tell her when she asks why you have chosen that?”
The professor sighed again. “I’ll tell her I love doing things with her that make her happy.” He paused for a moment. “That should do I guess.”
“Greaser,” laughed the carpenter. “Serves you bloody right.”
~ ~ ~
SEEKING MY ROOTS
By Marnie Weston
As a university student I was joyfully excited and working passionately with energetic diligence towards completing my Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, and becoming a fit, strong, healthy, independent, successful and productive member of society. I loved the idea of dressing in an elegant and sophisticated style, doing my makeup and doing a great job. I intended to become a very great and valuable asset to any accounting firm. This involved gaining a variety of efficient and proficient work experiences, insightful and intelligent communication skills and exquisite life experiences that would give me confidence and flourishing transferable skills. All of this was preparation to go to the United Kingdom and pick up temping jobs while travelling through England, Scotland and Ireland as I researched my family history, family heritage and family legacy. As both my parents were born in Scotland, I was entitled to a British passport which gave me a healthy sense of pride and dignity. I enthusiastically looked forward to meeting and connecting with relatives that I had never previously met. I know Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world a few years back. Oh, how I imagined standing in the midst of that beauty and just absorbing the atmosphere steeped with the history and mythology of my ancestors. I am descended from quite a few Scottish Highland clans, the most recent, being the McLean clan. My great-grandmother was “Mary McLean” and my mother was named after her “Mary McLean Reid”. So, one of the first places I would like to visit is Duart Castle (the McLean Clan castle from the 14th century) on the Isle of Mull. History states that many of the early McLeans were famous for their honour, strength and courage in battle. The McLeans were known as swords for hire and were hired by the kings of Scotland. One thing, I find shocking, and yet amusing, is the fact that after the Scottish clans got kicked off their lands and became educated and enlightened men, they would still take out their swords, get back on the battlefield and fight like barbarians whenever there was a blood feud or indignation between clans. However, visiting the homelands and walking in the footsteps of my ancestors with dignity and distinction, while awakening a vibrant and yet peaceful state of the honour, strength and courage they stored in my genes would be an amazing experience. I would enhance this experience as a future strategy to assist me conquering any professional or personal challenges the world could throw my way. Furthermore, wearing the Scottish souvenir jewelry and perhaps hats and scarfs to bring out the foundations of my sense of identity, knowing that I have many true and noble ancestors, will elegantly, uplift my heart and soul. I also want genuine souvenir books with panoramic Scottish scenery, photos and tales of history, nobility, mythology, and greatness directly from an authentic Scottish source.
~ ~ ~
That’s the big question.
And then of course there’s whodunnit?
By Robert Alan Moore
“Well, I wouldn’t mind heading down to the beach,” Harry Bird said to himself. It was a lovely October Spring day. “And why not,” he replied to himself. So he went, for no good reason other than that it was his favorite beach, and only walking distance.
He crossed paths with another beach regular, Adelaide Yang, who was out riding her big old bay thoroughbred. She pulled up and said, “We just had a bit of excitement. A huge turtle washed up and gave this guy,” she said, patting the horse, “such a fright, he dumped me on the sand and took off. Fortunately, he came back with help.”
“A turtle? That’s odd,” Harry Bird said.
“Yes, a tropical one, a long way from home. Vets from the aquarium came. They think they can save him.”
“Why would a turtle do a thing like that?” said Harry, who liked to ask odd and fanciful questions, who read a lot, and spent a lot of time out walking or jogging or swimming.
“No clear reason,” said Adelaide, who did not read much at all, except forensic documents. She was a pragmatist, the no-nonsense type, a police investigator, serious but deskbound.
“Well, that’s not the only strange thing today,” said Harry. “Look at these weird footprints. The same ones are up the hill in my back garden, a kilometre away, at least.”
“How can you tell they’re the same?” she said.
“Because some of them are really distinctive and very bizarre, like a cross between a giant duck and a cow, except mechanical looking, and huge.”
“How huge,” asked Adelaide, “hippo-huge? Godzilla-huge?”
“They’re the same as the ones up at my place — it is really muddy — they lead down to the road and disappear on the tarseal, and then show up down here on the sand.”
“Maybe that big turtle did it,” she said, eyes twinkling, voice deadpan.
“They had to be made after all that rain,” he said.
“Let’s follow them, then” she said.
They went looking among the dunes and found a large area of disturbed black sand, between the golf course and the beach itself. The strange marks were accompanied by a sizable group of normal human footprints. Adelaide remained mounted and they separated and explored the general area.
“These are really fresh,” he said, with feeling.
She rode up to the top of a dune, stood in her stirrups and scanned widely into the distance. “I can see people and vehicles.”
That’s when she saw the small body, in a nest of sand, almost buried. “Oh no,” she said, pointing. “Murderers! Harry don’t touch it.”
But he ignored her and knelt down and picked it up. It was deathly pale grey, and weirdly too lightweight, and stiff, and strange — a moldy, old, realistic-looking plastic baby, faded blonde, almost real.
“Why would anybody do a thing like that?” she said.
~ ~ ~
JUST A DREAM
By Carrolyn Hollett
I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted to go to the South Island.
I cannot believe I have never set foot on it. I am ashamed of myself, don't they say you should see your own country, before venturing elsewhere.
With having two, of my three older brothers, making Australia their home, for the last 40 years at least, I have travelled over there, including weddings and a funeral of the youngest, of my older brothers, Garry, two years ago, aged only 62.
My eldest brother Steve and his wife Janet, live in Waikanae, near Wellington, where I have visited. Their two eldest, adult children, have also moved to Australia.
Mum retired to Mt. Maunganui years ago, we often visited her there. Since she died, nearly five years ago, we have gone to Rotorua. My Auntie Eileen lives there and my cousin Anne, Eileen's daughter.
My Auntie Eileen turned 97! years of age, a week ago. She is the youngest of my dad's three older sisters. Unfortunately my dad died in 1994, of a brain tumour, aged only 66 years.
Auntie Eileen has never struck me as old, she is an active and positive woman, with many friends and interests. Her Christian faith has given her much comfort, with health scares and difficult times in life. She now lives in a retirement village, attends to her own stunning garden, enjoys helping other people and belongs to the 'Grey Warblers', a singing group.
Here I am now 60 years of age, where did the years go? I remember when I was younger, 60 seemed ancient! When I am tired, I can feel that age, if not older. Mainly, I know I am younger, like my Auntie Eileen. I realise it is our attitude, I have heard, how we are supposed to keep 'the child' inside us alive, otherwise we will be OLD!
I have seen the South Island on television and have heard so much good about its breathtaking beauty. Of course we know that you have to be there in person, to truly appreciate and experience it.
We had our dog Riley, now have Jed and we have wondered, how we would travel around with them? or if even fair on them? They have never been put in kennels. The stories of some small dogs, being attacked, others escaping, I can't see that happening.
Perhaps I should go there with a friend or a group? Ian, my partner, went there in his younger days.
With its pristine, snow capped mountains, glaciers, The Sounds and the Fiords, from the look of and other people's descriptions, it sounds very much like Heaven! Then again, I should not assume I will get there either.
~ ~ ~
BETTER THAN LIFE
By Nicola Treadwell
It’s hard to envision a place you’ve never been, let alone conceive of why you might like to go there. Many of us seem to yearn for imaginary places rather than real ones, seeking refuge in a tattered paperback novel, or in the visions of the imagination, or in the vivid landscapes of video games.
For the optimistic tech entrepreneur, Xavier Boucher, the obsession with visiting imaginary worlds was more than just mindless escapism. Not only did he conceive of imaginary worlds and visit them, he profited from them. He couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to traverse the real world. It was rife with mundanities, inconveniences and pandemics. Why shouldn’t one simply spend their days immersed in a virtual world?
Ten years ago, Xavier had proposed the ideal business model for maximising engagement with virtual reality. Thus, Better Than Life was born; a highly interactive form of VR which lived up to its name. It was fully immersive, integrating all five of the senses (including haptic feedback) and encompassing everything you could ever need: the education system, workplaces and access to collective knowledge. It even included modules that assisted with sleep and exercise.
There were many critics of Better Than Life, and their chief criticism was that VR was “not real”. An assertion was made that it was “just a simulation”, to which Xavier Boucher publicly responded: “It has been theorised that reality itself is probably a simulation. Why is the ‘real world’ any more virtuous than the virtual? How is it any more real?”
As Better Than Life became more advanced and affordable, most people spent all their waking lives in VR and were rarely present in the physical world. Meals were delivered to their houses by drone, and conventional exercise became uncommon. Face-to-face conversations became archaic, since everyone was already meeting in a simulation which was more compelling and engaging than the real world.
Despite the addictive nature of Better Than Life, it didn’t have solely dystopian consequences. In some respects, the world verged on utopian. People became less reliant on physical objects, lessening environmental destruction, and urban environments were reclaimed by nature in the absence of human activity. Advancements in other fields of technology accelerated rapidly; food production became fully automated, transport became self-driven and renewably powered, and solutions to climate change became more viable as atmospheric carbon was sequestered by machines.
As fate would have it, humanity was suspended in a collective dream.
Inevitably, there were darker aspects to Better Than Life. Xavier saw the storm before it came to pass. He enjoyed an opulent lifestyle in seclusion before realising the full implications of what he had done.
Most people were oblivious to the physical world, so the financial elite took advantage of the remaining land and resources. Those who couldn’t afford Better Than Life were excluded from the opportunities that it offered, which furthered the divide between the rich and poor. Many people chose to live in miniscule dwellings which were falling into disrepair in the heart of the slums.
It was only a matter of time before corporations began to advertise products in Better Than Life, and governments started to spread propaganda throughout the major channels. Fortunately, an ‘underground movement’ of sorts emerged, with many users customising hardware and software to evade ads, misinformation and mass surveillance. You had to pay to stop the ads and to customise your avatar to varying degrees. Your avatar was indispensable, since it was how everyone perceived you — a default avatar tended to indicate lower socioeconomic status.
The developers of Better Than Life ensured that it was highly addictive. This, coupled with the propaganda campaigns that portrayed it as ‘progressive’ and ‘revolutionary’ meant that humanity stayed in the mass simulation for some time. Reproduction rates fell, creating an aging global population. Those who cared to walk the silent streets would see overgrown vegetation, with the occasional delivery drone flying overhead and sunlight dappling the yellow-greenery. Mankind existed in a technocracy in which consumerism had fallen and nature was inheriting the earth.
~ ~ ~