Waitakere Writerss


Write 50 words including — gape, phrase, brass, tumult.




The crowd stood to gape as the mayor repeated the ominous phrase. What did it mean? What threat?  Go home, lockdown? There was tumult and pandemonium when they heard it was to last at least two weeks … and they may as well use the time to polish their brass ornaments.


Colin clutches a brass necklace, a tumult of emotions playing at the periphery of his mind. He bellows a phrase rife with expletives and hurls the necklace against the wall, shattering the locket. Little does he know that his sister watches from afar, unable to do anything but gape silently.


Sisters Shelley and Tania, joined the crowd, blissfully listening to the brass band playing Christmas carols. A tumult nearby started up, of anti-vaxers/lockdown protestors. A gape appeared on many faces. "How disrespecful of those who have died," remarked Shelley. "I could phrase it not so politely," replied Tania. 


It's absolutely pandemonium out there! All the clamour and tumult about  the outbreak is causing a lot of commotion, and the top brass are not doing much about it either, except stand and gape, quoting some suitable phrase! I do wonder sometimes where the high have got the nerve.


The phrasebrass monkeys’ came to mind. Clare could only gape at the falling column of mercury and the snow descending in a tumult of white flakes that blotted out the horizon. The power was off, night was falling and dawn was something none of them might live to see.


The ever-widening gape spread across his face as he stood and contemplated the specific phrases which formed familiar threatening  attitudes he hoped would  be  understood by others to be stalwart - bold as brass in an effort  to confront the coming tumults facing him. He would win as always.


You can only gape in wonder when the writer composes a new phrase as polished as a brass door knocker, and steps into the house that is your mind, to join you at dinner, to help devour the tumult of disorganised information on the takeaway menu of recipes for reality.


It was a warm sunny Independence Day in Central Park. As the brass band finished playing the final phrase of the Star-Spangled Banner, an almighty explosion ripped through the crowd. Amidst the tumult that ensued, Tom looked down and saw a huge gape in his left side. Everything went black.


“Don’t just gape. Open, and let’s taste ,” Mrs Cadwallader looked at the jar. “What‘s in it anyway?”

“In a phrase , gherkin chutney from Irene,” replied the colonel.

“Tastes of brass,” replied Mrs Cadwallader with a wry smile.

“Tumult of the Gods woman, does nothing please you?”  He shuddered.



Write a short piece about how Youth Must Have Its Fling




By Nicola Treadwell

Frederic and Ethan stand in an open-plan warehouse littered with an array of electronics — single-board microcontrollers, hybrid actuators and half-constructed mechanical limbs are scattered amid a sea of multicoloured cables. A human-sized robot takes the centre of the room, all white, black and silver; a power pack rests upon its back, and its powerful limbs gleam inside intricate metal casing. Three large crates are positioned at various intervals around the warehouse floor.

“I can’t believe it’s been two months already … Who would’ve thought a computer science internship would be so much fun?” Frederic says.

“At least you’re getting paid for this,” Ethan replies sullenly.

“Yeah, I can’t say I envy you,” Frederic laughs. “Wait … Were you at the quantum computing conference on Tuesday? I couldn’t help but notice that girl, Maria ...”

“Oh, I know Maria. She’s a postgraduate student as well. I think she wrote her thesis on artificial intelligence.”

“I think she’s gorgeous.”

Ethan raises an eyebrow. “You’re not wrong. But don’t go working too hard on that crush. An internship at Boston Dynamics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Frederic mulls this over, walking over to a nearby console. “I suppose you’re right. We should probably focus.”

Frederic begins to type code into the console, issuing some commands to the robot. Ethan hovers over his shoulder, seemingly about to make a suggestion, but Frederic ignores him. After a time, Frederic mutters idly: “... and with that, the prototype should stack the crates using the optimum procedure. Would you like to add the finishing touches?” He steps back, retrieving his smartphone from his coat pocket. Ethan begins to finalise the code while Frederic holds his phone aloft.

“I know we signed an NDA, but I just have to film this,” Frederic exclaims.

The two interns watch as the robot powers on, but are entirely unprepared for what happens next. In a stampede of its robust limbs, the robot launches itself toward Ethan. It lunges at his head, and with a sickening crunch, Ethan is knocked to the ground. Frederic screams and drops his phone, barely having time to register the incident as blood pools around the body of his coworker.

Pure adrenaline courses through his veins as the robot turns to advance toward him. Somewhere in the midst of the fight-or-flight response, Frederic manages to stumble back to the console that controls the machine. Frantically recalling the necessary code to shut it down, he executes the code with trembling fingers. The robot halts silently, its limbs frozen in mid-air inches from Frederic’s body. A heavy silence hangs in the air, and Frederic staggers backwards, reeling from those sinister mechanoid hands. From behind him, a voice shrieks:

“The machines are gaining sentience!”

A bystander stands in the doorway of the lab, aghast, with her hands clapped to her mouth.

Later that afternoon, Frederic finds himself in the office of the Chief Technology Officer of Boston Dynamics.

“What happened?” the CTO asks. “I’m assuming you didn’t program our prototype to kill your coworker.”

“What? No! Of course not … I honestly don’t know what happened. My code was simple. I asked the robot to stack some crates…”

The CTO considers this for a moment, then turns away, crestfallen. “I’m assuming you added some code to optimise the process.”

“Well, yes … But—”

The CTO glowers him into silence. “The robot followed your commands perfectly. You asked it to stack the crates in the optimum way. The ideal way to stack the crates is to first eliminate the people who might prevent it from doing so. It would have killed you both, had you not stopped it ... Then it would have continued to stack the crates.”

Frederic blinks silently, saying nothing. The CTO stands, looking haggard.

After a long pause, he says: “You’re fired. Get out of my office.”

“Wait! Sir … It’s not my fault that the base programming of the robot excludes Asimov’s three laws of robotics. The first law states that a robot shall not harm a human. Wouldn’t it be common sense to include that in the code?”

“You would think so. We’re going to have to make some significant changes to our code. This incident will ruin the reputation of our company if anyone finds out. And we’ll have to look into better training for the interns …” The CTO rubs his eyes tiredly, then shoots a sharp glance at Frederic. “Wait, were you even supposed to be in that lab today?” he asks.

“Uh, no … I mean … Not at that exact time. Honestly, sir, I was just trying to film the robot. To impress a girl,” Frederic admitted.

“I see,” the CTO said sombrely. “Well, I suppose youth must have its fling.”



By Dick Smith

“Youth must have its fling, you say,” shouted Tom exultantly as he energetically flung a large rock through the last unbroken window of the abandoned and now derelict building. “I agree wholeheartedly,” he added unnecessarily. “I fling and I flang and I flong and I flung and the world is my oyster.”

“You’re nuts,” sulked Janey, a look of disappointed frustration on her face “That’s not the sort of fling I was talking about. She jumped to her feet and grasped Tom’s hand and tried energetically to guide him back to the blanket she had laid in the long grass behind the building.

But Tom was having nothing of it. He was on a roll and his natural goofiness had quite taken over his personality. He shook off Janey’s hand before she could completely capture him and seized an even larger rock that lay enticingly in the overgrown and weedy remains of a vegetable garden.

“Yes youth must have its fling,” he roared again to the unhearing sky. "Flingity, flangity, flong,” he sang in an uneven, ill orchestrated monotone. “Crash!” he added superfluously as the second projectile hurtled unerringly after the first. Satisfyingly it added a measurable amount of additional destruction to the already shattered window.

“Oh shit,” muttered Janey to herself. “All my preparations gone to waste, it seems.” She looked sadly at the now empty bottle she had stolen and shook her head. “You,” she addressed the bottle firmly, “You were supposed to be a starter not a finisher. You were supposed to celebrate my first successful youthful fling. Suppose I should have kept you in the basket till the real fling was flung.”  She sat sadly on the rumpled blanket her lips pouting with disappointment and her more than ample chest heaving in sympathy.

“Tom,” she called again. “Tom, come here. There is still a fling to be flung.” It was a final almost plaintive plea for attention.

Unfortunately the time for flinging was past. If Tom had been in on the real intent of the picnic right from the start there is little doubt he would have been a willing, nay a downright eager, participant.  Regrettably the bottle had won the battle before his sluggish mind had fully grasped the subtle implications of the occasion. As its contents made their final demands on his increasingly alcohol saturated mind he had quite lost the plot. After a few more flings, flangs, flongs and flungs Tom had fallen flat on his face and was now totally unavailable for youthful flinging of any sort whatsoever.

“Buggar,” said Janey.



By Marnie Weston

I must chill out, so I drive all the way out to the Cascades and go for a walk up and down the exquisitely, healthy, glowing grass hills. I feel the cleansing and gentle easing effect of the refreshing pure oxygen energizing my lungs and pervading through my entire body, mind and soul. While my soul celebrants the beaming vibrant eyes of wild rabbits as they bound around like majesty in motion. Finally, I am now ready to study! Reluctantly, I walk back to the car, as I could just stay here all day long. After getting in the car, I realize it is quiet here, with the uplifting ambience and bird symphonies, so I start to do my study here in the Cascades. As I am now focused, engaged, and enjoying my study, I go through it in leaps and bounds.

Instead of staying and blissfully savoring a fresh, healthy, and delicious picnic dinner, I drag myself home, as I said I would go to the missionary discussions with the church missionaries. Those racist church leaders always try to make out that I am not very bright and take credit for my ideas. Knowing these missionaries were Americans, I thought I would go to these missionary discussions and show off the heights of my intelligence and the depths of my wisdom, as I knew it would go all over the church, and so it did.

At the end of this meeting with the missionaries, they always shake hands, I put my hand out to shake a hand. I was not even looking at him. I just thought, aw yeah, just another missionary! But, when I felt those soft, gentle, warm and peaceful hands, I bobbed and turned to face him and looked him directly in the eyes. I saw the way he looked at me and I thought, Oh No! He thinks I am interested in him. I followed the pattern every Tuesday, I would go out to the Cascades and then home to the missionary discussions, then delight and rejoice in hearing through the church grapevine how great my answers were.

On Christmas Eve, our family drives down to Hamilton to see the Christmas Temple lights. I love beautiful, sparkling, scintillating colored lights. Just by chance in the mass crowds from all over New Zealand we bumped into those missionaries, we shook hands, we talked, we took photos. On New Year’s Eve a copy of those photos is put in my hands. I took one look at a photo, and I could not believe the way I felt. After that when I met him, when he shook my hand I would just lightly and gently drag my hand along his and he would light up and smile. This went on until one night he tried to kiss me which was taboo for missionaries, so I was taken aback. The bishop got mad and threatened to send him home to America in disgrace! He was only sent to Hamilton. Four years later, he came back here, supposedly, for me, but he was the polar opposite of the missionary I knew and loved, he was possessed with the Devil!



By Carrolyyn Hollett

In this case Lucy had not had a fling in her younger days. She had been far too shy and skinny, with neither much in the way of bosom or bottom, which did not help her self esteem. She had had some interest in her nonetheless, thinking they were just being kind asking her out or teasing her. She was not the least bit interested in sex, it was something you just didn't do, outside of marriage.

After knowing Simon for many years through church and going out with him for some time. He asked her to marry him and she said yes. They both being good Christians, they had saved themselves for their wedding night. Lucy was highly disappointed, thinking is that it? Both being not at all experienced obviously, which did not help.

They produced a baby daughter, Hayley, who was followed by a son, Daniel, two years later. Simon worked as a mechanic having done his apprenticeship. Lucy became a teacher of primary school children, and she loved her job. 

The years went by and Lucy had gained weight and had a good figure, now having generous breasts and a bottom. A new male teacher, Ryan and her, became good friends. He too was married with children.

Before they both knew it, they couldn't stop thinking about each other, and felt so alive and happy. Lucy had gained confidence through doing  her job and with styling her hair and applying makeup. 

Both in long, non-exciting marriages, they had not exactly been in love with their spouses. They hadn't known what they were missing. Ryan had married Jenny when she got pregnant when they were 18.

Lucy and Ryan, no longer in their youth, had a fling! Their feelings for each other were serious. Not wanting to hurt their husband or wife or children, they kept it a secret.

Now an elderly woman, Lucy looked at the photographs of her and Ryan, all those years ago. A fine looking couple they made.

"Good morning my love, you're up early," said the man, leaning down to kiss her, she sitting at the kitchen table.

"Morning my lover," smiled Lucy.

Ryan and Lucy had waited many years for this day, where they could be together and it was truly worth waiting for.  



By Carl Kjellberg

Kelly sat on the floor of her grandparent's lounge enjoying the warmth of the afternoon summer sun streaming through the bay window behind her. Gina, her six-month-old daughter, lay on her lap and was looking up at her expectantly. 

“Peep-Bo!” said Kelly as she pulled her hands away from her face. 

Gina giggled loudly. 

“I used to play Peep-Bo once,” said Maria from her lazy-boy in the corner. She had a faraway look on her face. 

“You mean when I was little, grandma?” said Kelly. 

“No, long before your time and before your mother’s time,” replied Maria. “It was when I was in The Mikado. That was how your grandad and I first met. Isn’t that right Bob?” 

Bob lowered his newspaper. “Huh, what was that?” 

“Bob, for goodness's sake, turn on your damn hearing aid,” said Maria. 

Bob scowled and reached up to his right ear. 

“Anyway, I was seventeen and fairly shy but two of my friends Patsy and Christine convinced me to join them and audition at the local playhouse.” 

 “Three little maids from school are we,” sung Bob in crackling voice. He winked and gave Maria an impish grin. 

Maria blushed. “Anyway, I was surprised to be the one who was accepted. Christine was okay about missing out but Patsy was miffed. She refused to speak to me for weeks. To be honest, her singing voice was terrible!” She laughed. 

“Did you also sing grandpa?” asked Kelly.

“Heaven’s no,” said Bob. “My singing voice is worse than Patsy’s. Can’t you tell? I worked in the playhouse as a stage hand.” 

“Every time there was a change of scenes, your grandad would catch my eye backstage and give me a wink. No one else noticed, but I did.” 

“And he asked you out?” 

“Yes, but initially I refused. The problem was, my dad was very religious. He wouldn’t let me go to the theatre to see musicals, let alone go out with a boy who worked at one. Mum and dad thought I was going out with Christine each time I went to the playhouse, which was partly true.” 

“But I was persistent,” said Bob. 

“After the show season finished, we started going out. Well, things went a bit too far and of course I fell pregnant. As they say, ‘youth must have its fling.’” 

“What happened when your parents found out?” 

“All hell broke loose, so much so that your grandad and I planned to run away together. Only when mum intervened and your grandad spoke to my dad apologising, saying that he wanted to marry me, things changed.” 

“It was very much a case of ‘so please sir, we much regret,’” said Bob 

“Shortly afterwards, your mum was born,” said Maria. Once again, she had a that faraway look. 

Gina began to cry 

“Time for Yum-Yum,’ said Kelly picking her up. 

“Ah, Yum-Yum. As I recall, she was played by a gorgeous young girl called ...” 

“Bob? enough!” said Maria.



(with Irish accent)

By Irene Hemming

"Top of the morning to ya, Mrs O'Malley."

"The same to you Father. I trust you enjoyed your holiday."

"Oh yes, yes, yes. It was grand, it was that. Are you keeping well yourself? You seem rather troubled."

"Thank you for asking Father," Mrs O'Malley said. "It's just my grandson Dermot, who has come to live with me and he's a bit wayward."

"Ah yes," said Father Fitzgerald, "I did see Sergeant O'Brien having a chat with a group of youngsters, just this morning. I think Dermot was amongst them."

"Oh did you now," said Mrs O'Malley, "and where was this then?"

"It was on the playing field. I'm sure is was nothing to worry about, Mrs OMalley."

"Well I'll soon find out when he comes home expecting a meal," she said sternly.

Father Fitzgerald, exclaimed, "Now now, Mrs O'Malley, as the saying goes, youth must have its fling."

Her reply, "Well this youth will find out what it's like to be flung. Now I'll be on my way. Good day to you, Father."

"Don't be too harsh now, Mrs O'Malley,"

"With all due respect, Father, I will deal with troublesome matters, in my house according to my way. You deal with them in God's house your way. Just be prepared for a spell in the Confessional."

Mrs O'Malley purposefully strode away, and old Father Fitzgerald sped off as fast as he could, on his bike, happy as he would have someting to do.



By Robin J Nelson

What can the reminiscences of us oldies have to do with the youth of today? Do they even care?

Unless one is a parent or grandparent or someone else who is in daily contact with youth, what do we know, other than to gaze back into our own pasts through disjointed memories, either gilded with rose tints or corrupted with grey shadows?

The past of our youth is a graveyard of lost opportunities, fumbling expeditions into the unknown, peer pressure, falsehoods, and sometimes unmitigated joy.

We can allow our aging minds to crawl back through the years and say how wonderful it all was and how things were better in our day. But were they? The Cold War, Vietnam, Rationing, Disease. Is it any different for today’s young adults? Syria, North Korea, Russia and China. The nuclear warheads proliferate. So do biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

And let us not forget Covid and Global Warming. 

In our day, we still had fun, as do the youth of today. Some of our number joined protest marches, and some of them protest now. We got into trouble; they get into trouble. We had sex and they have sex. Some of us went bad and some of them are going bad. The cycle goes on like a movie or a book. Same plot, different cast. 

Many are gifted with creativity and talent; they want to succeed. Brilliant minds will come to the fore if presented with the opportunity. Those growing up now will create new ventures, innovations and discoveries if we allow them the chance. They are not all maladjusted delinquents, just as we were not maladjusted delinquents. They can be kind and thoughtful. Well, I don’t know about thoughtful, this is teenagers and young people we’re talking about. And do they possess common sense? How many of today’s adults can lay claim to common sense when given the excuse, the mob will still turn to mass hysteria; think Houston. But somewhere in that mob, thinkers exist who are not greedy, self-absorbed, me, me, me, and if there is a spark of common sense that says ‘don’t be part of the mob’, they might live and shine.

So, the topic is Youth Must Have its Fling. I couldn’t write a story, the title just wasn’t that inspiring, so I put together these thoughts instead.

Growing up is a difficult time and we should give our young people leeway and allow them to experiment, offer them freedom to express new ideas with the caveat that with age comes experience, and whilst that experience should not suppress creativity or smother the individual, it can, if done with honest intentions, create for the future, adults who can take care of the shit we left them, because we, the youth of yesterday screwed up.

I would add that perhaps we should all stand back and just let them start again, but my mind is drawn to the book, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, so maybe not. 



Robert D McKibbin

Jonny McCourt and I were on the Land Rover Patrol in the late afternoon working the Fairfield area of Prescot Road, ready for anything or anyone. Approaching us from the other direction was a blue Ford Anglia which looked like it had been filled with Kangaroo gas, jumping and lunging forward as it went forward, it looked like it was being driven by a very inexperienced driver. There were no learner plates and I thought it warranted investigation. We swung around and followed as it sprung ahead.

We stopped the vehicle and discovered a young boy at the wheel. He looked about fourteen, he had a similar aged youth in the passenger seat.

I asked, “Whose car is this?” and to my surprise, the passenger replied, “Sir, it is ours, we have just bought it about an hour ago from a fellow outside the Old Swan pub.”

“How much did you pay?” my pertinent question.

“Fifty pounds in cash.”

“You are joking, aren’t you? It is worth a lot more than that, more like three hundred and fifty!” I suggested.

“Well, we knew, we thought it was a good bargain, it had half a tank of petrol as well.  The gypsy looking fellow told us he was desperate to get some food for his family.”

At this point I was joined by Jonny who whispered to me that the vehicle was reported stolen early in the afternoon from the Dovecot shops. We had struck lucky.

At this point I cautioned the young men and told them they were being arrested for stealing the car.

Their protests were, “Sir, we bought honestly from the gypsy outside the pub, were paid with his mum’s coal money after he had driven us home.”

“Sir, that’s right, we got the money and handed it over. We then drove him back to the pub, and then he gave me a quick driving lesson, then we got on our way.”

“Well, we will see what happens at the station, so go and get in the back of the police car!”

At this point, we realized neither of the young men were old enough to have a driving license nor would they have any insurance. The offences were mounting.

At the station, we got assigned Detective Constable Eddy Lee. He was a very thorough policeman and as he interviewed the boys separately he was told the same story. He came to me and told me that his boss had taken a call from the licensee of the Old Swan pub about someone trying to sell a car in the bar, then he saw the same man, a bit of a gypsy, in the pub car park with a couple of boys, and saw them handing over cash to him. Then he saw them being given a short driving lesson, before doing a bunk. The publican had nothing more to do with the incident.

Furthering his enquiries, Eddy visited the homes of the youths and found out that one of the mothers had had fifty pounds taken from her coal money fund jar. She also added her son was not the brightest penny in the purse, and his naiveté was glaring. She thought that his companion was not as clever as her son, and she believed that if they said they had bought the car, that had happened.

Eddy returned to the station, had a discussion with his boss:  Detective Sergeant Wally Weeks who interviewed the prisoners again. He spent ten minutes with them and came out and said, “Charge them with taking and driving away and go up to the gypsy camp and see if you trace the real thief. I believe these boys, so they were just expressing their first fling of their youth!”



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