Waitakere Writerss

Write fifty words  using quench, young, smash, ideal.



It is not ideal that young people are pitted against one another in arenas akin to gladiator pits to prepare them for the workforce. But sometimes diamonds form under intense pressure. Ingrid was unable to quench her thirst for glory and tended to smash her opponents in martial arts tournaments.



“God I’m parched.” It was a hot day and the colonel looked as haggard as a Saharan camel.

“A whisky perhaps to quench your thirst," enquired Mrs Cadwallader knowingly, a young frisky look on her face.

Ideal.” He replied enthusiastically, “I could really smash a large one with soda and ice.”



Smash! the jar slipped from her grip. "Sorry!, I wanted to show you to mummy."

"Not the ideal way to meet, my name is Rosette, what's yours?"


"Kelly, your mother won't see me, you are young and believe."

"At least you will quench your desire to find us fairies."



"A little knowledge goes a long way," said Santa, pausing to quench his thirst. "Don't smash into any chimneys. I did that a few times when I was young and the outcome was, shall we say, not ideal."

"No smashing into chimneys?" said the Grinch. "Why that's half the fun!"



Looking to quench the enthusiasm of the young, it is imperative to smash their drive. As they approach the line of attack as it drives across the field in a desperate repulse of a frontal foray, their leaders looked as they realised what was happening was truly ideal


The young urban man realised that a road trip holiday around the far south of the South Island would be an ideal way to catch up with rarely seen friends. It would quench his thirst for peace and quiet and outdoor life, and smash the main threat of the pandemic.



Write a short story on the theme

A little knowledge goes a long way.



By Jeremy Drummond

A trickle of blood ran slowly down the corner of Louis Jackson’s mouth. Aware, horrified, but at the same time uncaring, he fumbled for a tissue which was as usual painfully out of reach. “Not feeling too great today”? The nurse asked as she absent minded wiped away the trickle with a Kleenex.

He attempted to reply, to perhaps tell her that in a hospice most days weren’t too great, but a gasping cough racked his chest, flooding his chin with another layer of blood. He liked this nurse. Her name was Judy and she smiled more than the others. The others were miserable, mean spirited and devoid of sympathy, he thought bitterly, though he assumed that was his cynicism shining through. 

At 67 years old he watched, as the nurse, a young pretty thing, fluffing with a blood pressure monitor reflecting that her whole life was in front of her. In front of him in contrast, his whole death was waiting. With stage four cancer devouring his lungs he breathed each breath with a slow laboured determination, ignoring the sharp throbbing of agony that gripped his chest.

At 15 he had started smoking. A dare behind the school bike shed progressed to the odd cigarette with friends after cricket practice. Before long he found himself smoking every day, progressing then to the pack and a half a day he maintained for nearly fifty years. When he smoked that first cigarette, he knew smoking killed but did he really know? Sure, emblazoned across every packet was gruesome pictures taken from medical journals. “Smoking causes cancer,” bold letters proclaimed as he opened the pack to grab a Benson and Hedges, his soon to be choice of preferred poison. He knew full well he could wind up like he was now, strapped to a hospice bed agonising for each breath. He knew smoking killed. But did he know like he knew now, having experienced first-hand tumours spreading slowly through his chest? The daily vomiting of bile as the chemo poisoned him in a vain attempt to cure something no cure was going to solve. Did he know the sadness he would live each day fearing the inevitable yet yearning for it, hoping for an end to his pain? If he knew what he did now he would have tossed that crumpled cigarette packet passed among his friends on the ground and crushed it. But he did know back then, they all did. As usual youth saw itself as immortal, unaware of the countless generations under the soil who assumed the same thing. So, the knowledge was discarded.

“Would you like something for the pain Mr Jackson,” the nurse asked kindly with concern in her eyes. This time he didn’t even attempt to answer. Nothing helped the pain. He knew that. She knew that. He watched jealously as she took effortless breaths as he struggled for his. “Just water,” he finally gasped before another coughing fit wracked his body. 

“Could a little bit of knowledge be a lot”? he reflected thinking back to a time of naivete when he ignored the warning on the cigarette packet behind the bike shed.

“Yes,” he decided, “but only if one took heed.”




By Nicola Treadwell

It had begun as a fun diversion, and escalated to an epidemic; not of a physiological virus, but of a ubiquitous addiction.

When my aunt chastised me for having the addiction, I denied it. To acknowledge the addiction would have been to call into question the endless dopamine hits and sense of social belonging. Little did I know that the addiction would last for well over a decade, if not for the rest of my life. I still get my daily fixes and have tried to quit many times despite feeling powerless to do so. Cycles of addiction tend to involve normalisation, withdrawal and relapse.

I am not alone in this. Most people are bound to this vice, isolated by it and limited by it, while under the illusion that it is connecting them to their loved ones and enhancing their lives. Above all, there is a widespread conception that it is entirely normal.

The drug I am referring to is social media.

I would argue that being conscious of the impacts of technology use upon neurology and behaviour is becoming increasingly essential for understanding the self, social change and for following the progression of human evolution. It has transformed the ways in which people connect and irrevocably altered human behaviour.

An obvious question is “why don’t we just have more willpower around technology”? There is some legitimacy to this question, but it ignores two important considerations.

Firstly, tech conglomerates profit from the ongoing sale of our data, which is being used to make predictions about consumer behaviour and no doubt also being used for political ends. People employed at these corporations intentionally keep us addicted to their platforms and analyse our data. We are the products being sold.

Secondly, there are studies which demonstrate that willpower is finite; even the most conscientious of people cannot draw upon willpower forever as if it is an infinite resource. You can ignore the notification for a while, but you’ll probably get to it eventually, or feel guilty if you don’t. Discipline will only get you so far, because everyone is on it. People are strongly influenced by their social environments, including social networks … And a social network is not a social environment that is in accordance with our instincts. It is a proxy for social interaction, ticking the boxes of true communication without ever really delivering.

Social media platforms have been likened to slot machines: the sound or sight of the notification creates a dopamine hit as you anticipate the reward, and then another dopamine hit as you check the notification. Often the payoff for checking the notification feels inadequate, because it is. Is it really necessary to express the slightest inconvenience or piece of gossip to everyone at all times? Are memes an adequate substitute for wit and humour? Do emojis sufficiently replace expressions of genuine emotion?

The impacts on the mind and on behaviour are undeniable. The plethora of apps and browser tabs that vie for your attention erode your attention span as you gravitate between them. The plethora of social feedback, both positive and negative, keeps you on “the dopamine carousel”: an ongoing emotional rollercoaster which creates difficulty with regulating emotions. The sudden impulse to check your phone (which seems to be more often than most of us care to admit) makes us less capable of controlling our impulses.

It is probably not a coincidence that entire generations with eroded attention spans, limited emotional regulation and poor impulse control are more inclined to buy things that they don’t need. Indeed, it is probable that smartphone addiction not only perpetuates consumer culture, but distracts people from real issues and makes them less capable of critical thought. Clarity of thought and sustained attention are becoming things of the past.

I could wax poetic about further detrimental impacts of social media; for example, the isolation that it furthers — you feel lonely when you have no messages, but ironically, you are lonely because so many people are on their phones instead of meeting in person. There is also the apathy and physical atrophy that addiction to technology generates. Additionally, there is the loss of deep literacy, which is “what happens when a reader engages with an extended piece of writing in such a way as to anticipate an author's direction and meaning, and engages what one already knows in a dialectical process with the text. The result, with any luck, is a fusion of writer and reader, with the potential to bear original insight.” (Interestingly, deep literacy does not include decoding written symbols, writing one's name, or making lists.)

Despite writing for a living, I do not read. I lack the deep focus to finish a book, and this is solely because of my addiction to technology. I expect that future generations will regard books as archaic, which seems saddening. Reading gives people the tools to write, which in turn gives them the ability to express themselves coherently and meaningfully. Books are repositories of collective knowledge ... And a little knowledge goes a long way.



By Dick Smith

Henry had had a hard life and by the time he reached his late teens he had come to grips with most of the dark things that his ghetto-like urban environment could throw at him. He had become as thick skinned as an armadillo and as phlegmatic as a dairy cow. At eighteen he was now drifting happily through life with no particular aim in mind and a smile on his face.

Henry was scholastically dumb, there was no doubt about that. He had passed through the intellectual sausage factory that is the New Zealand educational system without it making any kind of notable impression on his basic ability to accumulate or process learning of any major kind. He had successfully evaded the arts of reading and writing and had shown no desire to spend any time on matters of scientific, geographic or historical significance. Surprisingly though, considering his general educational reluctance he had taken a keen interest in one particular branch of mathematics. He was an absolute whizz when it came to handling financial matters of any kind. Nobody, but nobody could diddle him for a dollar however hard they might try.

Henry was an ugly buggar too. He had a heavy clumpy body and the sort of face that people might say would “sink a thousand ships.” His body was darkly hirsute and his long lank hair straggled aimlessly down to rest in untidy tufts on his shoulders.

Henry’s upbringing had been diabolical. It would be absolutely politically incorrect to describe Henry’s parents in any kind of realistic way but suffice to say their motherly and fatherly instincts were lacking and Henry’s upbringing had suffered deeply as a result. 

He was however as strong as an ox and as tough as a Pak ‘n Save meat pack. He was surprisingly light on his feet and during his childhood, puberty and adolescence had developed quite remarkable skills in the noble art of self defence. 

One day while Henry was idly flicking the channels back and forth on the family TV he made a life changing discovery. He had reached the higher numbers in Sky Sport when he came upon a channel featuring two large violent looking men hitting and kicking the tripe out of each other while contained safely within the boundaries of a large steel cage. Egging them on were scores of loud mouthed, moronic looking spectators eagerly and noisily screaming verbal incitements. Henry continued to watch excitedly as pair after pair of psychopathic behemoths continued to intimidate one another in the most vicious of ways.

“My God,” said Henry to himself. “I could do that and I reckon they’d pay me a fortune.”

He made enquiries and was directed to a gym which he was told specialised in the art of kickboxing.

He was, of course, an almost instant sensation. Once he was trained not to bite and to give respect to the more tender parts of the male anatomy, his strength, speed and natural belligerence aroused intense interest among the promoters of these gladiatorial contests. Dollar signs glinted in their avaricious eyes.

Two promoters who were out-and-out crooked shysters got together and decided to make Henry an offer to go professional. After talking with him for some time they came to the conclusion that he was naive and unworldly and that they should be able to sign him up for a pittance. They arranged a meeting and offered Henry a managerial package. Henry listened carefully to their pitch and then burst into gales of laughter.

“I am not a learned fellow,” he chortled, “and I know little of the many subjects that were inflicted on me in my school days. However,” he continued, “Over the years I have gleaned a little knowledge of money handling to go with my physical strength and I know that little knowledge will help me go a long way.” He looked in turn at each of the two men.

“If you up your offer by a million dollars that will be a good starting point.”



By Robert D. McKibbin

Buying a vehicle is a trying time, especially if it is your first foray into the experience and many a decision has been spoilt by developing a negative aspect in the negotiation. A young man had secured sufficient funds to ensure a successful completion of the purchase but he allowed himself the license of questioning the ownership of the vehicle he was contemplating. The salesman had dealt with the various issues regarding the price, warranties, but had failed to overcome the objections as to the vehicle's written ownership: "But the first owner was the firm that sold it first, and that owner had sold it to another dealership, who sold it on to the second owner"

"Yes!" the prospective buyer said, "that means four previous owners!"

"I ought to explain" replied the salesman, "That counts as two owners!"

"Still looks like four to me and I think the price should reflect that."

"I can see that you are somewhat confused by the system and I ought to explain that our dealership will be recorded as the fifth entry when we sell it to whoever buys it!"

"This get worse, I think I should get a serious chunk off the purchase price!

"Does this mean you would buy the car?"

"If there's a discount, I would consider it?"

The salesman picked up his phone and spoke to his manager. As he finished speaking, he turned and said, "Okay, you've have a fifty-dollar discount!"

"Only fifty, I was expecting at least two hundred."

"Look," the salesman scratched his head, and told his prospect, "The boss would probably go for a hundred!"

"Then the young man smiled, "we have got a deal! When can I pick it up?" 

The salesman was quite surprised. "Soon as you've paid the purchase price and fixed up the paperwork."

"So let us do it now!"




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