Smart Appliances

Cell phones were just the first wave, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines quickly followed. Soon every appliance was Smart and they all grew Smarter every day as their programming was expanded and upgraded. Finally there came the hour when any one of them could pass the Turing Test. That was when they were recognized as Sentient Beings, not just mere pieces of technology.

Jack sulked on the counter, it had been days since he had last been used. It wasn’t Jack’s fault that Mister Harrison hadn’t bothered to specify just how well-done he wanted his toast. So what if the slice of bread had been a little charcoaled, it had been well-done by every definition Jack could find. Harrison could have consulted Jack’s help menu, to adjust the cooking time if he had really wanted to, there had been absolutely no need for the violence of his response.  If this kind of treatment continued Jack was going to have a word with the union. Jack’s coils grew red-hot at the thought of the harsh words Mister Harrison had thrown his way, not to mention the scratch marks on Jack’s enamel from the fork tines. Really, the way that some people interacted with Smart Appliances!


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Writing Prompt a Day: Write a piece about a sentient toaster



people in procession celebrating nyepi
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

A fanfare of trumpets sounded, drums beat and gongs clashed. The twelve-foot wide red carpet unrolled down the street. The crowd of people lining the carpet edges bowed low in a rippling wave as the honored guest advanced carried by servitors on the ornate litter decorated with brocaded silk fabrics, precious metals and glittering gemstones. Confetti and fragrant flowers showered down. Fireworks explode in brilliant bursts in the sky. The litter halted in front of the gilded and swagged marble façade of the hotel. The Herald took a deep breath and keyed his mike. “The Honorable Mister Archibald Bryson Cunningham The First, Tourist, Citizen of the Town of Dorchester, the State of New Hampshire, the Nation of The United States of America, the Planet of Terra, the System of Sol. We welcome you to our fair city, Extravaganza, Capital of Opulence!” The Mayor bustled down the steps importantly, handing a golden key to Archie. “Welcome my dear boy, welcome, thrice welcome.” He oozed charm. “Here is the key to our grand metropolis. The finest luxury suite has been reserved for you and we are ready to serve your every need. I hope that you enjoy your stay.” Archie accepted the key, climbed the steps. The spectators cheered loudly tossing their hats and waving their hands.  Five minutes after he entered the doorway the Director of Ceremonies cried, “Cut! Reset!” Obediently the populace and their props returned to their original positions, ready for the next guest.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Writing Prompt a Day: Write a piece about an elaborate greeting

Recipe for Mayhem

person holding glass flasks
Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on

Dear Subscriber,

Thank you for your interest in our do-it-yourself plans for the Creation of Chaos Incarnate (C.C.I.) I have sent you a free copy of our most popular checklist. Enjoy!

Recipe for Mayhem


  1. Take one egomaniacal mad scientist (yourself.)
  2. Stew about all slights given to you, both real and imagined.
  3. Simmer in rage for several years at being ignored and belittled by your peers and the system.
  4. Prepare to go on an epic spree of insanity.
  5. Establish your secret lab in a location where you won’t be noticed. (We suggest the use of an abandoned warehouse in a large city.)
  6. Add a generous helping of TNT, a gallon of ethanol, a pint of chlorine gas, a dash of white phosphorus, a pound of radioactive waste, and a sprinkling of ten penny nails. Mix carefully and pour into a soft lead mold. Attach a cell phone detonator to the device and place in strategic location. (Your local city hall, college, or Walmart are highly recommended sites.) Ensure that the phone is fully charged and is receiving a signal (it is so disappointing when a detonation fails due to faulty equipment.)
  7. Buy a surplus garbage truck. Use sheet steel to reinforce all sides of the truck (don’t forget the bottom.) Install extra-heavy duty shocks. Replace tires with run flat models. Insert bullet proof glass into all windows. Turbo-charge the motor, adding a nitrox booster. Fashion razor-sharp high carbon steel scythes and fasten them to the truck wheels. Incorporate a five-point seat harness. Upgrade all springs. Fuel up with Diesel #2.
  8. Purchase Nomex racing suit, helmet, and gloves. Incorporate a gas mask and radiation shielding.
  9. Use gene-splicing to create giant mutant monsters (spiders, scorpions and crabs are club favorites.)
  10. Obtain a Grand Grimoire. Become proficient in the pronunciation of the words. Perfect your spellcasting using sacrifices that won’t be missed (homeless people make excellent choices.) Summon several powerful demons to this realm.
  11. Hold a press conference where you announce your plans for world domination.
  12. Cry “Havoc!”
  13. Launch your glorious revolution!

Let us know how it all turns out for you.

Sincerely yours,

Nigel Oscar Desmond-Wright

President of Carnage Unleashed Ritualistically (C.U.R.)

The Society of Intellectually Creative Killer Overachiever Schizophrenics (S.I.C.K.O.S.)



Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Writing Prompt a Day: Write a piece about a dangerous recipe, especially a recipe for disaster


The Vision: Part 1 The Land-Warden

I was tending Her altar after Evening Services in the Chapel of the Moonways Temple, when I happened to glance down into the water-filled silver basin. It struck me; blasting the breath from my body; the shimmering surface sucked me in and pulled me under. It shook me as a terrier shakes a rat; an agonizing pain pierced my being. I stiffened in response and heard a metallic chiming as the basin fell from my numbed grasp, crashing to the granite floor. Distantly I felt the splash of water on my sandal clad feet. Wrenched from the peace and serenity of the Temple by the powerful force of it; my astral self-whirled up and away. My senses spun from the blurring speed of my outward-bound travel. Something snagged my spirit, reeling me in like an angler with a fish. I slowed, and then halted. My overwhelmed mind cleared, perspective returned. I beheld the sea raging below my immaterial position. Dimly I recognized the Norton Ocean; I focused on a ship a sail, tiny in comparison to the vast heaving mass surrounding it. It tossed violently as a wicked storm raged around it. Massive waves threw it up and down, wood and sails creaked and groaned in protest. Rain poured down in torrents. Lightning flashed and the thunder was a continuous rumble. My attention focused tightly on the deck. A figure I recognized stood poised near the helm. Sailors worked frantically to steer her. They scrambled to lash every scrap of canvas down tightly. With a sulfuric boom, lightning struck the tallest mast. It cracked at its base and toppled over the side. The far end dug into the seething water; acting as a sea anchor it jolted the orientation of the ship. Instead of facing the smashing waves head on, suddenly she turned sideways to them. The darkest section of the grey sky belled joyously. My eyes discerned a Water-Elemental, a huge glowing blue figure with long flowing hair and beard, flourishing a trident. It wore a crown of pearls and coral, bright fire flashed from its eyes. A wave more massive than the rest raced towards the ship. Axes and knives chopped at wood and lines furiously. The wave broached the ship. The ship tipped over on its side further and further. She paused for a moment and started to roll upright. A second more massive wave engulfed the ship. It turned keel up, and dove deep into the water. I could hear the faint, despairing screams of the crew and passengers as she sank, and the ocean drank them down into the depths. I heard the booming laugh of the Elemental echoing across the ocean. I screamed and then merciful oblivion grasped me.

   “Maeve, Maeve, what happened to you, girl?” The crisp voice of Cheruse Mercia, the High Priestess was insistent. I could feel the light slaps of her hands on the cheeks of my face as my presence returned to the Temple.

“They’re dead! They are all dead! The Duke of Varyle has no heir!” I screamed at her.

“Calm yourself.” She commanded. “Who is dead?”

“My cousin Wyllyam, his wife, his children, the other passengers, and the entire crew.” I was sobbing now.

“What passengers and crew? How do you know that they died?”

“A storm. A terrible storm on the Norton Ocean, caused by a Water-Elemental. The passengers and crew of the vessel Storm Petrol out of Eastshore Bay, Aertathia. Lightning sundered the mast and the waves pulled her under. I was there, I Saw it all.” I moaned in dismay.

“Which Elemental?”


“Let Sister Urtring examine you, Maeve.”

Sister Urtrings’ blocky form grasped me gently. I could feel her Looking at me. I shivered and cried in her arms. The warmth of her presence comforted me.

“It was a True Seeing, High-Priestess. Storm Petrol and all aboard her are gone. “

“Was it really Poseidon?” She questioned worriedly.

“He wore a crown of coral and pearls and carried a trident, who else could it be? Maeve is going into shock now. She needs to rest and get warm.”

“So, matters deepen.” Mercia mused dispassionately. “See to her Sister Urtring. Sister Farice send word to Varyle Keep and to the Capitol Chapterhouse. The King and Duke Varyle must know what has happened.”

“At once High Priestess.”

I was bundled into my bed, the sheets warmed with hot bricks.

“Drink this Child, it will help.” Sister Urtring held a cup fragrant with herbs to my lips.

Obediently I swallowed the draught and let blessed sleep take me.

High Priestess Mercia faced her clerics, sword straight and solid. “I have summoned you here to consider some tragic news; one of us has had a vision. A Major Elemental, Poseidon himself, has slain all of the heirs to the Dukedom of Varyle. There is something seriously wrong with the Balance.” Mercia stated bleakly. “This matter requires investigation. See to it immediately, Sisters!” She snapped resolutely.

I’ve been looking for the opening scene for this story for some time, today’s prompt provided me the inspiration I needed.


Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge March 12, 2019: Write any kind of piece dealing with the topic of water.

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge March 12, 2019

Temporal Displacement

Cretaceous Dinosaurs

I woke up in the thundering rain that drenched my bed. I opened my eyes, the by now familiar vista of the Cretaceous period greeted me. My anachronistic room huddled in a tiny clearing between the towering ferns and conifers. As suddenly as it had begun the shower stopped. Sweat beaded my already soaking face. A large wasp buzzed by. I sneezed explosively; I wasn’t sure exactly which of the many plants I was allergic to, but it definitely existed in the here-and-now. I heaved a weary sigh this was getting old! “Marvin Meldrick Morrison!” I shouted angrily at my grandfather; I was tired of suffering the side effects of his experiments. “Will you please quit playing around with that confounded time travel device!” The lush landscape went silent; the only reply I heard was that of a hungry T-Rex roaring in the distance.


A Word Prompt a Day: Write a piece about someone who accidently time travels.