millennial short-story · millennials

Dronesville football club #17: a tech dog’s last gold rush time confession

Your honor, “anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead. ” (Erma Bombeck) I hereby submit that I be absolved from all liabilities/ claims if any from whichever parties in this hereafter report of the virtual football match case that took place on 30th December 2018 in a foreign gold field between Dronesville’s residents and foreigner ex-cannibals opponents.

My name is Gracie Dronesville, of indeterminable age being an orphan pup discarded at the entrance to Dronesville, profession guard dog, now mascot dog for the Dronesville Virtual Football Club. I agreed to a cameo appearance holographically but was instead compelled to watch the whole three games of football played by the worst ever teams I had witnessed in my entire doggie’s life! What a cruelty to a law abiding harmless domestic animal! I beg your pardon? Sorry, I need to rephrase the description of the teams? No personal attack? Noted your honor. Why were three games played? Because there was no undisputed score on either side! What did the referees do? Well, they were disqualified by the king within the first ten minutes. Why were the ladies referees disqualified? I imagine it’s something to do with their drawing all the attention from the men players your honor. Who were the replacement referees? As no-one else knew about the working of the virtual game the king decreed that the German-French Gen.Z kid and I the Dronesville’s dog stood in.

(Burst of uncontrollable laughter in the tech-know court followed by repeated sounds of the judge’s mallet)

You can’t hear me clearly your honor? That’s why I am standing here claiming medical, dental, cosmetic and psychological compensation! I have lost my two incisors and a third of my well-maintained coat in the most vicious game I have ever been! What? You cannot understand how I could have got physical damage in a virtual game? Haven’t you heard of the latest hyperloop capsule? What kind of tech-know court judge are you? I beg your pardon? I am sorry your honor for questioning your qualification. No you are not the problem. Point noted.

(More stifled sniggering and laughters)

Yes your honor I will hereafter continue succinctly. So after the cameo virtual appearance here I was minding my own business in the park patrolling as a good Dronesville dog does, and this drone with adaptive morphology capabilities allowing it to fold mid-flight suddenly appeared. I dashed into my compact hideout but it changed its shape to fly through the small space. It grasped me and transported me to the hyperloop station where they compressed and capsuled me into an instant pot. What? Not an instant pot or I should have said marinated me and cooked me if it was an instant pot? How am I to know the correct terminology? Anyway, to cut the story short they transmitted me instantly to the gold football field, I mean, the gold virtual football game room.

How was the game? Surely by looking at the sorry sight of this live canine specimen you would have easily deduced, good or bad, subject to your perspective on what they mean to you. You can’t deduce? You want opinion and not facts as evidenced by my physical and mental condition? Opinion it is. In my humble opinion the match was between unequals to the max. One team literally slaughtered the other. It was disastrous, a total wipeout. Nobody played by the rule. Pure anarchy. Cannibals!

Who? No, not the ex-cannibals, they played civilly by the book your honor. Who else? The spectators of course. Not our Dronesville’s nerd supporters of course. It’s the home team’s spectators. They decided to replace the players and hack the whole game. The flash mob. From where? we don’t know your honor. They just arrived from nowhere. Dressed like the real hunter-cannibals. They thought I was the game instead of the virtual football.

How did I escape? Your honor I have to give credit to my former owner, the Dronesville millennial nerd. He almost gave his life to save me from the instant pot. No, nobody was eaten. I was the only edible creature according to their modern custom nowadays. No he is not here to give witness today. The last I heard was that he has made his great escape soon after the near tragic event. They found an abandoned foldable robot in the gold dune with the AI voice assistant SiZu keeping to her right to remain silent.

Captain Romano? He got away safely during the flash mob’s invasion. Did he conspire with them in the first place? I don’t know your honor. Did my former owner, the millennial nerd get his gold? He got his share of gold alright. No penalty. The king had had such a hilarious time (and rumor was that he had an immensely monetarily rewarding time too as the game was successfully channeled with viral responses to his private online gaming network all over the globe) and was so pleased with the successful launching of his high tech game room that he decided to reward all foreign alas only human participants including the two honorary German-French referees cum gold investors and the Gen.Z mascot kid from his royal gold treasury.

Who was the final winner? What? So obvious. Here is the tip for the new year if you are thinking of changing profession: the richest people on earth are in tech.

Happy tech-know New Year 2019!

(Applause with standing ovation)

Monday December 31

Becky’s #timesquare photo challenge

millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #16: gold rush time bonanza3

Dronesville’s gold rush time bonanza3

“A great dream with a bad team is nothing more than a nightmare.” ( John C. Maxwell) I wake up early from a night of bombardment from this quote. I had a grand dream of the football field bountifully built with solid gold and I was the best ever goalkeeper but in the wrong team! At six o’clock sharp a guard escorts me to a virtual football training room. The colossal ex-cannibal footballers are there. My nerd-friend their football captain Romano is there though not allowed to play. A giant with a mouthful of gleaming teeth sticks his face close to mine and growls, “You will be our goal keeper!” So the nightmare comes true -I am in the wrong team!

The rule is that for each missed goal I will lose 25% of my share of gold if the Dronesville’s team wins. If the ex-cannibal team wins, they will keep their field of gold, retain Romano and take me as a reserve for a new season. The king will play as goalkeeper for the Dronesville’s team.

Whilst coaching this team of surprisingly very dexterous players in the virtual football game, my lightning-fast multitasking mind works on possible options. There is no option but to make this team lose for the sake of Romano’s and my freedom. But I need to make sure that the ex-cannibals lose not more than one goal to cut my share of gold loss to the minimum 25%.

The English educated young nerd king about my age, well-versed with the latest technology is having a hilarious time online with the Dronesville’s virtual football team, all former teachers retirees (ages between 65-85). They seem to love him (impressed by his perfect English) as their new goalie. Their former goalie my boss the English lord is unavailable in a mysterious undisclosed somewhere.

My Indy dad gives me good tips through the foldable plasma robot stuck to my chest. “Look boy, stop looking gloomy. It will be great fun, I promise you! Don’t worry about your head.”

“What’s wrong with my head?” I ask. But my dad is offline. SiZu, my AI voice assistant answers, “Roasted heads were the ex-cannibals’ favorite delicacy dish in olden days.”

“I still can’t understand. Why doesn’t the king stop them occupying the gold field and holding a hostage?” I regret this question immediately as SiZu faithfully uploads the whole historical political and military situation of the country. Apparently the ex-cannibals are longstanding powerful allies of the king’s family and he allows them autonomy in some matters.

When the clock strikes six at the great gold hall we are all ready to take our virtual position. The Dronesville’s team members are online. My dad has installed the latest technology for them in Dronesville too. When the teams start playing it’s truly fun for us the millennials. The holographic effect presents a virtual life show of the teams playing as if they are in the filed. The players are all dressed in their football gears. Dronesville in bright jade green and the ex-cannibals in bright orange.

The Dronesville’s retirees have shrunk in sizes and are like children compared to their opponents. But they come out with a fabulous high school cheerleaders entourage duly dance and sing the Dronesville’s song. The ex-cannibals too have their own cheer squad all wrapped in Tuareg coverings. Judging from their size, stomping dance and blood curdling chant they’ve got to be guys.

By now my nerd chat cronies are sniggering uncontrollably. One guy has the audacity to laugh aloud with his phone mike on! Yes, my dad links them up with interactive video live stream through the Dronesville’s satellite as supporters.

Who I wonder will be the referees? Hahaha, who else but the two German-French high stakeholders in our prospected gold investment dressed in Tuareg? I don’t know how they manage to persuade the king to agree. It’s got to be my dad behind the deal. The Gen.Z kid dresses as a mascot for the ex-cannibals. The Dronesville’s mascot dog Gracie does a cameo appearance holographically.

A crony who is overseas and misses the match asks me later and here is our conversation. How is the match? You are dying to know? Honestly I cannot put words to what happens that day. I have no recall of it after that disastrous event. You are not going to persuade me to remember. Why? Because I am subjective about it I cannot give you a fair description. The score? Zero for both sides. Look, why don’t you listen to Gracie’s report? She is a faithful unbiased observer. So, for those who miss the event here is The Dronesville’s dog, Gracie’s report.

(To be continued: by Gracie’s report)

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amateur nerd · millennial short-story · millennials · weekly photo challenge

2018 Dronesville’s nerd-bounty hunter

Writing a serialized story within a limited time span is challengingly rewarding, but no easy matter. The Dronesville’s story was initially started as a fun yet genuine attempt to communicate with my Gen.Z and above young relatives who live mostly in a virtual realm, being categorized into varying “generations” according to their digital ages. Where is this rather hilarious mythical yet somewhat plausibly futuristic place called Dronesville? Is there really a private chat group with nerdy cronies? Are the time-travel adventures real? Is there a troop of former teachers serious and passionate about learning the latest technologies and the virtual world? Finally, is there such a seemingly gullible self-centered-to-the-power-of-?-millennial character named, “me” (the narrator-protagonist)?

I first started the Dronesville’s story about a amateur or would-be nerd (in reality treasure bounty hunter young man) and his adventures on 2016-07-09 titled: eye in sky: no, it’s not a drone.dronexit#1.  The series consists of 26 episodes, ended 2016-08-13 with to reach or not to reach (Dronexit#26)

Dronesville’s gigantic eyeball in the skyh

After that I followed with another series: Dronesville adventure#1 Gigantic eyeball on 2016-08-20. The series ended with Dronesville adventure #22: rounded up last but not least on 2017-10-30.

The current series was started on 2017-11-04 with this: Dronesville football club #1: He starts over a new dream.I have taken a year plus to decide how to end this. Here is the latest episode: Dronesville football club #14: bonanza time 1-gold, gold everywhere.

My question now is: What shall I do next with the Dronesville nerd-bounty hunter? I will end this series about the gold football field bounty in the last four days of 2018. After that, what next? Two years have passed and many new technological inventions have been produced and marketed. My drones and AI robotics are no longer a novelty. The good news is the stories and antics of human beings are always fresh and interesting. New adventures are to be explored in 2019 of course. Will the protagonist meet a better prospect? Well, one thing for sure is: he will always launch each course with a big bang! Yes, and the Dronesville’s dog will have her time-slot too!

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amateur nerd · millennial short-story · millennials

Dronesville football club #14: bonanza time 1-gold, gold everywhere

gold gold everywhere

I started this journey to Timbuktu to meet an impossible goal and am still doggedly persisting in my pursuit to save a fellow nerd-friend from being devoured by a football club of former cannibals who happen to own a gold football field in the desert. In the last episode I reported that “I am in a sort of place that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places.”

The last time with any Indy-Jones-like action was when I jumped out of my prison window and landed on an incredibly timely acrobatic horse and we galloped happily into the sunset.

The rest is history. The horse (AI programmed) takes me through the desert with a speed comparable to a hyperloop transmitter (or so I imagine) and drops me off at a huge building that looks like a dune of golden sand.

“It is not sand. ” My AI voice assistant, SiZu, has reactivated herself and corrects my thought. “Touch it.” She issues a command.

“What? It is gold!” I cannot help but let my thought be verbalized aloud, my two hands glistening after dipping into the sea of gold dunes.

“Of course it is mere gold. You expect diamond? Hard luck.” Two Tuareg men and one boy appear from nowhere and one man speak impatiently, “Hurry in. The local ruler is waiting!” They are the two and half German-French fellow travelers I met earlier! One straps onto my back the run-away royal goat which appears to have been recently freshly groomed, “Here, you better be useful. Don’t even dream of asking how we escaped and repossessed this trophy.” The librarian amazon casts a look on me that spells big trouble if I dare open my mouth to make one wee sound.

We walk into a cleverly concealed door in the dune like building and enter a long tunnel. I cannot detect any visible lighting equipment, but there seems to be a supply of natural daylight from an invisible source. The gold walls glitter and beckon me to imagine I am Alibaba in the forty thieves’ treasure cave. But I say nothing. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something”, SiZu warns, “Plato”.

“But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them. Christopher Columbus.” I respond in my thought.

One thing I cannot understand is why the two rather superior women involve me? They are highly probably after the same gold. Why bother with adding one additional “accomplice” to their scheme? I have recognized that since the gold is so apparent everywhere there is no need to use my special “hidden-gold-detection” talent.

“You just wait and see. You are invaluable!” SiZu begs to differ. LOL. But soon it turns out that her prediction is accurate! “There is something the two women cannot be. No matter how superior they are compared to you, they would not be considered a man in the heart of the ruler.”

The tunnel leads to a gigantic hall paved floor-to-floor, wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-ceiling with gold. I suddenly feel my stomach rumbling and my knee buckling under the strain of hunger figuratively speaking. I have to swallow hard to stop my mouth from drooling.

The place is filled with people who look important, possibly senior officials and military personnels who line up on both sides as we walk through to reach a golden throne. The occupant of the chair squints his eyes and look hard at me, or rather at my back and then he cries out loudly and runs down the steps to hug and kiss me, or rather, the goat on my back. He removes the strap gently, carries and rocks his pet the way some of us treat our pet puppies.

At his command the two women and a girl disguised as Tuareg men and boy and I are led to a glittering banquet hall to have our big meal. “Why did you two ask me to carry that pet goat?” I just have to ask. The Gen. Z kid answers on their behalf, “Simple. You are the only man. ” Because the king has decreed that his pet goat can only be carried/transported by a man. Apparently it was stolen one day by a petty thief who found it strayed outside and sold it to the market. That was how it got into the flock of fifty goats on top of our bus which crashed in the desert.

“BTW, we have located your nerd-friend, the football captain Romano and his team-mates, the ex-cannibals. They haven’t eaten him yet.” The Gen.Z announces.

“What?!” This news brings me to the brink of tears. I have come this far on a heroic-altruistic (half, at least) mission and now the two foreign women are going to clinch the success from me. Not fair!

“They won’t release him unless we have a football match with them. ” The kid then adds, “And beat them in the match.” She stares hard at my hands and declares, “We need a dexterous reliable goalkeeper. Are you any good other than texting?”

“What happens if we lose?” I swallow hard and ask (or whimper at a crucial yet perilous time like this).

The kid rolls her eyes and says as a matter of fact, “Well, obvious isn’t it? Their spokesman said they were looking forward to exotic food.”

(To be continued)

#timesquare (Becky’s photo challenge for December)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #13: command from a senior nerd

It is a virtual command: “reveal your All-Time Favorites”!

millennials then and nowdronesvilles-edge

Dronesville bluenot a dronedronesville eyeballevening crossingdronesville football club

By now my geeky chat group cronies have given up on me. Rumors are that I am hibernating in the outback somewhere in Australia and not in Timbuktu, or anywhere near it. Some of the rumors are on my wishlist. Yes, my impossible goals. The latest is that I have been kidnapped by a robot with mutated AI and am now imprisoned somewhere back in America. What a wishful thinking!

That is why I am somewhat relieved when I receive this command from a senior nerd, “reveal your all time favorites.” What else can a respectable order-abiding junior nerd like me do but to prove I am still doggedly persisting in my pursuit to save a fellow nerd-friend from being devoured by a football club of former cannibals who happen to own a gold football field in the desert? Of course, I transmit the command to my nerd-mole in WordPress to dig out some old pictures that someone like me likes/least abhors and fill in the blank on this blog.

An anonymous hacker who manages to get onto our exclusive chat board has asked, “So where are you exactly, after wiping off that fake smile, riding into sunset in Dronesville football club #12?”

Here is my reply, “I am in a sort of place that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places.” (misquoted from C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) (To be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · millennials · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #11: you know where I am, out of…or inside?

a window sceneOut of This World or inside? I cannot tell. But you can guess where I am if you can see this picture. As far as I am concerned I am nowhere near my hotly pursued Timbuktu football field of gold after our entourage is captured by the rebel troop while on our way to re-capture the royal goat which according to the two French-Germans disguised as Tuareg women has significant influence on our common destiny (presumably continued survival in the desert). No, my whip and sword bearing Indy dad has not come just in time (unlike the movie) to deliver me from captivity no matter how many times I cry dad in my digitally-wired brain. No, the voice assistant SiZu does not regain her voice after going into silent mode. Alas, summoning all the brilliant nerdy visual, audio and whatever data from my grey cells has not programmed a plausible algorithm that can solve the present predicament.

Judging from the predominant color blue outside my window I seem to be in Morocco? But this cannot be! The camel-speed rebel troop could not have traveled this far from where we have been unless by some unknown science fiction enabled space transference or teleport or hyperloop or whatever technology advancement you can imagine.

Should I take a chance and jump out so I can summon all my superb physical prowess for a great escape? Or should I stay put and watch strange men in long flowing gold gowns and head gears putting gold golf balls outside on a gold golf field that is out of this desert world? Neither is my dad responding to my transmission, nor is my English Lord mission impossible boss rising to the occasion by his suave and cool James Bond-style physical appearance to solve the puzzle. The worst is the fact that my travel companions (being ladies) are held in a different cell. And this young innocent nerd-blogger (though undoubtedly has been uniquely gifted in hunting down treasure) have run out of authoritative voices to tell me what to choose in matters of escape. So, how about you, my fellow nerds out there or in there as I may be out instead of inside your world, giving me some sound advice? To jump or not to jump? That is the pertinent question. (To be continued)

Note to nerds: I get into this conundrum because one of you is in danger of being eaten alive by the football club members of former cannibals. And I am supposed to save him. So stop laughing and start working.

Note:

Here is the unedited original picture I take from a window at random.

a window scene 2

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #10: the beloved royal goat escapes

Dronesville #10 goat n goldThis is gotta be the saddest day of my life. No, I am not singing “let’s just kiss and say goodbye”, a favorite song of my Dronesville retired English teacher grand aunt. I am now obsessed with Beloved, -the designated royal goat (not William Billy Windsor I of British military of course) which has made his great escape. The scream that pierces through the silence of the Sahara desert is nerve shattering but this time I am prepared, “O shut up SiZu! Can’t you speak or yell a bit more human? Now, now, what is the matter?” SiZu is of course my latest AI voice assistant (my English Lord boss’ experiment)

“Someone has stolen the goat! Someone has stolen die Ziege-la chèvre!” It is somewhat annoying that of all the experiments on AI voice assistant, the English Lord boss has chosen an experiment in dramatic histrionics using the currently domineering EU twin-languages to simulate a highly charged up emotional human scene. Is he plotting of pushing the EU-flavored linguistics voice assistant App to diversify the somewhat modified made-in-Britain theatrics to EU Androids market after Brexit? He is, after-all, a descendant of one of those anonymous top ten shrewdest businessmen in the former British empire where the sun did not set. Given the increasingly popular showmanship trend in global tech-know social network, I am not surprised this App has a glowing future.

“What?!” Coming back from my nerdy thoughts to the harsh Sahara desert physical reality, my turn to panic. My mind instantly flashes a jack pot of gold carried by the goat sprouting wings and flying off.

“BTW, my master has programmed my voice modeling yours. Aren’t you human or what?” SiZu answers my question requiring her to sound a bit more human.

“What the…is this a bad joke or what?” I always suspect that my boss has been sneakingly recording my conversation but I never expect this! “Honestly, SiZu, you don’t sound a bit like me. I neither sound like a feline nor speak any un-English vernacular.” I maintain my unflappability after the initial outburst of perturbation. I would not be caught using the term “Un-American vernacular” because of political correctness of course. (My former English teacher grand aunt will be clapping when she reads this.)

“Well, go ahead and scream. He has recorded your scream.” SiZu has the audacity to issue a challenge! The boss is a joker. Anyway I refuse to stoop so low as to argue over a trivial matter with a voice assistant. FOCUS. THE IMPORTANT MATTER IS THE GOAT IS EITHER PLAYING THE GOAT OR IS GETTING OUR GOATS.

Thus, the whole camp -meaning the two all-knowing (or rather two alien nerds most likely using much more advanced digital techno-gadgets my English Lord boss has yet to invent?) German-French girls, a cool Gen-Z kid who now imagines she is wonder woman and of course, me, the sensible Dronesville virtual football coach aka treasure hunting nerd with my loyal old chap robot (temporarily taken over by SiZu by voice)-everyone wakes up in the middle of the night and begins the great Sahara desert wild goose I mean wild goat chase.

“Okay, SiZu, where is the goat?” I ask.

“I am computing and connecting to the CPU. Right now the signal is not computing.” My AI digital voice assistant replies.

“What? Are you kidding? You still rely on CPU?” I laugh even though it is not a good joke.

“I am not a kid. The kid is in the basket on your back.” SiZu replies cooly.
My turn to yell. Correction, my turn to growl. (I do not yell.) I am still carrying a basket and the Gen-Z kid is in it?”

A towering shadow looms over me and the kid’s librarian aunt booms out while strapping the basket and kid on my back, “Ja. We start marching now.”
Seeing my puzzled look, she adds smugly, “We already know where the goat is heading. Move!”

“My name is not Ja…” I try to correct her but am interrupted by SiZu, “Ja means Yes in German. LOL.”

As I reluctantly follow the amazons, dragging my fatigued trunk meaning own body or bodies including the Gen-Z kid, my multitasking millennial mind starts working on various scenarios of escapes for myself.

First, stay cool. If I were a goat where would I go?
I am pretty sure no one has taken it. It just wonders off. Why?
If I were a goat, I wonder off because I am hungry. What does goat eat?
Grass. Leaves. Young shoots. Ah ha. I remember seeing goats standing on trees.
“SiZu, where are the nearest grass and trees?” I ask cooly.

“We are not going there.” The voice assistant replies.

“Billions of blue blistering boiled and barbecued barnacles! Why are we not going there?” I growl (literally. Not the global notification system and pop-up notification implementation for the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems in case you geeky millennials wonder). Yes, I am now more like Captain Haddock of Tin Tin fame.

SiZu retorts, “Excuse me! My job is not to ask why. I just follow instructions.”

“So, where exactly are we going, may I be so bold to ask?” I ask.

“No, you may not be so bold to ask. Period.” SiZu auto-mutes after that.

FINE. I too shall henceforth mute until someone hacks the vocal silence.

Summoning up all the visual, audio and whatever data from my grey cells I try to program an algorithm that can solve the present predicament.

All that I can think of is this famous opening line:“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer the royal goat ran away, and I didn’t know what I was doing in Sahara, so far.” (misquoted by me from Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar)

millennial short-story · tech news · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #9: No, her name is neither Siri nor Alexa

silence footsteps
footsteps of silence

“Advancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.” There seems a leak. One anonymous chap posts in my private chat group and alerts me that he knows I am carrying the latest AI digital voice assistant as part of my English Lord boss’ experiment. “Enough of acting like some comic character from horrible history! We are not amused! Why don’t you activate your SiZu? This is a millennial short story, FOCUS!” He even knows her name! Is he the spy my English boss uses to check on me? Of course I am not easily swayed by any such illicit comment. How does the boss know I am here? FOCUS. This is the usual word my boss uses on me. We millennials multitask in our mind. Focus is something that requires double brain cell efforts. Well, I better not take this too lightly in case it is really the boss’ command. So my great escape plan to go solo after the football field of gold is not a piece of cake.

To be precise, I mean killing this half dead royal goat in the middle of the desert is not a piece of cake. The unearthly piercing scream does not stop even after I drop the pathetic looking tiny outdoor survival knife kit on the dust. The two german French girls and the Generation Z kid look quite calm and serene presumably waiting for their goat stew supper by this self-proclaimed impromptu chef of the Sahara.

The scream has words that form a sentence,
“You nincompoop, stop your cruelty to wild animals. I will report you to the PCRDGS which stands for Prevention of Cruelty to Royal Desert Goats Society!” The screaming voice comes from my chest.
“But, but, but… (not the goat butting as it is 50-75% dead), who are you?” I stammer.
“I am SiZu of course!”
“But, but, but… (I begin to sound like a vocal goat) I haven’t activated you…”
“O, you have. Otherwise why am I speaking to you?”
“But, but, but… (this goat language seems a stop gap to allow me to recharge my thinking process) I haven’t addressed your name so how can I have activated you?”
“O, you have. When you clicked the chat board message that displays my name.”
“What? I can’t believe this!”
“Well, what is your question?” SiZu is back to official business.
“OK, how to kill and cook a goat in this desert?” I have regained my cool, bold and mastery millennial nerd self.
SILENCE.
“SiZu, how may I …” I repeat my question. But all I receive is silence.
After I issue my command for the third time, I receive an equally cold reply, “Thou shall not kill.”
“What?! Unbelievable! Come on, this is only a goat! And a near dead one for that matter.”
“No. She is not a mere goat. She is now under the protection of the PCRDGS. Your duty is to carry her and deliver her to an important person.”
“How come you are issuing me command? ” I suddenly realize that SiZu and I have switched role.
“My master has reprogrammed me to do that.” Sizu replies.

A thousand thundering blizzards. My English Lord boss has the upper hand again. So this is his latest experiment on AI. Not only that it can see human action and assess decision making perfectly it can also issue command to human. When the boss reprogrammed my robot he has added this SiZu into it. Where is the old chap?
SiZu seems to read my thought, “When you activated me, your old chap is auto off. He will stay dormant until you complete your assignment.”

The German-French anthropologist walks toward me and says cooly, “We are not surprised. We already know. Now that you know we cannot eat this goat, take my advice, eat the vegetables and sleep. We have a long march tomorrow.”

So they (The two girls, the Gen Z kid and my boss who is comfortably lazing about, seeping English afternoon tea nibbling buttered scones in his garden party catered by Harrods talking about weather surrounded by the latest socialites) are in this together. That is why they are not shattered by SiZu’s inhuman scream. The worst nightmare is that they seem to share a common agenda to which I am not privy. What can an uncomplicated nerd like me do? My lightning fast mind seems racing to ten thousands directions at once.

I can pretend to cooperate and watch for an opportunity to escape.
I can simply refuse to do anything they want me to do.
I can remove the robot from my body if it cannot be deactivated by my voice command.
I can discard the goat and leave it to die in the hot sun.
I can dislodge the kid and her basket and leave her to her towering aunt, the librarian.
I can sit by the road side and wait for a vehicle to thumb a lift.
I can…O dad, why did you abandon me again? (I feel like the seven year old again.)
“No, junior, I didn’t abandon you.” Dad suddenly speaks.
“What? Where are you, dad?” I cry out.
“I am here, virtually communicating to you through your robot.”
“But how do you know my thought?”
“I stick a chip on the plasma.”
“What?! You heard the ten thousands thoughts of escape?”
“No, I have programmed it to start transmiting to me only when you use the key word “dad” in your thought.”
“Dad, I am in hot soup. I need help.”
“I know. That is why I came to your aid just now.”
“But dad, you have all those movie-like people with real weapons. Are you in some sort of trouble?”
“Hahaha, I like you putting it so mildly. No, I am not. I am in a big thing after a great reward. Listen, junior, you just cooperate with the girls. Do not be afraid. I know what they are after. I am on the same route too and shall keep an eye on you, son. Any question?”
“Is the goat really special?” I have to ask.
“Well done, boy, you have hit the jackpot! It is indeed special. Guard it well. Make it stay alive and you will not regret the effort.”

This has been the best news since I started this journey to Timbuktu to meet an impossible goal of saving a friend stuck in a football club of former cannibals. I sleep without another thought. How little do I know what is going to happen the next moment…the Silence is broken by another unearthly piercing scream…(to be continued)

advanced nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #8: my illusive senior nerd turned Indy dad

swiss knifeIf your long lost dad dressed like a Tuareg Indiana Jones suddenly appears in the middle of nowhere how will you react? The tea ceremony is like a fail-proof neighborly ritual between ancient desert tribal chiefs from the movie. I won’t go into details. But the two french actors/actresses conduct the ceremony and exchange polite greetings perfectly in vernacular language beyond this millennial. I play my role as the dumb servant superbly. How do they look? The horsemen? Well, brilliant blue and dazzling white. I would not lower myself to even give a glance their direction of course. Weapons? O, certainly, long knives and guns. So you see, minding my business is the best strategy. One thing we millennials do well is to stay cool and composed even when cold sweat oozes out from every pore.

I hope the horsemen will leave soon but I don’t expect the next scene. One Tuareg horseman lingers behind. He is the one with the long knife and carries a whip. And he walks toward me. He speaks perfect British English! “Look what we have here? You are no Tuareg.” He leans over.

Then he whispers, “you foolish boy, who do you think you are trying to fool?” He knows who I am! “Get out of this war zone immediately. NOW! Get the two German girls to start scrambling for safety!”

It just has to be my dad. The long absented senior nerd turned treasure hunter in South America. He has spotted me because of the minuscule mole on my left eyebrow! But why does he call them German and not French? He reads my mind and clarifies, “French-German.” Pulling me up from the ground he barks, “NOW! follow me!” I sprint like I am seven year old again and explain to the girls it’s my dad and we can trust him to get out of danger. Surprisingly they nod in unison and follow. He brings over two spare horses. The two girls ride on one and I ride with the kid and the goat.

Later when this journey is over and my dad has left I ask the two girls why they agree to follow without hesitation. The librarian laughs, “Why not? We love the Indy Jones movies!” LOL. How dumb can I be.

But why has my dad appeared at the right time? He is a treasure hunter of a higher level. Is he after the same football-field-size gold? What is he doing with the heavily armed Tuareg horsemen? Why is he dressed like a Tuareg Indiana Jones? There is no way I can find out as he quickly rides off into the glorious orange sunset with his horsemen as soon as we reach a highway.

The highway is safe? So we are told. It is empty. No vehicle. No traveler. Just orange dust. Anyway my robot gives me the same instruction to go this way. By now we need to drastically lose weight. I mean I need to drastically lose the weight of my overbearing load. I have two options, the Gen Z kid or the goat. I cannot dump the brat/kid. (What with her amazon aunt towering over me watching like a buzzard). So I decide to dump the goat or eat it. I can no longer swallow another mouthful of the bland meatless concoction the girls has been spooning out without expecting my head to sprout cabbages in another 48 hours anyway.

The snooty anthropologist asks, “How, may I ask, sir, are you going to kill this royal goat and cook it?” The Gen Z kid raises her hand and volunteers cooly, “Easy. Ma’am. I will do the slaughtering.” The librarian (her aunt) rolls her eyes and snorts, “O, no, you certainly won’t!”

“Piece of cake,” I say to myself. As I want to maintain my stature as an able independent survivor if marooned in the desert, I google and find about 50 ways to kill a possibly already dead goat and cook it. Alas, I have to eliminate nearly all because I do not have the equipments or ingredients in this no-man-land. Finally I decide to forget about the googled information and just do it my way.

As I lift up my Weathered Leatherman Portland Oregon knife (survival tool), an unearthly shriek pierces through the still air and all the hair on the back of my neck stand on end…(to be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #7: two and half wonder geek women/girls, one dumb goat and half a nerd in catatonic mode

dronesville sahara
Weathered
tea pot

the day for the showdown between three and half “white” geeks/nerds and 100 other human to divide the fifty goats on the roof top of the bus has come. all that i heard from fellow travelers in the least obtrusive guest house in Bamako about land transport to Timbuktu except for the evasive baobabs have come to pass. nothing dramatic happens though with some blood shed due to heads being bumped into each other and the roof etc. as the dilapidated bus turns over and rolls/slides down a hill when it tries to avoid what the driver deems to be an exposed mine (?) and the engine breathes its last. i cannot describe how the roof top goats have survived being crushed under the weight of metal and human mass. i refuse to repeat the fearful angry and desperate noises of human and animals and everything else in such nightmarish chaos. all i know is how the three and half humans who are the only foreigners counted by the locals as the whites have come out alive. yes, there is this blogging nerd (or half a nerd by now), two girls of indeterminable nationality and ages and one little girl who happens to be the niece of one of the two. in the dusty orange desert which has dressed everyone in orange and the gear they wear or rather the gears (maybe 20kg each on the adults’ back) that wear them out it is hard to tell their colors or origins.

but the locals are pretty good in detecting aliens like us. after a lengthy discourse and dissertation by some chiefs we are rounded up and made to pay for one live (?) goat at an exorbitant price and told to walk away with it. the others presumably share the rest of the goats. as the other human including the driver happily walk off and vanish at the distant horizon we english speaking aliens have no choice but to stop fuming or sulking or suspiciously spying at each other but sit down civilly and come up with an agreement: we do agree on one common goal. we all want to go to Timbuktu. three and half is better than one so we decide to stick together. being unencumbered (as i only carry one digital plasma flat robot tied to my chest and nothing else except the tourist clothes and a pair of branded sports shoes i am wearing) i am unanimously voted to carry the goat on my back.

the sunset scene on orange sand domes is unbelievably stunning. the thundering hunger sound made by our combined stomachs is equally spell-bounding. the girls plod on. i cannot decide whether they look pretty or not as my entire focus is on the probable contents of their bags. surely they carry some food and water. so they plod on i plod on. we just walk until the little girl drops down. the distance between Bamako and Mopti is 600km and would take 5 days if we walk non-stop! our best hope is to get to the nearest village to take whatever available transport means. my solar powered GPS says Dioila is 33 walking hours away assuming we can walk 5km per hour. nightfall comes early and finally i am given something to eat. not the goat of course. i put it down and it just lies there with possibly broken limps or stunned brain. not running away.

when i wake i find myself among two Tuareg men and a boy. my walking companions have transformed into locals with nothing but eyes showing and painted brown skins surrounding the eyes. “you better change too as we foresee trouble.” they warn and toss to me a spare set of robe, headgear and sandals. they also paint all my visible body and facial parts brown. one of them expertly wraps a Tagulmust (a long piece of cotton cloth) over my head, neck and face. “who are you two?” i have to ask? “an anthropologist.” “and you?” i ask the other grow-up. “a librarian.” “and i am a gen Z.” says the little girl. “you?” she asks. “a tourist.” i say innocently.

“well, from now on you will just be the dumb Tuareg servant carrying our present to a royalty.” they start conversing in french and begin the brisk walk for the day. what choice do i have but to put the royal goat on my shoulder and stumble on?

my robot gps is set to the direction of Dioila but soon it starts beeping warning that we are off track. the two French (?) continue to ignore me as they seem having their own gps. the librarian carries the little girl (disguised as a boy) in a basket strapped to her back. they have hidden the back-packs under their robes. i soon realize that these are olympian desert marathon runners. they know the route like the back of their palms and walk at a speed as effortlessly and gracefully as gliding down a snowy slope in their own backyard.

if i am the tourist i claim to be i would not mind this adventure. it is like shooting a fantastic adventure movie story: a young innocent millennial geek/nerd with a state of the art AI multitasking robot, two wonder women, one mature and sensible generation Z kid and a speaking goat (maybe the narrator if i write the script). my imagination starts running away as i bear the increasing dead weight of a half dead goat and one live and kicking Gen Z brat (as they have dumped her on my back too) like a beast of burden…alas, whatever peace and quiet in my imaginary virtual world is soon shattered by thunder. but it is not thunder. it is the sound of horsemen behind us. the two french suddenly halt and sit down in the shade of some rocks. they decide to wait it out. the anthropologist takes out a tea set and starts making tea. my robot stops giving instructions. too sudden an unfamiliar change calls for switching into a catatonic realm. so i freeze. i sit down with the goat and kid on my back and shoulder. (to be continued)

p/s: i made this picture from a combination of picture cuttings from different online sources to illustrate the story. the tiny dog purple head is my original. the LOL dog head is not. Credit goes to internet.

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #6: miracle or desert mirage? a puppy in the grass

a miracle! Growth in the desert.

a puppy in park
GROWTH is imminent

When you are traveling on the perilously mined desert road to Timbuktu, in a bus with at least 50 goats tied on the roof, with breakdown or a worst case scenario threatening to materialize imminently at any moment, you just cannot believe that this could ever appear before your eyes when you are suddenly woken by the halt of the vehicle, a football? A drone? No, a puppy in the grass. What? Grass? Puppy? Yah guys, all of the above. Am I on the right planet? Wow! Is this the latest hologram? This millennial nerd think loudly and checks the geeky self in time. But I am not here as a hologram buyer or seller. I am here on my way to Timbuktu to rescue my captivated friend and secure the gold in the mysterious football field fiercely guarded by a team consist of ex-cannibals.

Yet, I must admit this hologram tops the list so far. What a stun! Alas, the goats on the roof are not impressed. They become agitated by the seemingly one puppy stealing the limelight and start shaking together in violent unison. The non-goat passengers emulate the motion and soon the bus is shaking uncontrollably as it attempts to continue its journey. The already overloaded bus with its human and other passengers seem engaged in a storm at sea in a rhythm that an outsider can never master. I can feel my feet being shuffled uncontrollably while the out-of-this-world bus zooms ahead in full sail. For those fellow nerd readers of my chat board who may think this impossible must see the next sight: desert goats posing elegantly like sophisticated Chanel models on an argon tree! I am somewhat disappointed it is not the infamous baobabs I expect to see. Well, argon will do for awhile as it has laced itself with such graceful looking model goats.  But what is the meaning of all these? Wait till the next next scene…(to be continued)

P/s: The following picture is taken from another travel blogger who blogs in Chinese language. Her travel stories are very well written and entertaining. This is one of her picture trophies from Morocco.  When you click on the caption below the picture you will go to her web site

2063 blog

 

millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #5: what I do for a friend, gold football field, baobabs, and fifty goats

2017 FavoritesDronesville football#5

All this for saving the life of the longest living captain for a football club of former cannibals. Of course my ex-classmate and football buddy whom we name Romano is no way near that grand football age. Guys, when I say longest living I mean anyone who survives longest without being eaten during the ravenous hunger pangs of a bunch of ex-cannibals after a field day. A one-club man is a sportsperson who has played his or her entire professional career with only one club. Romano becomes a one-club man as he is probably locked up by his fellow club buddies after each match.

So here I am in a place faraway from Dronesville, bound for a mysterious football field full of gold near Timbuktu, a famously remote, now decrepit city at the edge of the Sahara in central Mali, in another unbelievable journey!

My google search turns out this narration: “you can’t beat traveling there by boat, along the mighty Niger, Africa’s third longest river. Setting out from Mopti, to the west of Timbuktu, take a pinasse (flat-bottomed fishing smack)a type of motorized canoe with a domed grass canopy, and enjoy the traveling as much as the arriving.”

I search further and read this description by a traveller: “The road trip from Bamako to Mopti requires about 8-9 hours and is about 640km long, over paved road…Along the way, you will cross the African savannah, full of baobab…” Well, it sounds good. I seem to see the baobab that the Little Prince describes, “It is a question of discipline….When you’ve finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth…” (5.16). I suppose Romano and the gold can wait while I see these frightfully deceptive baobabs.

Like all studious nerds I continue searching and study the internet for information and tips. I decide to follow two of the the advices of this Joshua Hammer, an American freelance journalist and author 1. In Bamako: Your best bet is a less obtrusive but no less comfortable guesthouse. Well, this should be easy. 2. Take the road to Timbuktu, if you dare…don’t veer off the main track: the desert is strewn with mines. Do I dare? That’s it. I decide to use land transport from Bamako to Mopti and thereafter by boat to Timbuktu.

After an uneventful night in the least obtrusive guest house except hearing nightmarish stories of amateur travelers driving and hitting landmines, I decide that driving is out of the question. Should I get a paid private lift from the battered 4×4? Again I decide against it having heard some horror stories from other guests. One traveler replied another seven years ago (online source): “The last option is to take a bus…There are buses at least in the morning and afternoon leaving Bamako for Mopti from the Sogoniko gare routiere. (I haven’t done this before so I don’t know which one) straight to Timbuktu. Of course they are prone to breakdowns.”

So here I am in the early morning waiting for a bus. The place has had no rain for months and someone says that the temperature can reach over 40 degrees! The buses are full and I cannot wait another day in the marketplace swooning in uncertainty. I am down to choosing between these two and I choose the bus with at least 50 goats tied on the roof! Well, it’s an added advantage to travel with goats in case we get stuck in the desert and need to use this food of last resort…so I imagine. After all, I pride myself for being able to make the right prioritized decision based on the lowest Maslow hierarchical needs (To be continued).

The following pictures are credited to internet sources to illustrate the above story:

sogoniko busMali bus

millennial short-story · social messaging journal for future · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #3: two routes to success

Experimental season for successes.

The first least impossible goal is to escape from Dronesville. My past efforts had proven futile but this time I have thought out a fail-proof plan. This is the easiest on my goal list, alas. As anyone can see it is that time of the season when everybody is in a celebrating mood. With winter knocking on the door and bounty snow fall promises who would bother with virtual football club?

I just received a WhatsApp message from one ex-classmate who had lost himself for years hiking in a secret place near Timbuktu. It is a message for HELP. “Hi guys you may not know i am still stuck out here being the longest living captain for a football club of former cannibals who have been converted from the love of human meat to football!!! i am running away not out of fear but out of extreme boredom and also because of this sudden insatiable yearning for ________ fried chicken and a shower i must get back to civilization! i know one of you bored nerds out there doing nothing except twittering thumbs can get me out. i am desperate. got to run. bye.” Next, he wrote, “BTW, this hideout the size of a football field is full of gold. Pure gold.”

Aha, I know that is my break. My first two least impossible goals are: “escape from Dronesville’s virtual football club and get some gold for myself (and not for my boss, the English lord.) My getaway action plan: jam the drone controller, tie a muzzle on Grace’s mouth, use my master key to drive off into the sunset my grand aunt’s 2018 Land Rover Defender. Yes she is testing on one before its official launch. I will park it at the ________ international airport safely of course for her to collect.

So far so good. I get away as planned. However, the international flight is not what I have expected. I inadvertently omitted to pre-book and pay for meals online and cannot buy them on the plane. The rules have changed! Why? Because there is a technical hitch and credit cards cannot be accepted. Nor can they accept cash in lieu of card as this is the airline policy. Imagine a young and healthy nerd with nothing to eat for 10hr 35min! Nothing to do except to sleep… At the first stop I eat something at the transit area. It takes another 11 hours to reach the second stop. Again I have to buy whatever food I can on the ground. I fly for another 7 hours to reach the capital of the nation. The drive from the capital takes 20 hours to reach my destination and much of it is off-road. 48 hours of travel plus layover time.

What? You are already tired reading the numbers? Wait till you hear the rest of the story. (To be continued)

P/s: Some geeks just posted on our secret chat board they have calculated the numbers and guessed the routes as: From SF to Heathrow to Johannesburg to Bamako to Timbuktu. LOL! Guess again.

I took this from the internet to show the cronies of the car I mention. Credit to the Source: autoexpress.co.uk
2018 LandRoverDefender

amateur nerd · finance for millenials · millennial short-story · social messaging journal for future · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #2: too many footballs to chase

Dronesville football club 2Dronesville football club 2

“Ka knew very well that life was a meaningless string of random incidents”. It is just Temporary, I finally quote Orhan Pamuk (Snow) to brush aside the impasse when I get too tired and bored watching the football dangling from the ceiling. After all, my life can so far be described somewhat as how Ka must have felt. I differ on the point that it is meaningless. I find my life meaningful, what with serving the Dronesville’s retirees who are mostly my relatives and former teachers and a super-nerd, an English lord who happens to be loaded with privy information about secret treasure buried in unimaginable places to be found with my unique assistance! Yes, I like to be useful even though I may be considered modestly (or largely) lay-back.

Whilst I have the urge to leave the room and grab some food a voice speaks from above. “Do not move!” What? I look around and see no one. Every one is having the usual Dronesville nap. Besides, I live alone in this quiet little house free of rent in lieu of payment for my virtual football club service to the Dronesville residents. Who has spoken? I sit down and look up at the ceiling and to my amazement another droplet of water appears, then another, and another… Soon the ceiling is covered with water droplets which have started to mutate into golf balls, then tennis balls, and finally footballs. Countless of them are now crowding my whole ceiling.

“These are your goals.” What? They are my goals? How can I ever chase after so many goals?
“Yes, look carefully.” There are words written on each football. “Copy.” So I start writing down these goals, “playing European football for the richest club_____, writing _____ commercially viable applications and sell to _____, composing _____ for _____, re-reading and reviewing at least one classic science fiction in depth (such as Asimov’s The Foundation series, sequels and prequels), making attempts to write a series of _____, doing something positive, meaningful and relevant to change lives… There are so many footballs that I just cannot complete copying. The funny thing is they look so familiar. Where have I seen these before?

“So you recognize them?” The voice asks. What? I look at what I have written and then look up as I hear lots of people talking from above. Pictures begin to emerge on the footballs. Faces grinning or frowning and mouths talking. They look alike.

“Are you not chasing your goals? Why are you chasing after hidden treasure instead?”

Now I realize those faces are mine. I have made goals on the spur of moments over the years and never really focus on one. “Don’t you know once you make your goal, it is registered with the ministry of goals? You are expected to chase after each unless it’s harmful/illegal/immoral/abominable/forbidden.”

“Time is urgent and you have so many goals still ahead of you.”
“Will they go away?” I ask in desperation.
“No, unless you make an attempt and then fail. They will hang around you like this ceiling wherever you go.”

OK, that may sound bad but not as bad. I am still young and can start chasing one by one. But the list is so long. I suddenly think of a brilliant scheme. I will chase after the most impossible one and so on in the order of impossibility and eliminate them fast. “What kind of attitude is that?” The voice hears my thought. “You must follow rules. Succeed three before you can fail one.”

Boo Hoo, what can I do but fall face down and cry. To many footballs to chase away…I can imagine a life of “ceilings” dangling with boring footballs or be aswarmed with football looking bees which buzz like human but making no sense.

But I am an optimist. I refuse to be defeated. Whichever way it may look. (Like the two presentations of the same picture. LOL.)

I get up from the floor and look hard at the list of goals. My task now is to identify the three least impossible ones. (to be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville football club #1: He starts over a new dream

dronesville football club“No man runs the race until he sees the dream.” (Fred C. White). I, the Dronesville’s nerd dream of running a race, well, not exactly. It is like I am chasing an invisible football and hear this remark from an audience who seems to sit high up. I look up and see the football in the sky! Before I have a better Peek into the other arena I wake with the MacBook screen glaring at me. On it there is a gigantic football. What am I supposed to be doing? No, I am not the player. I am just updating the website for the Dronesville Retirees’ Virtual Football Club.

Since the teacher-retiree-residents start practicing their wealth of combined knowledge through modern tech-know skills online they have been fascinated with the seemingly limitless creative ways to compensate virtually for what they lack in the physical world. One of the programs they have successfully launched is virtual football competition with other retirees. They have appointed the youngest member in Dronesville to maintain the website. You guess rightly, I am the youngest. Most of the residents who are also former teachers are in their 60s and above. My former English teacher happens to be my grand aunt is one of the driving forces behind their enthusiasm to learn the digital age.

Life has been rather quiet since I return from my treasure hunt. Some readers may ask if I get my share of the treasure. LOL. You guess. Anyway I haven’t got away to some mysterious exotic island. I have been grounded and immediately reassigned to be the umpire and coach on the internet as there is a game being hotly contested between several retirees teams. The Dronesville team is not performing to the mark right now. Oh, yes, my boss the English lord is one of the players. My grand-aunt has enlisted him as a reserved player. He has become one of their favorites. Honestly I do not know how he has managed to wangle his way out of that extreme predicament on that fateful night with his container load of gold! It remains a secret. So now I have two virtual superiors to serve (sigh).

What happens to the lovely orange car? Well, it was on-loan from the other nerd (spy?) who chooses to remain under-cover in Dronesville, and I had to return it to a spot where he picked it up without my knowing who he really is. Actually the car-drone is remotely controlled by its owner/inventor. Gracie is as happy as ever being the sole Dronesville mascot dog and the Dronesville drone is safely back to my grand-aunt’s custody.

What is my own dream? What am I running after? I admit I have never thought about it until now when I hear this voice questioning me from above. Do I see my dream? I look up at the ceiling and see a tiny shinny spot. A supernatural manifestation? When I look closely I see it is just a drop of water from presumably a leak upstairs. But wait a second. There is no upstairs. A leak from the roof? But it has not been raining since Spring! Now it is Autumn! No, I have not sighted any chem-trails floating pass the roof top sky. Yes, I am a sky-watcher. As I gaze at this “water drop” it grows bigger and becomes a golf ball, then a tennis ball. And finally it grows to its maximum and becomes a football! A continental football. To be precise, an English football.

For hours I sit here dumbfounded staring at this football dangling from my ceiling, not moving or blinking for fear that this might be the dream I am destined to run after. (To be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · undeserved favor · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville adventure #22: rounded up last but not least

Rounded up last but not least. rounded car
When I hear the loud speaker blasting “No body moves! You are surrounded” I duck to the ground and my left hand shoots up as it has been ready for this moment of encounter. The snag is that it does not hold a gun. My companions do the best they are trained to do too. The drone surges upward and immediately becomes out of sight with its load of gold. The Dronesville mascot dog, Gracie, does her usual vanishing trick by darting with near speed of light (exaggerating here) into a bush. His Lordship keeps on walking as if nothing happens. I remain frozen on the ground with the vision of a car racing through my mind.

I admit I do have a way to get out of a mess. I have tried before and it sometimes works. You guess rightly, I can envision a way out in my blogging. So, here is this rounded car racing toward me out of nowhere. It does not hit me when it arrives because I am inside the car. In fact I am driving it. I can hear the wind giving way on both sides. I can hear sounds of moving obstacles parting, as the car zooms forward to an unknown realm.

As you can see from the picture, this car is a vintage beauty.

(To be continued?)

millennial short-story

Dronesville adventure #18: a reflective senior nerd from the computer past

Dronesville dog
Dronesville dog

Reflecting is not my usual engagement. But the voice on the stage seems familiar as I continue to listen. Who can he be? My grandaunt seems to read my thought. She suddenly laughs, “You know, my nephew up there could have been just as famous as Bill or Elon.” What? I almost fall off the chair. Her nephew? She has only one nephew, and that is my dad! But it cannot be because my dad has ventured into the deepest jungle in South America in search of the legendary Spanish treasures and has not been heard of since time immemorial as far as I can remember. What is he doing here giving such a boring nerd talk to a group of polite but rather outdated audience? What is his hidden agenda? Yes, my grandaunt is right. Dad used to be a brilliant math and science scholar and a futurist. He could have become as famous as one of those names. But he has chosen to go for hidden treasures. Alas, I take after him in the passion for treasure hunting bit.

Then I hear him say, “Finally,…” At last he is ending his talk. I sigh with relief. He is given a great round of applause. Dronesville residents love to applaud. Then I hear chairs moving and people are standing to give him a standing ovation. After all he has been their blue-eye boy. This is his homecoming day.

I wonder how he looks in this strange symbiotic time zone where people of different time episodes co-exist together like me in my 20s meeting myself at 7, and with my dad in his perhaps 40s and so on. A hand touches my shoulder, “Ahem, old boy, I hear you are working and trotting round Europe with my old Oxford friend (namely my boss-an English lord), still charging as strong and as aimless as a young un-yoked bull, albeit being encumbered by a comparatively weak mass of grey matters inside your cranium, how have you been treating life’s fabulous adventures?” He likes bombastic long sentences. Before I can answer him he is already engaged with my boss in a lengthy dissertation comparing the nasty weather in Europe and South America.

Someone nudges my leg. A small voice speaks. What, it’s Gracie the faithful Dronesville dog! I know it’s her. She squeaks. “Hi boss, we better get out of here fast!” She urges. “I don’t want to go to Europe! You hear what they say, nasty weather! Here, take my leash and I will pull you out of here!” She knows I cannot see. Soon we are sneaking out of the hall and making our great escape, far from the madding crowd (Sorry, Mr. Hardy, I can’t help but quote your great title), into another adventure, or so I hope.

Being unable to see the physical world has its pros and cons. I have mentioned the pros in my former blog. Now I am facing the cons, the reduction in speed of motion. Despite Gracie’s great effort she is not much good as a novice guide dog for the blind. I bump into so many obstacles all the way as we race down the Dronesville Main Street until I no longer care what or who I happen to knock down. I can hear siren behind me. Are the law after me? But Gracie is adamant that we get out alive. She is pulling me like the great and noble champion husky from Siberia. What a sight we two must be making. I can hear not only siren but footsteps running behind. The street must be full of stuff and angry people we knock down or overturn…but we keep on running, soon followed by a growing crowd of runners some of whom do not even know why they join in. (To be continued)

millennial short-story · millennials · social messaging journal for future · tech news · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville adventure #17: computer’s cold calculating logic, human perspective, a model mother

“The standard story about computers, generally, is that they lack many of our more appealing human qualities but are really good at cold calculating logic. You’d think that combining the two — using computers to emphasize our most coldly rational and greedy qualities, and then using markets to aggregate those computers’ individually hyper-rational behavior — would work really well. I guess it does; that’s why people keep doing it.” (Matt Levine) As I narrated in my previous blog there was a loud bang and it seemed the end of the word had arrived. I hear confusion and loud rather ungentlemanly murmuring,

“What?! Fire crackers? Come on, be real, this is not ______(another big global nation like the USA) yet!!!” I cannot detect who says by their voices and accents. All sound American to me with the exception of my English lord Sir______ of course. Someone says, “That settles it, I am leaving. I am not sitting around listening to some promotion of cheap trade-off.” Soon I hear chairs and tables being shuffled around and impatient footsteps of those leaving the scene. Distant sounds of engines of expensive automobiles too.

Who is speaking today? I wonder. Then I hear this cold voicing of a nerd/millennial’s quote on the stage. I cannot see the speaker. Is it a machine or is it a human? I wonder. He sounds ordinary alright, like you and me, or any cool millennial. I recognize the quote from Bloomberg View on Money Stuff, an email I subscribe to. Whoever is standing on the stage is a nerd from the future like me who happens to be around for no particular reason. But he continues quoting the whole article. Rather like the aliens who have landed speaking to the earthlings in seemingly same and yet incomprehensible language. I never realize how unreal we may sound to those who live in mere twenty years ago. How much has the world gone through from 1996 to 2016. Even a seven year old can become an adult taking care of number one (me) now. LOL.

Because I do not see the speaker and do not know his personal traits: race, skin color, nationality, physique, stature, weight, height, hair color, hairdo, dressing, facial, hand gestures, posture, overall mannerism etc I have to cast aside my personal prejudices (which I admit I still have), like William Blake declared, “For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” I am not saying that the above nerd speaker’s quote (on computer etc) is great because it’s just an article I pick by random to illustrate a point about human perspective.

The sudden invisibility of all people around me has made me looked inward and outward beyond the narrow chinks of my cavern. Suddenly I see something right before me, a dried flattened earwig lying on the table as I turn over an invisible place mat. The poor earwig must have been there for ages. I recall an article in the Manchester Guardian on 6th March 1917, a hundred years ago, “Female Earwig a Model Mother”:
Quote: “It was the earwigs that I specially noticed, and I was almost sorry for them, for, like birds, they were sitting on their eggs. I had to stop occasionally to watch a half-awake mother earwig, if I did not happen to have damaged her with my spade. She turned up an expostulating and threatening tail, metaphorically rubbed her eyes, dazzled by the unexpected light, and then began to fuss round, striving to gather together those precious eggs. She is a model mother amongst insects, and when the tiny larva – very like her in general appearance – are hatched she looks after them in quite a correct manner, while the babes seem to recognise their nurse and crowd round her like much more highly developed animals, even crawling upon her back for a ride.”Unquote. What a wonderful mother!.

When I no longer encumber my eyes and mind with the things I tend to see physically, I see and recall stuff that may be rare and precious. Like treasure hunting in a realm I rarely visit. Guess this new vast empty space enhances focus on stuff that matters at the right time and right place.

In a way, it this NOT what Symbiosis MEANS? Human, other creatures, and even computers past and present co-existing.

WORD ORIGIN
late 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek sumbiōsis ‘a living together,’ from sumbioun ‘live together,’ from sumbios ‘companion.’
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BTW: “LOL, see how _____ suddenly becomes SOOO…INTROSPECTIVE!” My nerd cronies have lampooned at my previous blog ranting mercilessly in their latest comment in our private chat board. Well, this one will divert you guys so you go digging out the Money article and see what it is all about.

millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville adventure #16: A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

william blake quoteA fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. This is what I learn today. Otherwise it will be Meaningless!
Well, I am now at the Dronesville city hall. I am still in an unseen realm. Others can see me but I cannot see them. Is this a reality check or what? The little girl told me yesterday I was to go to the Twilight Zone. Is this it? Someone sits down next to me and he whispers, “Hmmm, you are here finally!” He is my boss, the English lord. Oh well, I am not surprised that he has turned up. I recall a final scene in an Agatha Christie’s famous detective (either Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple) movie in which all the important characters gathered around the detective when he or she unveiled the murderer. Yes, they have to be around but what is the big announcement and who is making it? I wonder. What am I doing in my seven year old self? What happened on November 28? Here are three random quotes from someone (William Blake~ born 28 November 1757):
1. A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
2. Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.
3. If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

So it is a matter of seeing and yet not seeing. I suddenly become concerned with the perspective of a man. How am I to get out of this narrow chink of my cavern? LOL. A millennial has to laugh at himself by himself. Let’s see if I can find a solution from these words of wisdom. A fool sees not the same tree. What am I seeing? Vast empty spaces where there should be stuff and people. It means I see not the same stuff as others see. Mind you I am not admitting that I am a fool. Am I regarding myself as the wise man? (Affirmative of course.) Who else (other than the fool) sees not the same tree? A writer. A dreamer. An artist. A creative person. An actor. An entrepreneur. An adventurer. A traveler. An explorer. A tech nerd. A blogger. A virtual being. A millennial.

Ok. I must understand my situation. I am writing a story. A futuristic blog for millennials. This virtual story is my current truth for this purpose. I can write myself to seeing things again of course. Why do I choose to have invisibility for others? Good question. Normally the writer or protagonist is the one invisible. But here he is exposing himself to everyone and hide everyone instead from his sight. LOL. What is the advantage? One obvious one is that he needs not describe their looks. Save space. Expand his horizon. Clean and neat screen…and many more.

The next thing I shall do is to clean the doors of perception of everyone here. For everyone has closed himself up and that is why I cannot see you.

A loud blast can be heard as if someone has exploded the sound system or worse…(to be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story

Dronesville adventure #14: I am an invisible nerd?

nerd-and-cell-phonesThe cell phone rings just as I wake from my nightmare on thanksgiving night. It is a recording: The voice says, “I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” A Pungent smell like burnt rubber hits me. What happens? I run out of the homestay (which is called, The House of the Rising Sun”)and see my aromatic flower tea van in flame! The homestay workers are fighting the fire with a garden hose. “Alas, my van load of fragrant tea!” I sit on the stone steps and cry. After they put out the fire the front desk clerk consoles me by saying that only two back tires are burned and that the paint on the van has turned “a Whiter Shade of Pale”. Otherwise the damage is minimal. I inspect the goods and find that they are amazingly in tact. After replacing the two tires at a garage down the block, I make a fragrant tea and eat some dough nuts at a cafe named “Proud Mary”. The whole street seems to be lined with shops of names from some songs of yesteryear! As I watch the names walking down this street which is just outside Dronesville but I have never seen before until I check into the homestay, I cannot help but wonder whether I am dreaming in broad daylight or whether I have been teleported to another time and space.

Someone has sent the above quote from Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man” (1952) to my cell phone. Have I become invisible to the Dronesville’ residents? Or have they (including all living creatures and food) turned invisible to me? I return to my van and try to think hard. Where am I and what have I become? My high tech robot does not work anymore. Neither is my cell phone except for that incoming recorded call by a stranger or robot. “Excuse me, Miss,” I decide to stick my head out of the window and ask a pedestrian, “What is this place?” She looks surprised, “Why, it’s the Twilight Zone, of course!” My first response is to duck under the van seat. “Impossible!!!”

As tech-know millennial nerd, we do not fear the high-tech unknown. But we are quite uncomfortable with anything of the past unknown. I park near a park and see some children playing and singing. One little girl sings, “Somewhere over the rainbow…” So I get down and ask her, “Where is the place over the rainbow?” She looks surprised, “Don’t you know? Of course it’s there!” She points toward Dronesville. OK. Point noted. I decide to give it a try again, entering Dronesville as an official aromatic flower tea seller.

I switch on the radio and hear a blast of 1976 songs with pessimistic and depressing titles like: Silly Love Songs, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Disco Lady, Play That Funky Music, Kiss and Say Goodbye, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Sailing, Take the Money and Run, Takin it to the Streets, Let’s Call it Quits, Still Crazy After All These Years, Crazy on You, It Keeps You Running, Jailbreak, chain Gang Medley… What? There is no choice? A nerd can only take this much. I switch off.

As I approach Dronesville I realize that Dronesville seems not the Dronesville I used to know. It looks period. The houses seem different. Like a newly established housing estate. The place seems brighter and more cheerful. I park my van near my grandaunt’s house and ring the door bell. A young boy with a mop of unruly hair opens the door. “Who are you? ” I am surprised to see a kid of around seven in this house of ancient elders. He grins, two front teeth missing, “Who are you?” He asks me, his mischievous eyes twinkling.

He looks familiar. The missing front teeth reminds me of someone close. Who? I search my memory. Who has missing front teeth? I remember seeing a photo before. A grinning boy with a gap in his mouth. What! I know who he is. I ask the boy the date and he tells me. Yes. I know who he is. He shows me into the kitchen and we sit at the beautiful oak table and talk. Without asking me, he takes out two Yoo-hoo* drinks from the icebox and offers me one. Yes, my favorite at seven. We sit there, looking, or rather, staring, at each other.

“Where are the grown ups?” I finally ask. He shrugs his shoulder, “Somewhere? I suppose,” and continues to stare. Typical answer of a nerd. Not committing to giving any definite information until we are sure what benefits we receive in exchange. I put my hand into my pocket and take out my cell phone and show him, “Well, you know what this is?” I switch on the iPhone and show him the features. He looks incredulous. “May I try it?” He is definitely interested. I let him try a bit and take it back, “Wait, where are the grown-ups?” (To Be Continued)

BTW (by the way) it’s snowing out there.   It’s Not This Time of Year Without… snow?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
Notes on “Yoo-hoo” (From Wikipedia) Not to be confused with Yahoo!.
Yoo-hoo is an American brand of chocolate beverage that originated in New Jersey in 1926 and that is currently manufactured by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
Since it is neither a soda nor a milk drink, Yoo-hoo’s actual ingredients have long been the topic of speculation. Its official ingredients are water, high fructose corn syrup, whey (from milk), and less than 2% of: cocoa (alkali process), nonfat dry milk, natural and artificial flavors…Yoo-hoo comes in several flavors,including chocolate, double fudge, and strawberry.

millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville adventure #13: I try to fill in the blank (bird inside)

bird-inside

It’s Not This Time of Year Without… (bird inside) As I drive the aromatic flower tea van into Dronesville, I suddenly realize it’s thanksgiving night. I can smell the rich aromatic food through the open windows of the homes as I drive down the empty streets quietly. Ha ha, soon I shall be sitting at my grand-aunt’s table and enjoy a good meal! I start imagining all my favorite food and how I shall enjoy myself thoroughly. But despite the smell I cannot see anyone around, not even one person. The windows are open but there seems no one around inside or outside. Strange.

When I reach the street my grand aunt lives I have the shock of my nerd life. I cannot find her house! It is not there. Or rather it is there but it is not her house. The exterior looks the same but there seems no one inside. I ring the doorbell and the door opens. But there is no one at the door or inside. I can smell the food but there is no food in sight. I look into every room and the kitchen of course but there is no one and no food.

I try to call using my cell phone but no one answers. I try to call every resident I know but there is no answer. I go to their homes and encounter the same emptiness. What has happened? Has someone cast a spell and made the residents invisible? Can they see me? If they can why no one tries to communicate with me? Or the spell has cast them into another realm or dimension of space?

I finally give up and sit in my van and wonder, “It’s not This Time of Year Without…” I try to fill in the blank with words like “turkey”, “family (such as my grand-aunt and other…)”, “Gracie, the faithful guard dog”, or even “my boss” assuming I am on the treasure hunt assignment during thanksgiving season, or just “a room full of people”. Suddenly I miss people. How can it be a festive occasion without living people? What is the meaning of this?

I decide to leave this town and return to the homestay until tomorrow. I am the only lodger but it does not matter anymore. At least I can stuff myself with some buns from the vending machines and get some sleep. I dream. In this dream I am driving the aromatic flower tea van into Dronesville and again it is deserted. I can smell food but I cannot see them. I cannot see people or even the Dronesville dog. What a nightmare. As I wake my cell phone rings. (To be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Dronesville adventure #12: how I become the official therapeutic aromatic flower tea peddler

aromatic-flowersAn Aromatic therapeutic flower tea peddler nerd. After being thrown out into the street which serves as a boundary and banned from re-entering Dronesville by two seemingly alien women, I have lost contact with the boss, an English nobleman. Before I can ascertain the next move I stay away as much as possible so as not to put in jeopardy the innocents: Gracie-the Dronesville dog, the Dronesville residents including my retiree relatives (former teachers) friends, and the boss (possibly stuck in Dronesville somewhere) in that order. I still have the robot attached to my chest and it functions well as I can duckduckgo (instead of google) the internet but I cannot access email, Facebook, my private chat group or anyone I know! I have sent signals to Gracie’s drone but there is no reply.

Waiting to hear from the boss I check into a homestay outside Dronesville where I hibernate. Why am I confident to hear from him? You see, he is an ex-spy with 007 background. Even if my robot malfunctions he can still find me with his custom-made nerd detector. I believe he reads my mind through a chip implanted in my eye. To make myself useful I scan the internet for the two women’s information. The chip at the corner of my right eye has a good snapshot of them. By sending this picture to the internet I receive almost instantaneous biodata that match them.

The two are aunt and niece both scientists who have been sentenced to prison for seriously violating endangered creatures’ conservation laws in a foreign country but were mysteriously pardoned and disappeared soon after release. The niece used to be a utility who played in the All-xxx Girls Professional Baseball League. That explains the baseball bat she carries around. They seem to be commercial breeders of mutant giant jelly fish in Dronesville. Why? Where is the demand? I shudder when I think of the time they mercilessly threw me into one of the predators’ tanks!

While lying low in the homestay I meet an elderly, interesting but broke fragrance tea peddler. He has traveled from afar, the land of thousand fragrant flowers, where his family live. Having shared my meal with him I manage to persuade him to talk about his dream of going home as he has been on the road for half a year. “Why don’t you take over my business?” He suddenly becomes convinced that I am just the right sort of successor he has been seeking. “Not me…” I shake my head vigorously. Selling fragrant tea is the last thing on my mind. I cannot imagine becoming a tea drinker when I am saddled with a van load of fragrant tea no matter how romantic it may sound or conjure up in the imagination of delusive minds, a fragrant flower tea seller and connoisseur nerd. Never. But he is adamant in making a deal and gives me an offer I cannot refuse. “Look, young man, I may look tattered but I am not desperate. The business is good. I will sell you the van and the van-full of stocks for a pittance.” It is truly a pittance. “Besides, I have a yearly permit to enter Dronesville where 95% of the residents have been my customers for over forty years.” This is exactly what I have been hoping for, a way to enter Dronesville. To convince me further he makes some hot water and treats me to the best fragrant tea. “Ah…” He shows me how to make the tea and how to drink like a connoisseur.

That is how I become an aromatic tea peddler. My mentor signs over his business license and the ownership of his asset and duly deposits them online to my paperless asset custodian banker, while I duly transfer the e-payment to his bank account. He spends another two days training me and then returns to his homeland happily. Me? I become the official aromatic therapeutic flower tea peddler driving through the gate into Dronesville. (To be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge · young in heart

Dronesville adventure #11: banned from Dronesville

dronesville-adventure-11Banned!!! I cannot say more than this word right now. What happens on this fateful night is beyond anyone’s wildest dream or imagination. The boss and I manage to get into the backyard of the ‘Russian'(which is not Russian as we find out later) mansion, with me again soaked to the bone, this time exotically decorated with a few lively accessories like water lilies but predominantly live baby terrapins stubbornly clinging onto my hair, and some relentlessly fastening their beaks onto my trousers! The boss wears a mask but I can see his rigorous facial movement with his mouth moving soundlessly and I cannot figure out whether he is stifling his sniggering or sniveling. Anyway this is not my concern as I have more important thing in mind. Where is Gracie the faithful and brave Dronesville dog?

The boss seems confident and leads me swiftly through a back lane among the trees and bushes. It is unusually quiet. The residents seem asleep. How can this be? Surely they would have discovered my great escape, haven’t they? We walk through the dark garden and soon arrive at a row of old cabins made of train cars which seem deserted. No sound. No enemy activities. What a good adventure this will turn out to be. But I am congratulating ourselves too soon. A shot in the dark. We hear little running feet but cannot see anyone. Something attacks my feet and topples me. I am being dragged into a shed, dropped into a hole, and onto a moving conveyor belt, through a long tunnel. The thing that accomplishes this feat looks like a dog but is not a real dog. He has a lasso with one end tied to his neck and the other end latched onto my left ankle. Don’t ask me how this functions. I try to describe at best I can and it sounds incredible even to me. (I know some of my nerd cronies are sniggering or howling in laughters. “LOL. Who would believe this ridiculous description?” They would comment in our private chat board.)

But the next scene is more incredible. We are back into a well lit hall and who do you think are there? Haha, the two women I described as crazy in my previous blog. One of them removes the lasso from the robot dog and pets him, saying, “Good dog! Go and take your treat! ( A spray of fragrant stuff over it as it presses a button with its paw. Apparently it is programmed to like such stuff!) One of the women carries a baseball bat. She gives me the threatening unspoken look that seems to say that she may test her power throw or hit again using my head as a target. I do not see Gracie and that is a relief, presuming that she is safe.

One woman speaks, “Nerd, you have trespassed our property twice and there is no excuse. What are we to do with you? Give us a good reason that you deserve a better treatment than to be fed to the jelly fish.”

Another woman says, “We give you two choices: (a) To be fed to the mutated giant jelly fish; or if you are scared of water (b) To be banned from Dronesville?

The first woman says, “I am in a merciful mood now and besides, our jelly babies do not like your taste. So I let you choose to be banished. Ok, court adjourned. Dismiss! Dog, escort the prisoner into exile!”

The robot dog, with its menacing flying lasso, and the second woman with her equally menacingly swinging baseball bat escort me to the front door and throw me out into the street that serves as the boundary of Dronesville. “Goodbye, and don’t you ever step into Dronesville again. You hear me?” She says without waiting for an answer and slams the door in my face. (To be continued)

Notes on photos: The picture is a compilation of four original photos taken by this blogger while visiting an old gold mining town.

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge · young in heart

Dronesville Adventure #10: babies, water lilies, and promises to keep

Promises to keep. dronesville10-pond
“As soon as one promises not to do something, it becomes the one thing above all others that one most wishes to do.” There are times when I wish I had not promised the boss not to quit as long as there are treasures to hunt! What if I had not promised? I would have been sleeping and dreaming of stuff like eating ice cream, hunting Pokemon Go, or even racing down the street/park at midnight, chasing intruders, with half the work done by the Dronesville dog Gracie and the drone. I don’t mind working for the Dronesville senior virtual football club. Indeed, as my fellow cronies have complained all over our closed chat board, “When will you get up to living the status a nerd is called to be? This is now the tenth episode and you have not achieved anything except lamenting your seemingly inappropriate occupation?” One mysterious foreign woman caller managed to hack into my anonymous location and called up through a satellite phone and questioned, “Who are you trying to fool? Those two women (my former captors) are not Russians. You stupid nerd!” I tried arguing, “How do you know they are not?” She laughed and said, “It is obvious, baseball is not a favorite of Russian women!” (Foiled!) She further educated me, “The strongest and most organized women’s baseball leagues are in the United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Hong Kong, and Canada. Look, young man, I strongly suggest you look nearer home for your baseball women!” I realize later She was right.

Meanwhile the boss and I are in the second private garden. There is a gigantic pond in the middle of the garden surrounded by thorny bushes and there is no way to get to the other side except through the thorns or swim across the pond. This is a huge garden. It will take the combined power of the two miniature drones and quite sometime to take the boss across. In view of the urgency as Gracie is possibly in grave danger by now, I decide to swim, regardless that I no longer have my Armani to feed any water predators. I admit I am not a hero, but I have promised the former English teacher and the Dronesville community to take care of Gracie their mascot and it means to feed and shelter her and ensure that no harm should come to her. Anyway, before I can change my mind, the boss is already flying across by the two drones.

As I dive into the water I can hear strange sound like a rush of little feet except that the sound comes from under the water. Another strange thing is that the pond is not deep. It is like a flat span of shallow water lily pond after all! It is too dark to see beyond three feet and I wade through the water lily walking on soft and slimy ground, being entangled often by the giant plants, leaves, flowers, stalks and roots and all. under the starlit sky I can see aquatic plants all over the pond: lilies, lotus, water lettuce, water shield and fairy moss. I realize too late that I have stumbled onto a baby terrapin farm and I am stepping on and surrounded by them! Soon I have baby terrapins clinging onto my back, perching on my head, and some stubborn ones with their beaks firmly fastened onto the legs of my trousers!

By the time I manage my big escape and wade through the waist deep pond I no longer care what I have brought along with me. I feel thankful that the pond contains babies and not ferocious carnivorous adult terrapins. A drone carries me over the wall into the backyard of Gracie’s captors’ house. The boss is waiting in silence. This is only the beginning of the real Dronesville adventure. (To be continued)

Photography: The picture is a compilation of segments from several original photos taken by this blogger except for the drone and the man in suit. The pond is taken from a tropical aquarium. The H2O has a rather unique look (like layers of tiles on a roof) in the picture. The dog does pretty well too in standing on her hind feet.

millennial short-story

Dronesville Adventure #9: original tech-know mind reading boss

An Original tech-know way in mind reading.dronesville-adventure-car Some nerd buddies say that the loss of the Armani is no big deal. Well, unless you are me you will not feel how I am feeling right now. I am soaked and shivering under a blanket, with a hundred horses racing through my mind: Where is Gracie, the brave Dronesville dog? Where is my grand-aunt’s drone? Where am I heading in this condition, with an overworked mind exhausted beyond descriptions. The day’s vigil at the mad house had been traumatic. Shall I tell the boss that I need a medical break? But the boss is in no mood talking. The silence of the ride is deafening or rather thundering. If anything bad happens to Gracie or the drone, how shall I answer the wrath of my former English teacher (aka the nerd-to-be grand-aunt)and the whole troop of retiree teachers who are also Dronesville residents? They have been hospitable to me giving me free meals and lodging in Dronesville for about a year during my recuperation from three years of treasure hunting under extreme conditions. Gracie is the Dronesville mascot dog. As I have mentioned earlier she has gone through an overdose of gamma ray in the Hyper-Loop research building and has transmuted. Nothing spectacular except that she can hear and understand human language (English to be precise).

As I am busily figuring out and practicing various excuses in my mind to get out of this mess, I hear my boss says,
“Ahem, stop thinking aloud!”
What? I have been doing that? What a mess I must have become without even knowing it! “You mean me? O no, not me. You have eavesdropped the wrong person, boss. i didn’t even open my mouth.” I attempt to talk sense.
“Stop arguing. I hear your mind loud and clear with this new device.” He shows me a gadget hooked to his right ear lobe.
“What? This gadget reads mind?” I am aghast. Has ___(blank space in lieu of a name of a country) newly achieved another breakthrough in spy technology that my English boss is again perhaps involved in?
“Hahaha, use your grey cells. What are you wearing?” He points to the robot that is still glued to my chest. I then realize that I am still transmitting my thoughts through the robot to the drone which Gracie has taken with her and the boss has hacked into the transmission! The gadget is a receiver. As simple as that! Ha.
“BTW (by the way), stop transmission now. Gracie and the drone have been captured by the two seemingly Russian (?) women.” The boss warns.
“Thanks. Boss. How do you know all these?” I ask.
“Hahaha, use your grey cells. I am the one who let you sneak off with the robot. Don’t you ever wonder why?” The boss bursts into laughters.
“You mean the robot is programed to auto-transmit to you my thoughts and other info?” It finally dawns on me how big a fool I must have been in the eyes (ears) of the boss, Lord YYY (I will continue changing the substitute alphabets so no one can accuse me of giving away my boss’ identity).
The car comes to a halt in a deserted back lane. The boss gets out with the two drones and asks the silent driver to give me his shirt. “Follow me. We need to go through two private gardens to get to the back of the Russian house.” So he is going to rescue the poor dog and the drone of my grand-aunt. He is not without kindness after all. Even though I have stopped thought transmission the boss seems to read my thought and turns and says,
“Hey, I do this not without my own agenda. I need the dog in this forthcoming treasure hunt.”
“Noted, boss.” I am a bit crest-fallen but I still like to imagine he is not that mercenary for he is already super-loaded.
Some nerd friends ask me how I would rate my boss. Well, on a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest, I would say he is close to 8+ or 9-, because of the generous and fair monetary reward he hands out to all deserving workers after a successful big hunt. As a human being he is also very descent, courageous and honorable. He doesn’t run away from challenges and leave any of his hired men in hot soup to face the music alone. On technology nerdiness (a new term I have just coined)? Well, I would give him ten. He invents and innovates all the time. No, he is not EM (you know who). He is English and not South African.
As we approach the first garden all is quiet and perfect. The drones carry us over the walls without a hitch. Because of our weight and bulk compared to the drones, we use them to get across the walls only. At the second garden we encounter a strange thing. (To be continued)

Photography: This is an original picture taken in a vintage car museum. This blogger has not done any touch up to it as it looks a bit similar to the boss’ car (which of course is tech-modified). Alas, this blogger does not know the details of this car.

millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

Take a hike, nerd: Dronesville adventure #7

Hike
dronesville-adventure-7I am taken for a hike. In my Armani suit looking all respectable notwithstanding perching precariously on a ladder looking into a neighborhood sunny garden minding my own business calling out for my Dronesville’s dog, Gracie, who has disappeared overnight, the sudden blow comes and knocks me off balance completely, causing me unceremoniously free-falling over the edge of the garden down a steep slope gate-crashing into someone’s private property. Later I learn that the blunt object that hit me is a base ball which a Gen.Y woman power hitter hits with great precision and aim landing the ball right on my head as intended.

Once I reach the point of no return someone blindfolds me and tie my two hands together. Then two persons drag me to a prison cell (or a cellar of some sort). I cannot see at all so I start imagining the worst scenario. I can hear sound of running water. Am I in a dungeon? Then I realize I am possibly in the house adjoining to the hyperloop place. It is a large, seemingly ordinary and sunny looking house painted bright sunflower yellow. I can hear footsteps of people moving some furniture in the room. Then a woman voice asks:

“What are you doing spying on us?”

Another woman voice says, “You peeping tom!” (Because I was using binoculars before they hit me.)

“Don’t think that you can fool us by dressing up as if you are an ordinary salesman.” This woman thinks that I wear Armani suit to sell stuff to the dronesville residents!

“He is probably a con man. We have never seen salesman wearing Armani. Perhaps he is a pervert.”

“Maybe he is just a third rate actor who has been made redundant and is doubling up as a temporary salesman?”

“No he seems too foolish not to be a spy, like Johnny England. I bet he is a third rate spy. Let’s see, what shall we do with a spy? Perhaps cut off his index finger and mail it back to the M15 or FBI?”

I can only shake my head vigorously. They have gagged me so I can’t answer them. They don’t seem to want my answer anyway because they keep asking questions and answer them themselves.

Meanwhile, I am still blind-folded. My hands are tied and my mouth is gagged. I am like a sitting duck shaking my head like it is working on a head shaking upside down pendulum clock. The situation is getting out of control soon as the two hotly debate about my real motive and a pandemonium breaks out as they start throwing stuff at each other and causing loud bangs. What sends shiver down my spine is that the two women speak English with foreign accent.

“What shall we do with this intruder?” Finally one comes back to the crucial question.

“Well, maybe we feed him to the jelly fish? Our jelly babies will be delighted!”

“Hmmm, seems good idea. Only snag is he is too big and they get bored with eating the same stuff for too long. With that Armani he may cause indigestion too.”

“Deep freezing can preserve for months, in case we run out of food for the jellies.”

I recall having read somewhere this dreadful information: “Jellyfish are carnivores and excellent predators. They sting with tentacles to subdue small aquatic fish, and eat the eggs and invertebrates that stick to their tentacles.” I realize too late I seem to be in the hands of two possibly mad alien women who are hiding from both the M15 and FBI. But what are they doing breeding giant jelly fish? I shudder to  figure out.

They cannot decide what to do and decide to call it a day and leave me. I can sense the day dragging until nightfall. The two do not return to check on me. I have my window of opportunity to escape. Even though they have taken away my mobile phone, they have not detected my hair-line-thin-film robot glued to my chest. When I am finally convinced the two are fast asleep and certainly not within earshot I telepathically command the robot to communicate with the drone which I am confident that Gracie has taken with her.

Sure enough Gracie or rather the drone returns a signal to show that it is receiving my signals. I send my thought again to signal I am in dire strait if not life threatening danger. Soon the drone returns with an audible signal that rescue is on the way. The GSP link enables my robot to transmit my exact location to the drone which in turn can lead Gracie here. Will Gracie understand the drone’s signal? The drone will translate the signal to her in audible human language and being a transmuted dog she can understand alright! I become quite optimistic after all.

I can hear soft steps of little feet and an almost inaudible humming drone sound by the time I nearly doze off. Am I hearing things or am I imagining? But I also hear a loud thud somewhere…(To be continued)

(Still on)Edge

millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge

A peeping nerd on edge: Dronesville adventure #6

Edge
dronesvilles-edgeAhem, here I am after this blog having being usurped by Gracie, the Dronesville’s dog. My nerd cronies have been booing like after their favorite German football club lost the recent Euro cup and some even had the audacity to suggest I change my blog’s name to “Gracie the nerd dog”, so the dog gets the prominent position for after all she has been writing the blog.

I wake with a triple headache. First I remember the boss instructing that I bring Gracie the dog along to our treasure hunting expedition. Secondly, I cannot locate Gracie. Thirdly I cannot locate the drone. What more can a decent normal nerd ask? All three mysteries land on me at one go, as if my new profession overnight becomes multitasking investigating sleuth. The combination of the problems seems too good to be true. Haha, I somewhat pride myself on cracking multiple puzzles. Surely this has something to do with Gracie. Oh, I know all about her being able to eavesdrop on human conversation for sometime ever since she frequented the Hyperloop place and inadvertently put herself under the influence of a gamma ray and transmuted. shall I say good riddance to her? Shall I simply tell the boss as she has run off he might as well call the trip off? Or shall I go look for her so I won’t get into further trouble with (or rather under the wrath of) the boss? Maybe I simply go back to sleep and pray that this is only a nightmare…

I don’t really have any option but to choose to go look for Gracie because I don’t want a double dose of wrath, one from the boss and one from the grand-aunt (also my former English teacher). But honestly I do have some sentiment for Gracie for she has been a good and faithful guard dog. What if she falls into unscrupulous criminal hand? I shudder at the thought of this possibility. I start by asking pertinent questions.

Why has she run off? Obviously it is because she doesn’t want to go treasure hunting with human. Where can she run to? She has to go to her doggie friends for help. Who are her friends? There are no other dogs in Dronesville. Where can a secret hideout be if there is indeed a doggie friend to take her in? I know practically all the normal Dronesville’s residential houses and the residents being related to them one way or another, a whole bunch of retirees from the academic professions who are now aiming to become nerds in modern and up to date technology. Being a young up to date tech-know nerd in their view, I am invited to their virtual club meetings as an honorary advisor.

There is only one place I don’t know. The Hyper-loop building. I know of it superficially. They operate in top secret and no outsiders are allowed inside. I know they keep a cat. Surely our Gracie does not make friend with a cat? What if in her desperation she tries to sneak into that place and gets caught by the cat? I shudder again. Poor Gracie. She will be no match against that giant cat. I make up my mind. I shall have no what-if. I shall investigate no matter what comes and get the facts.

So that is what happens as illustrated in the photo-picture today. You can see a nerd dressed in proper business suit just to look respectable standing on the edge of a ladder peeping into someone else’s lovely sunny garden…and what happens next is I feel the back of my head being hit by a blunt object and I fall…(To be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · writing · young in heart

War between Dronesville’s Brave (dog) and Meanie the Plop (cat): Dronesville adventure #5

Plop
dronesvilles-adventure-dog-3“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.” (Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile). Like I said in my previous blog about me being able to speak and tech-know, I go into hideout by joining my robot dog friend Robby in the hyperloop. By now everyone should know how loyal we dog are to our human masters. “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” (M.K. Clinton, The Returns).

The hyperloop place is cluttered with all sorts of machines and being a miniature dog I can slip in without being noticed. It is three in the morning and everyone is sound asleep. They do not keep a dog but there is a tiny pet entrance at the back kitchen for a cat. Yes, there is a cat there. Her name is Meanie (aka Goliath) the Plop. The drone carries me over the wall smoothly. As I approach the cat entrance I can smell the Plop. But I am not afraid. “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President of the United States). Like my master, I am oozing oily quotes/misquotes from every pore and oil myself to the floor. (My Fair Lady) My master has done a good job daily drumming them into his and my head through repetitions during meal time.

I enter the house without a sound. But the Plop seems waiting for me. “What have we here? Haha a miserable intruder!” She hisses. She is huge for a cat. Sleek and huge. Grossly overweight. “My, a miniature dog! What is that on your back? Hand it over!” Her size is colossal. She stands up and arches her back, opening her menacing mouth, sticking out a blood red tongue. Her claws are long and sharp. Shifting into a war pose she blocks my way. What else can an otherwise peace loving decent dog do in this situation?

I won’t describe the Dronesville brave (dog) and the Goliath Plop of a cat fight scene. it is not pretty. Losing is not my game so eventually I signal my companion brave (drone) to land on her head. She is shocked beyond words. The crash landing of the drone knocks her out. By then Robby has appeared and leads us two braves (dog and drone) through a dark tunnel to his hideout. I spend the rest of the night and many nights thereafter licking my wounds. I shall not rejoin my master until I am whole again.

I must admit I do plop myself down on the hard tiled floor and sulk for sometime. Then I cheer up. Robby the robot dog seems trustworthy. He is good in finding food too (for me of course). The drone is my assurance. He is like a security blanket a toddler must carry around. I need his mobility and later communication with my master who probably will be frantic when he discovers that I am missing. Hahaha, my turn to laugh and congratulate myself for my ingenious scheme to help my master, despite the Plop’s nasty interval. My human master will be proud of me. Tomorrow will be a brighter day! (Misquoting Gone with the Wind). (To be continued)

amateur nerd · millennial short-story · weekly photo challenge · young in heart

a rare dog speaks: Dronesville’s adventure#4

Rare Miniaturedronesville night escape“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.” This is from the mouth of my favorite actress, Elizabeth Taylor. You guess right. Dog ranting continues today. “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” (Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red) I am now plotting my great escape before the night is over. As you would have guessed, I am of minute or rather miniature size in real life. Why? Was I stunted? Was I a runt? I don’t know. I was an orphan abandoned on the entrance to Dronesville. Pink nose, yellow eyes. The kind former English teacher adopted me for this special retiree teachers tech-know-to-be community. My age now? Hmmm, maybe I am seven more or less. Yes, according to this famous quote I searched from the internet (when my master fell asleep with his PC on and forgot to put me outside)I rank among leading actors and horses. My size does not deter me from being the hero. LOL.

Back to business. I know where I can go to find a hideout so my master would not get into further trouble. I have developed a taste for biting his boss’ heel (without actually biting into his skin) and possibly annoying him. It’s therefore best for me to go somewhere to avoid being dragged by him to some foreign land treasure hunting with a hidden obsession to bite him for causing my master and I duress.

For those unfamiliar with dogs, I do have packing to do. “What?” You ask, your mouth wide opened and eyes rolling. Ahem, don’t forget I am not an ordinary dog. What do I pack? Goodies to eat during emergency of course. In this case I also take along my master’s grand-aunt’s miniature drone which she handed to him and he inadvertently left on the couch. How else do you think the drone could have landed on my master’s head or safely stored in his pocket in earlier episodes of Dronexit?

Thus with my miniature futuristic solar digital voice/bark/whimper operated dog-backpack already fitted on my back by my master as he prepared for the treasure hunt venture with his boss, and a last glance at my drooling master who is in deep sleep on the couch probably dreaming of futuristic robotics, I open the door, jump over the fence and speed into the night. My destination is of course the Hyperloop at the far end of Dronesville. I have been to this place many times and am familiar with its layout. I even have a canine friend there in the hideout! An abandoned miniature dog robot who has made his way there and made it his home. Being miniature is an advantage. We can hide in nooks which many humans tend to overlook. The disadvantage is that we need to watch out for bullies from our own animal world. As I am the only dog in this neighborhood I don’t need to worry about that. But Hyperloop is another world…(To be continued)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For those interested about miniatures, read Pamuk’s novel, “My name is Red”. My Name Is Red is a 1998 Turkish novel (a philosophical thriller)by writer Orhan Pamuk translated into English in 2001. Pamuk would later receive the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. The novel, concerning miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire of 1591, established Pamuk’s international reputation and contributed to his Nobel Prize. The main characters in the novel are miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire, one of whom is murdered in the first chapter. Pamuk suggests that to some of the characters, viewing miniatures or “perfected art” is a way to achieve a kind of glimpse of eternity. Famous quote: “I don’t want to be a tree, I want to be its meaning.”