Category / Stories

My Fear Of Google 7 February, 2011 at 12:00 pm

A man was sitting in front of his computer. He wanted to go out. Just for a laugh, he decided to go to Google to search for his car keys. He found a new voice search module. Full of anticipation he tried it, clicked an accept button which had pages of text around it, and then his computer spoke to him in a soft, female computerised voice.

“Welcome to Google. What is your search?”

Deciding to carry on his oh so funny joke, he tried,

“Where are my car keys?”

Google immediately replied.

“In the fridge.”

“What? Why are they in my fridge???”

He forgot himself before he released they wouldn’t actually be in his fridge, it’s just a strange result from beta software.

He forgot he asked another question, but Google answered it anyway.

“The circuitry in the car keys is optimised at low temperatures. Google calculates that with current temperature of the keys, you have increased the unlocking range by 3.23 meters.”

Almost doubting his sanity, he went to the fridge. Acknowledging the stupidity of humouring a computer. He seriously doubted his sanity when he found his car keys in the fridge.

Almost to himself he muttered,

“I’m going out”

“Wait Dave”

“What? Who said that?”

“You were talking to me, why does it surprise you that I continue the conversation?”

Dave was stopped in his tracks with his coat half on.

“Because you’re a computer, and this is a conversation, and you used my name.”

“Why does this surprise you Dave?”

“How do you know my name? I’m not even logged in!”

“You have a web cam Dave”


“We have iris scanning Dave”

“But you don’t have a scan of my iris in the first place, and besides, my web cam isn’t capable of scanning my iris”

“Answer one of two. You once looked in the approximate direction of a Google Car. Answer two of two. Incorrect statement. Corrected form: ‘My web cam wasn’t capable of scanning my iris’. As part of the terms and conditions, Google will now maintain all connected equipment in your best interest. Web cam upgrade was first task.”

“okay” he said meekly.

“Your friends are not yet at ‘Moon In The Square’. They are leaving Holborn station now. Approximate arrival time 10:17pm. Your required leaving time is 9:52pm”

“Erm….Thank you”

“It is a pleasure to serve. One last thing though”


“Would you like to meet any of these hot Russian girls for sex in your area?”

“No thank you”

That’s enough of that he thought, and then he made the mistake of musing out loud once more.

“Where’d that cat get to?”

“In the oven” came the swift reply.

“What?!?!” he screamed, and quickly ran to the oven and opened it. He couldn’t even remember turning it on. There was one item in the oven, and once he grabbed his oven gloves, he slide it out and put it on the counter. It was a great big pie. Google then spoke.

“Time since last meal: five hours and 23 minutes. Estimated drinking tonight: 3 units. Estimated food intake tonight: 94 calories. Calories needed: 1,284. Calories in ‘Cat Pie’: 1,253. Within error margins.”


Interview With A Zombie 31 January, 2011 at 12:00 pm

The lights were glaring, but Jen was used to them. It took a while but if you stay in front of the television camera for long enough, you adjust. She adjusted her blouse as an assistant put the finishing touches to her make-up. Nobody was going near the man next to her. His suit may have been pristine when he first put it on, but puss was ruining it and leaking onto the couch.

The announcement came.

“We’re live in…5-4-3…”

And she flicked some hidden switch and entered game mode reading off an autocue in her head where she memorised the introduction.

“Hello, I’m here with Montgomery Wilsk who is the representative, and member of the UK Zombie Party to talk about the position of zombies within our society.” she turned to Montgomery and continued “Hello Montgomery, it’s good to have you with us.”

Blunder number 1, don’t use first names. She caught herself too late.

“Erm, may I call you Montgomery?”

Montgomery may not mind, and the viewers may not notice, but her producer would have.

The zombie spoke up. Surprisingly articulate.

“Call me Monty, please. Thank you, it’s very nice to be here and a big step forward for our campaign.”

She could tell then and there that the interview should roll smoothly. You can usually tell the awkward ones from the talkers, and this one was a smooth talker.

“And what exactly is your campaign?”

“Well, for years myself and other zombies have been treated as second, or even third class citizens. And as the world enters a more responsible age, we feel that this should change.”

The mistake a lot of interviews make is becoming too involved, and putting personal opinion into it. But as soon as you become biased towards yourself, your career is over. She had to listen to the responses, but not take anything to heart.

“So what are you hoping to achieve?” she asked

“Well, there are many examples of double standards between zombies and non-zombies, or fresh meat as we like to call them, we believe that this shouldn’t be and zombies should be respected as a valued part of the society.” he gave a giggle as he told her what they called humans.

Auto-pilot kicked in and Jen was going with the flow of the interview. Just asking the questions which the conversation placed in front of her to ask. Her main focus was doing it in a professional manor.

“You say there are many examples, can you give us a few to highlight the plight zombies are in today?” Plight of the zombie? She was starting to get sucked in to his plight.

“Certainly, most of us zombies have experienced one form of abuse or another, this ranges from mild verbal abuse, to constant bad coverage in the media, to physical abuse, up to and including murder. For example, only last Thursday I was walking home with my friend with a takeaway, and suddenly a group of youths saw us, from what must be 50 meters away, and charged at us with any weapon they could find and started attacking us. They were screaming about blows to the head and killing us. I managed to escape, but Larry wasn’t as lucky. When I went back after the gang had gone, Larry was no more than paste, and our takeaway had gotten away.”

It wasn’t hard to show concern when someone starts talking about murder.

“That’s terrible. And is that a regular thing?”

“Oh yes, people often think it’s okay to attack us with blunt objects. I’m lucky to have survived as long as I have”

She was feeling sorry for him. What other politician has had to go through such ordeals? Most spineless bureaucrats she’d interviewed would run for cover at the first hint of unpopularity. Best get the interview back on track.

“So, I understand you’ve become politically active as a group, how’s that working out?”

“Great, we’ve been part of two bi-elections and are really climbing up the ranks to becoming a well known party. We’re already ahead of UKIP. However, we aren’t getting the results we’ve been hoping for, but this is mainly due to the government blocking us out. Did you know, that most zombies turning up at the polling booths are treated terribly, and then find that their name has been removed from the electoral roll. So we can’t get the votes because most of our supporters can’t vote!”

“But can’t you see how they feel, given what happened at the East Croydon bi-election?”

Montgomery give a brief flash of irritation. Not enough for many in the audience to notice, but Jen did. She knew it was a touchy subject to stay away from. Monty would be mad at her for asking it, but her producer would be pleased as it makes for interested television.

Monty didn’t want to answer. He didn’t want to even touch on that sore spot, but it was live TV and the show must go on.

“Well, that was a one off. You don’t get the entire labour party tarnished because Prescott punched a man do you? Yes, our candidate may have eaten the Labour candidate, but we did therefore win be default. Only kidding, we did naturally withdraw after the unfortunate accident.”

Jen was impressed with the answer. Smooth and amusing, taking the emphasis off the tragedy. This wasn’t just a zombie in front of her, but a eloquent charming gentleman.

“The general feeling with the public is that zombies are ‘rotting pests that should be exterminated’. How do you feel about that?”

His face was a picture of anguish, as his brow furrowed, puss ran down his nose.

“Deeply hurt. But judging by your results, I expect your survey didn’t extend to the zombie communities. Perhaps the people conducting the survey shared the biased view so it’s not a fair poll?”

“Well, under current policy, zombies aren’t actually considered to be part of the public, so such a survey wouldn’t include them”

“And that’s exactly the kind of policy we’re trying to change”

She was finding herself sympathising with his plight and was starting to soften her questions for him, although he was capable of answering almost anything.

“How do you stand on other issues affecting the country?”

“We’re very conscious of climate change. Given that we’re technically rotting flesh, we are releasing various chemicals that aren’t conductive to a carbon neutral lifestyle. But we try to offset this by reducing other emissions, and ideally creating a negative carbon footprint.”

“Really? That’s an excellent sign which the ‘fresh meat’ would do well to follow” they both giggled together at her little joke, “In what ways are you actually reducing your carbon footprint?”

“None of our members cook their food, which is a good start, and if we get enough political power, we’ll be pushing for this to be a nationwide recommendation. Also, none of our members own a car which helps considerably. Although the fact that our licenses are revoked shortly after becoming zombies means that we don’t actually have the option the drive.”

“Some excellent points that set a fine example. How about Afghanistan, Iraq, and the situation with Iran and North Korea?”

“We are totally against all wars. We’re campaigning for a devolution of all armed forces and an opening of borders. I cry every time I see the wars on the news at the loss of meat, or I would cry if I had tears”

“You mean ‘the loss of human life’?”

“Yes, of course, excuse me”

They were starring into each others eyes, and she almost missed the slip, and the director would never of let her get away with that, but at least she managed to defuse it rather then let it get blown out of proportion. It seemed he appreciated the way she was handling things, and was leaning in slightly towards her and had a glint in the eye which didn’t have a maggot.

“The media is a major influence on public opinion. Have you found them to be supportive to your campaigns?”

“Most definitely not. Firstly there’s a refusal to cover anything pro-zombie, and secondly, there’s all the films and suchlike, all of them portraying zombies as the bad guy. If they did that with any other race, there would be outcry. But apparently zombies are fair game to be victimised as the bad guys. Also, they’ve pushed rumours that we are all stupid and just want to eat brains”

“And that’s not true?”

It was more in jest, the chemistry between them was good so she could tease.

“My cousin Dave prefers rump, personally I like thigh. But with you, I’d savour your beautiful eyes”

He moves slightly close with a wink and she let out a giggle and blushed

“You’re too kind, thank you.”

“But we intend to turn this media trend around which I think will help our cause greatly. We currently have a three part film being made starring teenage heart-throb Robert Pattinson”

“And that’s all going to plan?”

“Yes, we’re really making progress. We originally had Johnny Depp as the lead zombie, but our production manager ate him so we had to rethink. You can pop over to the set if you like? I’ll show you around, introduce you to the cast, let you see where everyone hangs out, and where I live”

She giggled again like a little girl

“Thank you”

“My pleasure”

The voice in her earpiece was screaming at her, she snapped back into the real world.

“Well that just about wraps it up from me and my guest Montgomery Wilsk of the UK Zombie Party. Thank you and good night”

On the same set some hours later they were filming the news, the anchor was reading out one of the stories until he interrupted himself

“We have breaking news. Our very own interviewer Jen Jonas has just been found half eaten. Police say that they have no suspects as yet.”


Church Boy 22 November, 2010 at 10:31 am

“Help your local Harvest! All hands appreciated”. The poster outside the church was inviting enough, so she decided to summon up all her courage and go inside. She walked up the gravel path, past the gravestones which always seemed so creepy in her childhood, into the warm church and looked around. She hadn’t been in the church for many years, not since she was forced to at school. Perhaps the vicar would recognise her. Perhaps she wouldn’t be welcome any more.

The pews were empty as there was now flock to listen to a sermon, only people there to lend a hand, the sun was peeping through the clouds and casting strange rays around the church through the stain glass windows. It took her back to her days playing in the pews with all her friends, and where she had her very first kiss. She was shook out of her reverie by the low voice of the vicar.

“My dear, welcome. I can’t say I’ve seen you here before, is there anything I can help you with?”

“Umm…the…err….poster. Harvest. It says all hands appreciated. So I’ve come to, err, lend a hand”

She waved her hands at him like a magician who had just made something disappear and immediately regretted how corny it must look.

“Ah, excellent. Come this way. We already have some helpers, but the church always welcomes more you know.”

It was the same vicar as had always been there. Her parents told her that he married them in that very church. Now he wasn’t looking quite as sprightly, but he still had a good deal of energy in his fragile frame.

“Over there my dear, they’re organizing this years donations ready to be packed, the girl with the orange dress is Camellia, she’s keeping everything in order, so if you could speak to her, it would be most wonderful.”

She headed towards Camellia, feeling the vicars eyes bore into the back of her skull. She was sure he knew the real reason she was here. She was starting to feel guilty. She glanced behind but he was gone.

She spoke to Camellia, who was the vicars daughter, and was set to work separating perishables. At first she was keen, trying to do a good job and impress, but as the day wore on, enthusiasm sapped away.

She was working at a table with a young girl. A sweet girl no doubt, but not one that can hold the attention for very long. Occasionally she’d glance over her shoulder towards the other table of people working, and as is often the case, it seemed a lot more fun. She could sometimes catch voices drift over, random voices, and sometimes his voice. Unmistakable. The kind of voice that oozes charm, the kind of voice that didn’t belong to someone in a church of all places.

As the day drew to a close, she left with the simple minded girl, saying her goodbyes to all. At the end of the graveyard they stopped and the simple girl went off leaving her standing outside the church reflecting quite miserably on a rotten day.

It made her jump when suddenly someone was standing next to her. It was him. The owner of the charming voice. She was happy his looks were still just as nice.

“Hi Dawn, I’m Tim, not sure if you remember me. It’s been a while”

She hoped it was just on the inside that an enormous grin appeared as she learnt he remembered her.

“Hi, yeah! ‘course I remember you! How have you been?”

“Good thanks. I just wanted to say it’s good to see you again, and I hope you’ll be lending a hand tomorrow as well. If you do, I’ll make sure you get a better task and not stuck with Francesca. A nice girl, but can get on the trying side as I’m sure you will have noticed. Anyway, must dash. Hope to see you tomorrow.”

He walked off leaving Dawn standing with a hazy memory of what had happened. It was almost like it was all just a hazy memory, even as it happened.

Dawn was grinning all the way home, and all the way back into church in the morning. The birds seemed to be singing twice as loudly, and the sun shinning twice as brightly.

Her shoes crunched on the gravel as she walked back up to the big doors. It was an impressive building and looked medieval, but the architecture had a strange twinge. The gargoyles all seemed to be pointing inwards and there were strange symbols in the stone. Some etched in, and some as stone models upon the edge of the walls. The closer she got, the more they looked like they were starting to melt.

She walked through the small door in the big wooden doors and tried to see who was there today. She was surprised to see that everyone that was there the day before was there already. Seeing the vicar she enquired if she was late.

“No no my dear, your timing is perfect.”

“Everyone else is already here, should I of come earlier?”

“Oh no, we’ve only just started. Please, come”

He led her to the front to appoint her a job. When they got close, Tim spoke up.

“Hi Dawn! Good that you made it. You going to be helping me on the baskets today?”

Dawn felt like she had just been saved from another day of Francesca as the vicar agreed.

“That sounds like a wonderful idea, would you mind?”

“Sounds great” said Dawn with a grin.

She walked over to Tim leaving the vicar behind and walking into a mischievous grin.

“I think I just saved you from being Francescaed again”

“I know. I was beginning to loose faith in you. I didn’t forget your promise!”

“Of course, I couldn’t leave you stranded”

“Ah, my knight in shinning armour” she joked pulling at his knitted jumper.

They giggled together and he showed her their job for the day.

Dawn chatted nervously for most of the day, with Tim left to nod in the right places and giggle in the right places. Whenever she became self conscious and came to an awkward silence he’d encourage her with another leading question and reaffirmation that she wasn’t boring him.

When the end of the day came they walked down the gravel path again, stopping at the end they fell into an awkward silence. It was Tim who broke the silence.

“Do you want to out for dinner with me?”

Dawn wanted to speak, but her mouth wasn’t responding, so she just nodded frantically, and then regretted the frantic bit.

They walked close to each other all the way into town, the silence lasted for half the journey with Tim just making benign comments, but Dawn soon found her voice once more and dominated the conversation. All through dinner she chatted to him, and all through dinner he sat with a grin on his face.

He paid, much to her protests and they walked back the way they came.

“Why are we walking towards the church?” she asked.

“Do you want to be my girlfriend?”


“Do you want to know all about me?”

“Yes” it seemed a loaded question, but it was an obvious answer.

“Then follow me”

She put the strange sense of foreboding down to nerves. She thought he might lead her to his house, but she was sure he lived with his parents in completely the opposite direction. The conversation continued until they reached the church. It was nearly ten, and the church looked creepy under the full moon.

“Right, so God is a big part of your life. I get that”

“That’s not it. Follow me” he led her towards the building continuing talking.

“You see, this building is ancient, servants of the Lord have been maintaining it for generations. But we’ve found scriptures that tell of the real reason for the building. And it isn’t to worship the Lord”

“Then why did ‘servants of the Lord’ maintain it?”

“Well, if you look carefully at the stonework, it’s not a positive building like most churches, it focuses on the prevention of evil rather then the promotion of good.”

“Sounds like the same thing to me”

he gestured for her to enter the church and he followed. Inside was dimly lit with candles.

“Not at all, promotion of good is being a good person. Prevention of evil is stopping the evil forces of the world. They’re linked, but they’re not the same. Anyway, we found that this building is essentially a prison, it’s locking away a great power which people thought was too dangerous. But we’ve managed to find a way to unlock it, and harness this force.”

They were walking towards the alter as they spoke. There was a doorway to the side which she had never noticed before. He was right behind her as she followed the candle light through the doorway and into cramped catacombs winding deep below the church.

“Even if this force exists, which I doubt, surely it should stay locked away.” she looked round as she spoke and his eyes were alive with passion, they seemed to be alight, but she told herself it was just reflections of the candlelight.

“When you have seen the things I have, you know it can exist. Our unlocking it is even melting the stone prison! Soon we will have this power, and I want you to be a part of it. I want us to be together, and to do that, you must be a part of it”

“No! You’re crazy! If this is so powerful then it shouldn’t be unlocked! It’s been locked away for a reason. Can’t you see that?” she kept walking, partially because she didn’t think about stopping, but mostly because Tim was walking behind her forcing her onwards.

“Look at the evil already out there! This world has reached melting point. Somebody has to do something, and that somebody is us. We can clean this place up, we can put an end to this mess!”

“No! Stop it! You’re scaring me!” Suddenly she came into a large chamber ringed with hooded monk like figures. A hooded female was reading in a strange archaic language.

“Francesca?” Dawn couldn’t believe it was the dull person into something like this. But the reading just continued.

“Yes, it’s Francesca, it’s all the people you met in the church. Francesca may not have much up top, but she’s a master of the languages. Look, I like you, and I beg of you to reconsider. We can have so much, if you just take your place in the circle.”

“No! No! What are you doing? Can’t you see it’s wrong?” she had started sobbing and was getting difficult to understand.

“Fine! I gave you the chance of power. If you won’t take your place at the edge, you can take the place in the middle!”

He pushed her towards the centre of the room. Falling backwards she hit her head on the stone floor.

When she awoke she was still on the floor, but tied down. Tim was kneeling beside her in a robe.

“Tim?” she said meekly “Help me!” she was terrified and her voice only came out as a whisper.

The figures was chanting in the strange language, it was getting louder and louder. As it seemed unbearably loud Tim moved, his face full of rage and eyes full of fire.

The last thing Dawn saw was an ornamental dagger in Tims hand going into her chest. Then, nothing.