Tag Archives: Written Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

Another camera-free attempt at the WordPress Photo Challenge….

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Mona LisaLeonardo da Vinci led Michelangelo into his studio and across to the easel in the corner. He held out one hand toward the painting resting upon it, and while he didn’t actually say “Ta-Dah!” Michelangelo could almost hear the words inside his head.

“What do you think?” asked Leonardo.

“Mmm … not bad,” said Michelangelo.

“Not bad?” said Leonardo in astonishment. “Not bad? This is my masterpiece.”

“Seriously?” said Michelangelo. “Better than The Last Supper?”

“That’s just rubbish,” said Leonardo. “I painted them all sitting on the same side of the table, what sort of a supper-party is that?”

“But people love it,” said Michelangelo. “They analyse it, they think one of the guys is actually a girl, they even think it’s some sort of code.”

“They’re mixing me up with Jamesbondo,” said Leonardo. “He goes in for that sort of stuff. Anyway, what’s wrong with this painting?”

“Well, in the first place it’s a bit gloomy. Where is the background supposed to be?”

“Tuscany,” said Leonardo.

“What, sunny Tuscany? I can’t see the Tuscan Tourist Board being too impressed, you’ve made it look like Mordor on a winter’s day. And she’s a bit gloomy too.”

“What do you mean?” asked Leonardo.

“Well, why is she glaring at you like that?”

“That’s not a glare. That’s an enigmatic smile.”

“Is ‘enigmatic smile’ a euphemism for glaring?” asked Michelangelo. “Because she looks as if you’ve just told her that yes, her bum does look big in that dress. Plus she looks like a Goth girl.”

“No, she doesn’t,” said Leonardo.

“She does,” said Michelangelo. “Give her black fingernails and black mascara and she could go to a Metallica concert.”

“Is Metallica still going?” said Leonardo.

“Yes, he’s got a whole band now,” said Michelangelo. “A string quartet, apparently. And speaking of mascara, why has she no eyebrows?”

Leonardo stared at the painting. “Shit,” he said. “I’ll paint some on later.”

Michelangelo knew that he wouldn’t. He had known Leonardo for a long time, ever since the two of them (along with Raphael and Donatello) had been at school together. He knew that within seconds of the conversation ending Leonardo would be drawing futuristic sketches of helicopters, TV remote controls and the transporter room of the starship Enterprise, with the eyebrows already forgotten.

“Any other constructive criticism from someone who’s basically an interior decorator?” Leonardo said nastily.

“Yes,” said Michelangelo. “Where are her boobs?”

“Er, on her chest,” said Leonardo, confused.

“Yes, I know that,” said Michelangelo, “but you can’t see them, can you? Boobs are very popular at the moment -”

“Aren’t they always?” asked Leonardo.

“Well, yes,” said Michelangelo, “but I mean in art. Look at Botticelli and his Birth of Venus. Logically Venus should be a tiny baby at her birth, but he made her a grown woman, stuck a big pair of knockers on her front, and was able to sell the painting for ten thousand lira.”

“Isn’t that about three quid?” said Leonardo.

“Nah, this is 1506,” said Michelangelo. “The lira hasn’t collapsed yet.” He looked at the picture for a moment. “Who is she, anyway?”

“That’s a secret,” said Leonardo. “She’s supposed to simply represent ‘woman’.”

Michelangelo looked harder at the picture. “Ah, now I get it,” he said excitedly, “and you’re right, it is your masterpiece.”

“Er, why?” said Leonardo.

“Because you, the artist, obviously represent simply ‘man’, and like simple man have just come home from the pub four hours after you said you would. She’s ‘enigmatic smiling’ at you in that way that all we men recognise in such occasions, and, of course, we have your final touch of genius.”

“Which is?”

“She’s checking her watch.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Tinman’s weekly camera-less attempt at the WordPress Photo Challenge…

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It came from above, descending at tremendous speed through the Earth’s atmosphere.

It would have hit the ground with force had it not instead hit Newton, who was asleep under the tree from which it had fallen, straight on the top of the head.

He sat up with a start and stared at the apple, now rocking gently beside him on the grass.

“Gravity!” he said, which is an Olde English word meaning “bloody hell, that hurt.”

He went to see his friend James Watt, who was absent-mindedly watching a kettle boil.

“I’ve invented gravity!” shouted Newton.

“What’s gravity?” asked Watt.

“It’s what makes all things fall to earth.”

“Um, you may not have actually invented that,” said Watt. “I rather think that God did.”

“Really?” said Newton. “Well, I discovered it.”

“Don’t think you can even claim that,” said Watt. “I think that anyone who has, for example, dropped their toast buttered side down, or dropped a hammer onto their foot, or even been very heavily rained upon, would feel that they already know all about gravity. Or downfall, as we call it.”

“Er, I think your downfall means something else,” said Newton. “It’s something to do with meeting your doom.”

“Ever dropped a hammer onto your foot?” asked Watt.

“Ok, ok, I didn’t invent it and didn’t discover it,” said Newton, in the same grudging manner in which Hillary would later have to admit that he had neither invented nor discovered Everest, “but I’ve been developing theories about it.”

“Such as?”

“Well, I believe that if you dropped a ton of lead and a ton of feathers off a building, they would both hit the ground at the same time.”

“A ton of feathers? The bag would have to be the size of a hot-air balloon. You’d never get it up the stairs to the top of the building.”

“Yes, well that’s not the point, the point is -”

“I’d rather be hit by the ton of feathers, that’s all I can say,” said Watt.

“No, you wouldn’t,” said Newton. “The important part of the phrase is the word “ton”. You’re going to be squashed flat either way.”

“Where are we going to get all this, anyway?”

“All of what?”

“Well, the lead, for example,” said Watt. “We’d have to strip the roof of every church in England. And as for the ton of feathers, we’d be plucking chickens for the next four thousand years.”

“Look, we wouldn’t actually -”

“And we’d be left with thousands of chickens. Perhaps we could open a chain of fried-chicken restaurants.”

“Wouldn’t work,” said Newton. “Who’d go to a place with only one choice on the menu?”

“I suppose so,” said Watt. “Perhaps we could drop the chickens off the building as well.”

“They wouldn’t be dead,” said Newton, “so they’d just fly off.”

“Ah, so your gravity doesn’t work on live things,” said Watt. “That’s good news. If I ever fall off a cliff it will be a great comfort to know that whatever is causing me to plummet to my downfall is not gravity.”

“Look,” said Newton, aware that the conversation had wandered, “there is no lead, nor feathers, nor chickens. None of it’s actually going to happen. It’s a theory.”

“Ah, good idea,” said Watt. “Theories are great, no-one can tell if they’re true or not. Like Einstein’s one about Relativity.”

“What’s that?” asked Newton.

“I think it’s something to do with meeting all of your relatives if you travel at the speed of light.”

“I’d say you have that the wrong way round,” said Newton. “It’s probably that if you hear that your relatives are coming to visit you run away at the speed of light.”

“Maybe so,” admitted Watt. He was still staring at the kettle, from which a cone of steam was now  spouting. “Do you know,” he said, “I reckon I could run a train on that.”

“Mmm,” said Newton. “If you used all the boiling water to run the train you wouldn’t be able to make tea for the passengers.“

“Ever tasted the tea on trains? It’s not made with boiling water.”

“Still, you’d need a really big kettle.”

“True,” said Watt. “Perhaps I could buy it in the shop where you buy your bag for the feathers.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Again, man-without-camera meets photo-challenge without fear…

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Once upon a time Rome was just a tiny village, and the Romans were a simple folk, holding toga-parties, making sparkling candles and growing pasta. Then a far-sighted village leader called Nero renamed the area Urbi et Orbi, meaning “the city and its satellite towns”, and urban life as we know it began.

The Romans quickly embraced the snobbery involved in living in the biggest place around, referring to those that lived outside the city as Sub-urban. You would think that the out-of-towners would take umbrage at such insults and stay well clear of the place. Far from it, they went right to it. In time all roads led to Rome, or at least to the giant roundabout just outside it (it is where the term “spaghetti junction” comes from).

Tourists (from the Latin (ok, Spanish) word “torreste”, meaning “thick as bull-shit”) turned up in droves during the summer months of Julius, Augustus and Septembus. Although there was only one street, the Appian Way, they would hire a taxi-chariot to drive them its length, so as to hear from the driver how terrible things were, and how it was all the fault of the Goths, Huns and Vandals, coming along and taking all our jobs.

They gaped at the Seven Hills as if they’d never seen scenery before, marvelled at chariot races as if they’d never seen a horse-and-cart before, and gasped at lions as if they’d never, well, ok, that part was fair enough.

They bought overpriced laurel-leaf hats with ” a souvenir of Rome” written upon them, gazed at statues of men with impressive muscles and unimpressive other bits, and actually (and even the Romans couldn’t believe their luck here) threw away their money into a fountain.

The highlight of their trip was when they got to stare in awe at Rome’s only big building, the Coliseum.

Though in fairness, it was in much better condition back then.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

Still no camera, still taking on the Challenge….

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Ugg and his wife Ogga had been standing, four-footed, watching while fellow villager Argh had tried to pick an apple from a tree. He had stretched one front paw up, up, to no avail. Chastened, he turned and trudged away from the tree.

Then he stopped, as if an idea had come to him. He turned back towards the tree, and raised himself onto his two back legs. He tottered, teetered, wobbled. He sat down suddenly on his bum, but stood back up again.

“Now that’s just wrong,” said Ugg.

What happened next astonished them. Argh put one back leg in front of the other, then repeated the move. His gait was part trapeze artist, part Riverdance, but he was moving forward, right to the base of the tree.

For the first time ever, man was walking on two legs.

He picked an apple. Then a higher one. Then a higher one still, and began to juggle them in his two front-paws. He moon-walked. He tap-danced. He flicked a round rock up into the air with his  right foot, and then volleyed it into a nearby bush. He hopped around in pain for a while after this, effectively now walking on just one foot.

“Now that’s just showing off,” said Ugg.

“There’s a lot to be said for it,” said Ogga. “Look at how he can reach high things. You should try it. You could put up shelves in our cave.”

“What are shelves?”

“Don’t know, really,” said Ogga. “I just know that I am genetically disposed to want them.”

Argh turned away from the tree and they could see what could no longer be called his underside.

“Yuck!” said Ugg. “You can see his nipples!”

“And his thing,” said Ogga, a little too admiringly for Ugg’s liking. The scornful retort that he began, however, was drowned out by a fearsome roar.

A wild boar, head down, was charging towards Argh.

“Now he’s in trouble,” said Ugg. “He won’t be able to run as fast on two legs.”

Argh looked around, armed (if that’s the word) himself with a stick, and as the boar approached, whacked him across the head with it. The boar fled.

Ogga whooped with glee. “That’s it,” she said, “I’m giving it a go.”

“As your husband, I forbid it,” said Ugg.

“Yeah, right,” snorted Ogga. She raised herself onto her two hind legs, and took a few practice steps. “I’m going back to the cave,” she said. “Coming?”

Ugg watched her walk away. She was doing the same thing that Argh had done, but somehow it was different. Her hips seemed to move from side to side, and her bum swayed in a strange yet alluring way.

It’s still wrong, thought Ugg, getting to his feet to follow her, but somehow it didn’t matter to him anymore.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Yet again the man with no camera takes on the WordPress Photo Challenge, with words….

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“What sort of a growth?” asked the vet.

“It’s red, and it’s on his nose.”

“Perhaps it’s a pimple,” suggested the vet.

“What?” said Santa. “Do you mean this is puberty?”

“Could be,” said the vet.

“So you’re saying he’s going to start chasing after girl reindeers, like Vixen, and being cheeky to Mrs Claus and me, and his voice is going to suddenly drop, along with other bits of him?”

“I don‘t think reindeers have voices,” said the vet.

“The others certainly do,” said Santa. “They laugh and call him names.”

“What names?”

“Um, don’t know really,” said Santa. “”Redser,” I suppose.”

“Nah, that’s for gingers,” said the vet. “Perhaps it’s sunburn.”

“This is the North Pole,” said Santa icily, appropriately enough.

“Look, to be honest,” said the vet, “I’m more used to putting funnels on dogs’ heads, or guessing whether a tortoise is dead or not. All I can suggest is to leave it a few days and see if it gets better.”

It was two nights later, on a foggy Christmas Eve, when the vet’s phone rang.

“It’s starting to glow,” said Santa‘s panicky voice. The vet sighed. He was beginning to regret asking for a phone from, well, Santa.

“Maybe it’s just shiny,” said the vet.

“No,” said Santa. “If you came and saw it, even you would say it glows.”

“Well, I can’t come now,” said the vet. “I have to stick my legs into the back of a horse.”

“Wow,” said Santa, “what sort of procedure is that?”

“It’s not one, I’m playing the rear half of the horse in the village pantomime.”

“So what will I do?” wailed Santa.

“Don’t know,” said the vet. “Use him to read by, or something.”

“Use him to – wait a minute, I’ve got it! Doc, you’re a genius.” The phone went dead.

The following morning the vet rang Santa. “How did last night go?” he asked.

“Good and bad,” said Santa. “I used him to guide my sleigh, and was doing my route faster than I’ve ever done it before. Then I got pulled in by the cops.”

“What for?”

“Driving without a tail-light.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

Photographers who struggle with WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge should try having a computer that will no longer let you load photos from your mobile onto it. In such a situation most people would retire defeated, but I am not most people, I am an idiot. So from now until I get some 21st century equipment I’m going to treat the Photo Challenge as a writing challenge…..

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It took just one fleeting moment. Maybe it was the cosmic dust that caused it. Anyway, for whatever reason, God sneezed.

“Bless you,” said Gabriel. God looked at him.

“What?” said Gabriel. “It’s an expression.”

God had never sneezed before, and therefore was unaware that One has to put something to One’s nose if One is to avoid possible embarrassment. He and Gabriel suddenly noticed the small ball of blue-green snot that was drifting slowly across space.

“Er, I’ll clean that up for you,” said Gabriel.

“No, wait a sec,” said God. The ball had begun to revolve around a star, close enough to it to start to warm the ball up. Even as they stared, small stirrings began in what is known, very accurately, as the Primordial Ooze.

“It’s alive,” whispered Gabriel, like a Frankenstein’s Igor.

God stared in fascination at it. “I’m going to put beings on it,” he said.

“What kind of beings?” asked Gabriel.

“I’m going to create, er, man,” said God.

“What does that mean?”

“It means ‘word I just made up’. This man will be created in mine own image.”

“What, a million feet tall and totally invisible?”

“No, he will have eyes, ears -”

“-and a nose -”

“Yes, and a nose, just like me.”

“What will he do all day? There’s not a lot of fun to be had on your own on a ball of snot.”

“He won’t be alone,” said God. “He will have a mate.”

“What, like the way you and me are mates?” asked Gabriel.

“Not exactly. Eventually there will be lots of mans.”

“Will they live in the clouds?”

“No.”

“Will they have wings?”

“No.”

“Will they be immortal?”

“No.”

“They sound a bit pathetic,” said Gabriel.

They do, don’t they, thought God. He looked into their future. He saw wars, and cruelties, and petty stupidity, and half thought of giving up the whole idea. But he looked a bit deeper. He saw music, and poetry, and the astonishing creation that is laughter. He saw warmth, and kindness, and he saw love.

“They won’t be pathetic,” he said proudly. “They’ll be magnificent.”