Loose Nuts and Bolts

“So that’s where I left you.” He addressed the pristine pieces of metal on the kitchen table.

Sunder Paz had been assigned some DIY problems by Dr. Reuven as a test of his reasoning abilities as well as how he functioned independently. He had been performing a routine maintenance task when he was distracted by the doorbell. Dr. Reuven was teaching at the university, so Sunder had the place to himself.

It was the UPS delivery person and he required a signature. Sunder signed his name (he thought having a name was a wonderful thing) and accepted the package. However by the time he closed the door and put the parcel on the coffee table, he’d quite forgotten what he’d been doing before. It took Sunder over fifteen minutes of searching the house before he rediscovered the small collection of nuts, bolts, and washers.

“I’m glad I found you. Now I can finish re-assembling my short term memory unit. Dr. Reuven will be so pleased.”

I created this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a small tale of 200 words or less. My word count is 165.

When I saw the photo, it seemed so sterile that for a moment I was stuck for an idea. Then the phrases “losing your marbles” and “loose nuts and bolts” popped into my head and my story was born.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.




Image: Natalia Drepina

Her hands, so petite, so delicate, in those lacy coverings, yes he would miss her hands. They were on their bed together kneeling, he was holding her gently from behind. His eyes were hot with tears.

“Don’t be sad, Gerald. You will be fine when I’m gone.”

“I don’t want you to go, Leigh.”

“We have no choice, darling. My diagnosis, I’m terminal.”

“There’s got to be something…”

“Hush, my darling. I’ve only got moments…moments…”

The world’s first humanoid companion robot went offline Thursday, January 13th at 10:55 a.m., a victim of atmospheric contaminants that toxified her cybernetic brain.

Written for Photo Challenge #147 from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

I don’t know if I managed to capture the emotion of this moment in a mere 98 words, but I hope so. I’ve written similar (and much longer) stories about a man falling in love with an artificially intelligent humanoid, principally The Perfect Woman.

Next Steps in Writing a Novel: The Table of Contents


Image: wikihow.com

I finally hammered out the Table of Contents (TOC) for my proposed science fiction novel (I’m stuck on giving the book a title at the moment). You wouldn’t think a TOC would be hard to put together, but I had to consider the appropriate “building blocks” for the book. What information would I need to present, and in what order, to create a cohesive storyline taking place over maybe a century or so?

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Note that I’m not revealing the names of all the chapters:

  1. The Machine That Loved God
  2. The Maker Dilemma
  3. The Good Android
  4. Uncooperative Neighbors
  5. The Rescuers
  6. – – – – – – – –
  7. – – – – – – – –
  8. Vesper 21
  9. – – – – – – – –
  10. – – – – – – – –
  11. – – – – – – – –
  12. – – – – – – – –
  13. Epilogue

The Epilogue is somewhat controversial since it changes the end of the novel. Depending on whether I include or exclude it, the whole meaning of the story alters, and rather drastically, too. If I leave it out, I promise a lot of religious people, mainly Christians, aren’t going to like me. I think secularists, atheists, and the average science fiction reader would be more than OK with it, though.

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