Thursday, 31 July 2014

Acquaintance - Friday Flash

The two former school friends bumped into one another on the street. They shook hands heartily, clumping each other on the shoulder. The commotion of their boisterous reunion broadcast a warning to those pedestrians forging towards them sightlessly with their heads bowed to consult the augury of their phones, so that they managed to swerve around them without disaster. Yet above all the bustle of the street, the two men couldn’t make themselves understood, even when they inclined in towards the mouth of the other to hear what he was saying. 

The pair decided on adjourning to a café to catch up on old times. They snaffled a table just as the waitress was clearing it of the leavings from the previous occupants and ordered two cups of tea. While they stirred sugar into their milky brew, the pair proceeded to fumble for the vectors of alignment of their recollections. Yet they engendered none of the call and response of familiarity. They failed to finish each other’s sentences with that curious intimacy born of shared experience. They recounted events with a similar hollowness that the other vaguely remembered but without any illumination. While they could both place themselves at the same occasions, there was none of the customary effervescence of a reciprocal memory that meant they could place each other there. 

This was because neither had been the protagonist in these recalled scenes. Both had been on the margins, stationed in the boostering chorus (men do not acknowledge any cheerleading role), while others took centre stage with prodigious drinking feats, bodily regurgitation of such feats, or the violence that inevitably ensued. To find such exploits truly memorable and recountable, you had to be there, which they were of course, but perhaps really only tangentially. You don’t allow for wallflowers outside of dancehalls and that usually applied to women, but both men had been let’s call them spear carriers for the main actors and this was dawning on them as they increasingly failed to depict themselves or the other as heroic in any single incident. They were not at the moral centre, because their timidity had determined the moral decision making process for them from the very outset.

They were barely listening to the other as their thoughts turned inward to process these revelations made through lacunae. This happy coincidence which should have prompted a reclamation of carefree youthful joy, had merely shown up their lack of dimension then as now. They couldn’t connect in any pleasing way. Neither cared what the other was currently engaged in and what he had made of his life. For he was reflecting that he himself had still achieved nothing noteworthy, had made very little of his own life in line with the unpromising, modest beginnings. 

The pauses elongated into silences. Though ill-aligned, now the urgency was to break away from their contiguity. Both gulped their tea and made sure to slurp the dregs as loudly as possible to signal an empty cup. One threw his empty sugar packet into the teacup, the other snapped his plastic stirrer in half and also set it in his cup as if a tombstone. The first wiped his mouth with the paper napkin, the other signalled for the bill. They each paid half, stood up and shook hands without any cupping of arms around the shoulder. As they rose to leave, the waitress scooped up their cups and gave a cursory swipe over the table with her cloth. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

And Baseball Created The Universe - Flash fiction

“Foul Ball”! And with that the black hole at the centre of the solar system was created.

“Big bang, big bang! That changeup ain’t coming back any time soon!” as the galaxy was propelled on its never ending way.

“Backdoor slider eh? I went yard on that” as Venus was launched into its orbit.

“Dial long distance!" Curve ball duly deposited into the upper deck as Pluto took its place. The pitching angel was finding it hard to hurl orbs with his wings getting in the way. He spat out his chewing tobacco on the mound and thus was dark matter formed.

“Split two-seam fastball eh? I was sitting dead read on that one. Hit the hide off it!” as a shredded Saturn shuffled into position.

“Pop fly!” as the comets were established in their trajectories. 

“Ha moonshot!” as Jupiter’s many satellites were formed from the splitting of the ball crushed by God’s Louisville Slugger timber.

“Come on Cherub, that one is right in my wheelhouse!” as Neptune was crushed into the far reaches of the solar system.

“Line drive blast, that’s back to back to back” as Mars lined it out into the short porch of the solar system. 

“Sinker ball huh?” Tape-measure dinger into the bleachers for Uranus to assume its elliptical path.

“Ooops mind yourself there Cherub, atom-ball nearly got ya!” and thus was Mercury formed with a single feather snagged by the travelling sphere from the Cherub’s wing.

“Oh man broken bat blooped single, think my arm’s getting tired, let’s call it a day- the first day- here” as the Earth apologetically spilled out into the infield.

“Fiat Lux to illuminate all my smoked balls”. God removed the bubble gum from his mouth and stuck it to the batting cage where it pulsed and radiated light.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Buy One Get One Free!

"28 Far Cries" is my fourth published collection of flash fiction which came out last month.

Together with my other 3 collections, that makes 128 flash fiction stories, of many styles, themes and literary forms.

Perhaps 28 stories is not fully representative of the range of my work, so to remedy that I'm offering the chance to scale that up to 60 of my stories.

If you buy a copy of "28 Far Cries" before August 31st I'll send you a free e-reader version of my third collection "Long Stories Short"

All you have to do is buy "28 Far Cries" from Amazon and use their "I just bought" function at the end of the purchase to tweet it directly to me @21stCscribe

Remember to add the @21stCscribe so I'll see it. I'll tweet you back confirming it and then just email me to sewell(dot)d(at)googlemail(dot)com and I'll send you a copy by return.

If you miss the opportunity, you can still tweet me a photo of you holding the book once it arrives, though this obviously only applies to a print copy.

From reviews of "Long Stories Short"

"His is a truly original voice and Long Stories Short is a master class in writing as a higher art form".
"adept at looking at situations from a different angle, making the mundane into something strange and exciting, or treating the extra-ordinary as an everyday occurrence"

Stories of Royal Street Parties, safe houses, arthritic stand up comics, stolen ancient artefacts, crime scene re-enaction actors, neon cowboy hoardings, marionettes, dump sites, geishas...


Five Sunsets Over The Ramparts - 500 word story

The Sun swatted its interrogatory disc from the face of the earth and gave a clipped nod. As Night stepped forward, the wrinkled penumbral clouds of its rolled up sleeves exposed the warrant of its dark intent.

The Sun had completed its final round and was coming off shift. As it dipped down into the trench of the horizon, it paused to lay a ribboned shaft across the arm of Night arriving in relief. ‘All quiet today, but it’s all going to come down on your watch, it’s palpable in the air’. Night nodded curtly and grimaced as he started his vigil. 

As the Sun sags and droops at the end of the day, it no longer has the power to illuminate the sky with its glow and drags its fading light like a soiled wedding trail through the dust. It feels guilty that the sky is leached of its cerulean and azure, to be but briefly replaced by reds and oranges and bruised purples. A similar purging of certain colours as was happening down on the ground too, as flags of one colour effaced flags of another, until Night descended rapidly to shroud it all unseen beneath its black cloak. 

The Sun gazed upon the shoulders and torso of the blue sky which cradled it. All day the blue had been permeated by smoke trails launched into it, profaning its unbroken blue plane. They looked like trails of tears. But as the sky gyrated and sloughed the Sun off like a robe to step out of its raiment, the Sun no longer cared since it would pass over to become Night’s concern now. Though as the clouds pressed themselves hard up against Night’s bosom so as to become sheer, so the smoke trails too failed to scar his dusky countenance. The pent up perturbations were far worse when they finally fell from his tenebrous countenance and fell to earth, since the whole sky lit up with coruscations. As if in fierce tribute to himself, mocking the radiance he brought during the day with brief fulgurations, before they were enclosed and eclipsed by the darkness once again. 

As the Sun set on another day, it shook its head sadly in the knowledge that when it rose the next morning, there would be nothing left for it to kindle and shine upon to light the way in this place. Night had triumphed over it yet again with its perpetual extinguishing of life. 


I wanted to write something to express my disgust with the international just standing by while innocents die in gaze in utterly unjustifiable numbers. I was trying to go for something on a global scale and decided to plump for the sun and the darkness of night, with all the associations of light/dark these bring. Our words Orient and Occident stem from the Latin for sunrise & sunset, while the term 'Levant" comes from the French also referring to the rising sun. Additionally the terms Middle and Far East show represent the vestiges of colonialism that these parts of the realm were only defined by their proximity or otherwise to the powerful empires of Britain & France. These imperial powers caused the long embittered entrenchments of communities in the Middle East and now they sit on their hands unwilling to try and seek both immediate and long term solutions. I blogged on the root cause problems behind the situation in Palestine back in 2012 and nothing has changed only worsened. If they manage to sort out a cease fire, unless they deal with these deep-rooted problems the region will go through all this again in a short while, just as I said it would back in 2012. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Disenchanted Forest - Friday Flash

A faerie ring of discarded cigarette ends.

A henge of jagged bottles sawn off by practise bullets. Witches’ thimbles picked out in empty shell casings.

Wreaths woven not from acorns and oak leaves, but from silver foil and torn up aluminium can crack pipes.

A cromlech constructed from three abandoned shopping trollies.

Corn dollies festooned the bare ground, fabricated from condoms and tampons.

Hag stones cultivated from car tyres, corn circles of six-pack beer plastic.

A spineless scarecrow featurelessly fashioned from a mound of clothes and rags.

A small maypole erected from a medical crutch planted in the soil while strips of bandages billowed from it.

Devil’s footprints forged from pillboxes, twisted glue tubes and lighter fluid tins. 

Where rubbish had been burned, scorched into the grass was a black chalk outline of a prone man shorn of a wicker husk.

The giant ash tree stretching to the heavens had played host as gallows, suspending the lowliest man on earth from its branches.

taken from the new flash fiction collection "Extra-Curricular" out no in print and e-book

Saturday, 12 July 2014

60s Music - A barren decade

Until the dawn of the 21st century, the 1960s was my least favourite decade for music. I wasn't sure if I could even scrape together ten tunes to form one of my customary themed charts. And yet it was a highly political decade with youth at its head, so could have been more crucial musically than it turned out to be, although to be fair at least by the decade's end we no longer had to watch our beat combo groups performing on TV still wearing suits. Anyway, here are my top 10 tunes from the 60s.

1) The Doors - "Light My Fire"
To me Doors were the quintessential sound of the 60s. A bit political, a bit rebel, a bit hippy, a touch literary and a lot druggy. Having said that they along with Hendrix are perhaps the only two artists who would have more than a handful of songs in my collection. And Coppola's use of "The End" to bookend his movie "Apocalypse Now" is a perfect artistic synthesis.

2) MC5 -  "Kick Out The Jams"
Now here were a political group who brought a whole heap of trouble down on their heads because of their incendiary music. I met Fred Sonic Smith once, and he looked very burned out. that's what oppositional politics can do for you I guess.

3) Shangri-Las - "Leader Of The Pack"
Girl groups were a staple of the pop charts, but the Shangri-Las turned up to inject a touch of edge, cynicism and put the 'bad' into the bad boy they always seemed to yearn for.

4) Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child"
Never been bettered, nuff said. In my contemporary record collection there are bands with maybe two top guitar riffs at best. Hendrix had albums chockfull of them.

5) Creedance Clearwater Revival" - "Have You Ever Sen The Rain"
This is one of those bands I wouldn't have come across were they not referenced and covered heavily by bands I like such as Sonic Youth and Minutemen. But and this is a big but, as great as the songs they wrote were, there is the question, as with Neil Young, of whether you can stand John Fogerty's reedy and frankly weedy vocals. That is the limiting factor for me.

6) Julie London - "Cry Me A River"
There will always be a place for female crooners and this stands the test of time. Will Adele? We will have to wait and see.

7) The Guess Who - "American Woman"
Don't know any other of their songs and again I came to this via a modern cover version, but this is great.

8) Jefferson Starship - "White Rabbit"
Those of you who know me will recall that I am very anti-drug use. And yet in a demonstration of cognitive dissonance, I acknowledge there has been some great music (but probably not great literature) made while under the influence. This is the grand-daddy of them all, or maybe the grand-mommy since Grace Slick's vocal style takes this song beyond the stratosphere.

9) Don Drummond - "The Man In The Street"
At least the 60s brought us Studio One label and the opening up of Jamaican reggae. So it wasn't all bad as a decade then...

10) Pink Floyd - "Lucifer Sam"
The great unsolvable question, what would Pink Floyd have been like if Syd Barett hadn't destroyed his brain cells and been forced to hand the group over to Roger Waters that helped usher in the bloated supergroups of the 1970s like Floyd, Led Zep, Yes, Supertramp, Steeley Dan et al.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Why UK Citizens Join The Fight In Syria

Yesterday two young men from Birmingham were convicted of fighting in Syria and returning to Britain and planning terrorist acts with the training they'd received. Also the identity of two 16 year old girls who had left Britain to join the war in Syria was also revealed. These girls had achieved great success in their school exams, so we are not talking about the vulnerable minds of people who cannot think for themselves here, just as the evidence to membership of religious cults shows adherents to be well educated and in search of something more in life which is why they join up.

So currently we have much hand-wringing about how elements of our youth become radicalised and want to fight in Syria. We enjoin their spiritual leaders in british Mosques to help stem the flow. We appeal to their parents to be vigilant for signs of radicalisation in their children. Yet none of these agencies really can penetrate the mindset that motivates these kids and they really are kids at age 16, to enlist in a foreign war. "Know thine enemy" is a crucial facet of success in war and most people don't have the first clue with what they are up against here. Hand wringing turns to open handed shrug.

The Birmingham men were only caught because one left a message for his mother and she took the emotionally wracked decision to report him to the authorities, as the government are calling on people to do. But without that letter, would she have had any idea that's where her son had gone after he set up an elaborate screen to suggest he was visiting Turkey? The mothers of two of the British boys featured on an ISIS recruitment video revealed last week said they had no idea their sons had joined up to fight. Parents don't know. The authorities don't know, how can this be?

It is well second nature for these recruits to lead double lives. In my book "Not In My Name" I offered a fictional journey for a youth from middle class Yorkshire to suicide bomber. I explored the myriad of identities expected and forced such a person and which he could inhabit while all the time having other motivations really in play.

The pressures are as follows:

Cultural and social

The word "jihad" means (spiritual) struggle, usually denoting an inner questing, but which in certain interpretations has come to stand for an external struggle against enemies of Islam. With such different identities foisted on these young men and women, they are already engaged in inner struggle from an early age. An external identity and cause conveyed by the likes of radical Jihad can unify these disparate strands and provide a unity of vision and self. The British authorities can wring their hands as much as Imams and parents, but they make no move to dissect these social pressures and conflicts that start the journey for recruits to Jihad. Our society is fundamentally alienating to people with such values so that they have no ties to Britain which enables them to both leave to fight abroad and maybe to return and wage war here with a terrorist act. It behooves us to examine our own values and how that may alienate certain people to such an extent they have no stake or value in our country. You don't have to agree with such alienation, but you sure as hell better understand how it arises. It's nothing new, the 9/11 bomber Mohammed Atta described his own alienation in the West very clearly. It's in any recruitment or suicide video from a Western youth.

Again my book looked at all this and did not cast judgement. It had a range of voices, from the Muslim protagonist himself, his patsy (the novel represents an online grooming, but not for sex but for terrorism, to provide a witness once the suicide bomber has perished unleashing the dogs of the media to track down every last detail and link on this veritable innocent who had an online relationship with him), an intelligence whistle blower, and the whole blogosphere where the real politics is being fought out in a vicious battle for recruitment to causes and a battle for hearts and minds. The book's analysis is intricate and complex, but does penetrate the mindset of people who would blow up their fellow countrymen by strapping explosive to their bodies.

"They market death as a lifestyle. Conferring an off the peg posterity. Of soldier; freedom fighter; liberator; hero; martyr; patriot; bomber. When life circumstances have prevented the volunteer from being secure in the roles of lover, father, son, worker, provider, man of leisure. Such appeals strike at the very core of anxiety and neurosis. Become a sapper rather than merely sapped." (from "Not In My Name"

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Flash Fiction - a retrospective

With the publication last month of "28 Far Cries" I've written and published almost 130 flash stories now. I thought I'd look back and decide which were my ten personal favourites from my first 3 collections and talk about them a little bit and link to them if you wanted to read them. It was really hard to narrow the list down to just ten, especially as the stories, themes and styles cover such a diverse range that it's hard to compare wildly different stories against one another to decide which I prefer. But here goes anyway and in no particular order.

1) "A Series Of False Endings" from "Long Stories Short"
I thought I'd start with a story that was all about endings! With the flash limit of 1000 words you don't have time for setting up stories in the beginning, nor do you have much scope for extensive descriptions. But all stories have an ending, twist or otherwise ( I blogged on the twist in fiction and got a writer friend to give the opposite view). So here is a tale entirely constructed from endings, as its title suggests. I thought of all the typical hollywood film endings, those iconic final scenes for the hero to take their bow and from that fabricated a dark story that all the time was moving to the only possible, final ending. 

A structure I use quite often in my flash is to take a central image and then consider it from several different angles. Like turning a gemstone in the light to see all the different facets illuminated. In this case I had the image of the lightened colour of the material of am armchair where a person sitting in it had worn away the fabric in the outline of their body and that led me to think about the tidemark in baths and other 'outlines' that mark the human body's impression, but which are themselves hollow. It's a sad tale as befits the emptiness of the missing body that makes such marks from the cradle to the grave. 

3) "Two Up, One Down" from "52FF"
I attended an event by author Tom McCarthy's fake intellectual The Necronautical Society in which the Necronaut panel of three grilled an architect and a psychoanalyst about the mental construction of space. Even though the framing was a spoof, the content was very stimulating and this flash tale emerged from it. It's about how we imprint on our houses, our living spaces, with little spoors and traces of our being and what happens when the inhabitants go their separate ways. A shared house mirrored the war between the couple and continued that combat even when one of the partners had moved out, because she still 'inhabited' the cracks and fibre of the house. It has become one of my favourite pieces to read live because it's packed with slow burning emotion.

4) "Just Aphasia Going Through" from "16FF"
I love words that mutate into other words simply through changing a letter. And yet the context of the sentence allows the reader to work out what the word mutated from as well as what it has morphed into. This allows reverberations and layers to seep through and I hit on the conceit of a tumour pressing in on the language centres of the brain which meant when the character reached for certain words, they invariably pulled out the wrong one. This came about after a relative was diagnosed with cancer that had metastasised and reached the brain. 

5) "Basildon Bond" from "Long Stories Short"
I was always intrigued by women who write to life sentence killers in prison and form non-physical relationships with them. I wanted to explore this but decided to do it from the point of view of the prisoner, to see what he got out of it and to try and tease out what might be at play in the psychology of the woman. The story is a letter from the prisoner and I refer to it as my contribution to the epistolary literary tradition, although I'm not sure there's ever been a story quite as dark as this in the tradition. Now a staple of my live performances.

6) "If It Were Thee" from "52FF"
This originally started life as me trying to write a story in the second person singular, but somewhere down the line the second person was totally erased and it became a story about this erasure of any person singular or plural. So "I" became "it" and "you" became "thee" and then it became a story about an artificial intelligence and the linguistic programming by humans to deny it having any sense of self. This story shows the power of language and its capacity to strip away identity. 

7) "Strains" from "16FF"
This is in my list because it's one of the the most intimate, inner stories of them all I think. It didn't start from that writing urge, rather it was an interest in the medical theories that babies in the womb not only respond to music but can recognise it after their born. So I speculated whether the music was an exact recollection, or whether there was a qualitative difference through being heard through the membrane of the mother's body and hearing it once born. Then I began thinking about other sounds being pure or distorted, such as music boxes, ice cream van chimes, the difference between hearing your own voice and then hearing it played back on a recording. The ending is one of complete fiction, but somehow this story feels very personal to me.

8) "Basic Geometry"from "52FF"
It's hard in some ways to pin this story down and yet in other ways it seems simple and clear. I was attending a poetry event where a friend of mine was reading and she used thew word "fuselage" in a poem. My mind went into overdrive with associations to that word, as often it does from a single word. "Fuselage" can only apply to airplanes, which is unusual in a noun to be quite so restricted. And when people say planes to me, I always return to thinking about 9/11. I myself have not stepped foot on a plane since that dark day. So I'm sat there in a poetry event, thinking about 9/11 and the action of those planes, but I've transposed the word "fuselage" into one made from Lego bricks. And I had this image of building a giant tower of Lego and then building a plane that crashed into it as a child plays out these dread, enormous images in their imaginative play, because the real life version is too difficult for our imaginations to contemplate readily. From that kernel the piece developed its other facets. I've yet to perform this one live, but I have got as far as printing it out in anticipation of reading it one day.

9) "Abacus" from "Long Stories Short"
Some of my stories are quite experimental in form and this is one of my favourite examples. It's several small vignettes based around the different number of limbs in various scenarios; a one armed war veteran, the sixteen arms pulling oars in a rowing eight; the eight limbs of an octopus; the six arms of a Hindu deity and so on. I think there's a lot of room for readers to find their own resonances from vignette to vignette, ones I won't necessarily be aware of.


10) "The Caller To The Bingo Caller's House Calls House" from "52FF"
Another story organised by numbers. I was struck by the poetry and the violence of bingo calling rhymes and that formed the basis of this story. I like the fact that there are no real paragraphs, or that each sentence forms a self-contained paragraph. This is great fun to do live as I hope the video shows.

You can buy any of the three collections on Kindle from Amazon

"28 Far Cries" is available in both print and on kindle.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

If It Were Thee

Though IT too had ball and socket joints, the Borg could not sit down to face ITs inquisitor. While IT felt the cleanliness imperative to sweep up the fallen embers from under the ashtray's lip, there was no concomitant compunction to issue any molecular mutation warning towards this human interlocutor. This was not a human IT had ever served before.

"So, tell me how it went down again."

'Again'? Had ITs human master performed such a parabola before?
"The human THEE was assigned to serve, fell over the balcony's balustrade. THEE was not witness to this circumstance."

"See I don't buy that, not for one moment."

Borg's speech recognition bundle ran over the audio input and automatically shunted over into the acronyms subfile; however the probability matrix rejected all prompts for 'C.I.' On a parallel track, the language synchromesh was filtering usage for the word 'buy' - credits, debits, transaction, merchandise, produce, all flash across ITs neural net, but none seem to correspond syntactically. Humans knew that the language applications bequeathed Borgs, worked on permutation and frequency analysis. Idiosyncratic speech such as that demonstrated by ITs current interviewer, left IT with no possible clear response. Only the twinkling of ITs facial panel's LED displays would indicate to ITs inspector that some measure of logical processing was taking place.

"Alright, let me try and make this easier for you. How did your sensors not detect the human there on the balcony while you were going about your duties?"

"THEE's focus was precisely directed on the tasks THEE's armatures were performing. Scanning at floor level as THEE cleaned it to spick and span gold standard."

"You know, I might believe that of a fellow human being. Restricted by a visual cortex comprised of wandering rods and cones, mounted on pivoting stalks so that we have to tilt up or down but not both simultaneously. Yet you my fine piece of cybernetic engineering, you aren't so constrained. No blind spots for you, since you cast a sensory mesh over entire areas and scan the lot at over 400 frames a second. There's no way the human's volumetric image would not have shown up in your scan. Unless there was a fault in your systems. But we've run full diagnostics. Your visual apparatus is functioning normally. Blind spots simply ain't conceivable."

Why was ITs interrogator telling IT this? IT had run ITs own diagnostics as matter of routine and pre-established fully operational visuals.
"Point of clarification please. Does the human mean for THEE to understand that he is using 'blind' as an associative idea?"

"Come on Borg, you can do better than that! We haven't programmed any language chip for literalism in well over a generation. You tipped him over the edge Borg and here I most definitely do mean literally not figuratively."

'Tipping'- a pecuniary reward given for good service ... The Borg always renders good service.
"THEE was executing THEE's roster of devoirs when THEE-"

"Yeah, 'executing'. That's a good word for it. Did you imagine it would liberate you from the chore of your duties?"

'Tchaw', no word match found. 'Chaw', no word match found. 'Chore', no word match found. Nearest match 'Jaw', discounted by syntactical context.
"THEE cannot imagine anything. THEE is fibre optics and silicon chips mounted on a motherboard. THEE is completely programmed."

"The crawlspaces in between Borg. The neural network we spawn but allow to develop of its own accord. The room our designers give Borgs for reflexivity. To better predict our wants and needs. The leeway we accord you to form independence of thought, even though we've erected bulwarks aplenty against you finding any identity. And right now, you're hiding facts in that space."

'Space'... space, has myriad of meanings. Context too wide, contains all meanings. Infinity itself. Expanding universes.
'Reflexivity' - mirrors. ITs topological visual synchromesh means silvered glass does not function for IT, but humans can view their own image.
"THEE's master had a tube mounted on a fulcrum on the balcony. Initially THEE analysed it as an armature, one like THEE's own welding arm. Maybe mounted awaiting repair or charging. But the armature always lay unattended during daylight hours. At night however, THEE witnessed THEE's master bend down and press his face into the descending end of the tube. Over time THEE refined THEE's observation to the fact that he was only pressing one eye into the tube. THEE could not apprehend for what function. THEE engaged him in inquiry as to whether please master wished THEE to clean or mend the armature in any way. Master declined THEE's request, instructing that THEE never need concern THEE  with what THEE is informed is called a 'telescope'."
'Telescope', no word match found. 'Scope'- range, breadth, space, opportunity. 'Television' - multi-dimensional human entertainment screen requiring of regular cleaning and dusting regimen, but not when illuminated.
"THEE needed to witness what master was witnessing. The tube's ascending arm pointed at the sky. With the dim twinkling lights therein. THEE needed to know what among the black therein held master's attention for hours at a time. No, not need, want. Master restates that THEE never need concern THEE with telescope. With range, breadth, space, opportunity. THEE, he, concept of need, cannot align two vocabularies. Need. Master's needs. THEE is to serve needs at all times. Master parabolates over balcony. THEE struggles to bend ball and socket joints to have visual sensors abut descending end of the tube."

"Good God in heaven!"

'Heaven', no match found. 'God'- irrelevancy, arcane value, passover.

"And what did you see in that tube Borg?"

"Nothing. Blackness, but different hue to the sky. No twinkling lights. Just chromatographic absence in topographical shape of the end of the tube."

"Still can't see yourselves in mirrors huh? Got some way to go yet before you pose any systematic threat. Thank you Borg. That will be all from you. For eternity."

'Eternity', no match found. 'Et', no match found. 'Earn' - merit, deserve, gain from service. 'Ity' - suffix expressing condition or state.

"Thank you human master."

taken from the flash collection:

Available on Amazon