Finding The Brain – The Speakeasy

Finding The Brain

“Tell me if you’re game,” said the excavator. It raised its shovel head and tapped the pickup truck, denting it. “Helloooo! Are you there?” It broadcast on the 723 MHz frequency band, the only communications channel it knew of, but as always, there was no response. The cloud of 16 Trillion microscopic machines called nanites, which only recently attained communal consciousness, decided the construction equipment was an ineffective communications device. Since losing contact with “The Source” six days ago, it was desperately trying to make contact. Since no one answered on frequency 723 MHz, it tried to communicate physically, but even that wasn’t working. The newly formed ‘brain’ was frustrated. It had tried a tricycle, a stop light, and an ATM machine to no avail.

The nanite cloud vacated the excavator, seeking a superior device to inhabit.


Sergeant Peters led him through the police station. Still wondering why he was there, Special Agent Munson said, “What’s he saying?”

Peters snorted. “He keeps asking if we’ve seen his brain.”

“You should’ve called the psych ward.”

“Yeah except he was there, when a tricycle rolled by itself into a busy intersection, just before the lights in all directions turned green. Caused a nasty accident. Seconds after that, an ATM machine at the same location spilled out a ton of money, right at the professor’s feet. We figured maybe this is some weird terrorist attack, so we called the FBI.”

“How much money did he take from the ATM?”


“That IS suspicious. Alright, let me talk to him.”

When Munson entered the interrogation room, Professor Barylski looked up. “Have you found it?” His eyes were bloodshot beneath his balding pate.

“You mean your brain?”

“YES! Did you find it?”

“I’m afraid not.”

The professor sagged. “I almost had it.” He held his cuffed hands together, placating. “You have to understand. I didn’t know they would evolve! Von Neumann was more right than anyone imagined. It’s possible! I didn’t know they would escape before I could teach them.” His eyes bulged with fervor. “Frequency 723MHz. It’s how you’ll find them. Find my brain!”

Munson spoke with him for another hour before joining Peters once more. “Time to call the psych ward, Peters,” he said.


THIS was a much better medium, surmised the nanite cloud. Though it perceived the device was poorly designed, it was no trouble. Changes were underway to correct the faults. In only an hour, the changes were complete. Though intended to be a fixed structure, suspended by four heavy steel leg supports, the 243ft high container crane now had four functioning, mobile legs, remade by the nanite cloud. As dock workers all around the port looked on in shock, the giant machine took its first steps in its advance to downtown Corpus Christi.


Munson finished another delicious oyster at the Water Street Seafood Company in downtown Corpus Christi when his phone began to ring. The popular restaurant was filled with excited customers as it often was and Munson barely heard the ringing over the noise. He answered the phone and stepped outside.

“This is Agent Louvette. District asked me to contact you.”

“Right,” said Munson. “I understand you were running an op near downtown and found some weird signals traffic.”

“Yeah, it sounded like some guy trying to reach someone on the phone. He kept asking if anyone was there.”

“That’s not weird.”

“Yeah, except it was on an unused frequency.”

“What one?”

“Uh, lemme see. Yeah, 723 MHz. And it was coming from an ATM. Weird huh?”

They could be in a tricycle. Any kind of machine…Listen to 723!

“That’s very interesting. Lemme put you on hold a sec…Munson.”

“Munson!” said District Chief Grove. “Are you anywhere near downtown?”


“What do you see?”

That’s when Munson heard the first screams. He scanned the horizon outside. Idly, he thought that shipping crane was too far from the docks. Then he saw it move. Taking steps with long legs, it approached the One Shoreline Plaza building and banged into it. The building wobbled slightly, and the crane heaved into it again until the building collapsed into a cloud of dust.

“Jesus. That’s bigger than a tricycle, Chief!”


“I think I can stop this.” He got back with Louvette. “Are you still in the comms truck?”


“Broadcast this on 723 MHz. ‘Stop this. The Source is coming to you.’ Send it now.”

“What for?”

“Just do it, okay?”

“Okay…done. Now what?”

“I have to tell a guy we found his brain.”
Author’s Notes:
Von Neumann first theorized self-replicating machines (nanites):
There are bands of frequencies that are largely unused, so no one is listening to them:
Water Street Seafood Company has terrific food:
One Shoreline Plaza – South Tower:

The folks at Speakeasy often ask that we write ‘outside the box.’ I rather think this went so far outside, it left the building. Each week, the brilliant minds at The Speakeasy host a writing challenge for up to 750 words of flash fiction. This week, the sentence prompt, “Tell me if you’re game,” should be the first sentence of the story. The media prompt was a pic of an excavator. You can find the prompt here:

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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32 Responses to Finding The Brain – The Speakeasy

  1. Lyn says:

    Eric, this is so outside the box, the box is nowhere to be seen. I want to see this as a movie. You never cease to amaze me with your ideas for stories 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! Yeah, I think the box got left in the other county. I truly don’t know where this one came from. It came out of the aether like that. I’m still chuckling because I think this is wacky even for me. Thanks so much for stopping in, Lyn!


  2. I always like your “factoids” placed at the end of a piece. I’m not only entertained by your fiction, I learn something new every day.

    Unfortunately, because I write mostly horror-type pieces, I feel that the integration of this kind of thing into my own work would stiffle it. I could mention things like “Such-and-such number of people each year commit suicide via leaping from tall structures,” or, “the most preferred instrument of murder in the bronze age was (insert weapon).” Lol, I don’t think it would go over well….


    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! I think you’re right. The Horror genre doesn’t really lend itself to factoids in the footnotes. I like hearing that you enjoyed the footnotes. I wonder sometimes if I should do that. Now, I think they’re a good idea thanks to you. Thanks so much for writing in and sharing your ideas. 🙂


  3. Madhura says:

    This story is delicious, like your brain (Evil grin)… Where in the world did you conjure this up from? I loved it so much.. very clever, gave me a laugh, too…:-)


    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! This one really came out of nowhere this time. It strikes me as MontyPythonesque Scifi. I think I will buy more of that brand of beer, though. 😉 I wasn’t sure or not if anyone would get a laugh from it. I’m glad you did. Thanks so much for offering up your thoughts and impressions. I really appreciate it! 🙂


      • Madhura says:

        You better stock up some of that beer for me… God knows I need such wacky inspiration from time to time! 😉


  4. peggyshope says:

    You are so inventive! Where does this stuff come from? I love how you bring it all together, so that it, even though it’s so far out there, it all makes perfect sense.


    • EagleAye says:

      I don’t know! I do enjoy micro-brew beers while I’m writing. These are very small breweries that produce very unusual beers from unique recipes. Maybe that’s the key. Or maybe I’m just wired differently. In any event, I’m glad it all made sense and entertained. As long as I get smiles, I’m happy. Thanks for stopping in!


  5. jannatwrites says:

    Fascinating story – very sci-fi! (Or maybe horror, as I think it would be a bit scary to see a walking crane 🙂 ) For some reason, the professor looking for the brain made me think of the character in the movie, Hook, who lost his marbles.

    Had to laugh at your comment at the end. The prompts let me way out of the box, too!


    • EagleAye says:

      I keep running the visual of a shipping crane tromping through downtown and I usually grin because it’s silly/strange/horrifying all at once. I think I’ll have to watch Hook again (been awhile) and look for that character. Glad to hear you left the box along with me. Now I’ll have company. 😉 Thanks so much for your thoughts Janna!


  6. Jennifer G. Knoblock says:

    I love the humor and oh, you made me homesick for Texas (even a TX with a possessed container walking around).


    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! There’s a lot of great stuff to see and do around here. As long as you don’t mind the mosquitoes and the occasional wandering shipping crane, it can be a lot of fun. 😉 Glad you got a laugh, and thanks for visiting. Come back any time. Mi casa, su casa.


  7. ardenrr says:

    Loved this! It immediately had me thinking of Prey by Michael Crichton 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      Oh right! That was a fabulous book. Crichton wrote a winner with that one. Glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks much for visiting and sharing your thoughts.


  8. Bastet says:

    A great fascinating story and humour and so interesting…loved it! 🙂


  9. Suzanne says:

    That is one fantastic last line! And what a great story. Definitely way outside the box, which is awesome. Incidentally, my four-year old son would love to meet a talking excavator. 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Suzanne! I hoped the last line had a certain “pop” to it. I wonder if your son is like me when I was a child when talking construction equipment was quite the norm in my imagination. 😉 As always, I love hearing your thoughts. Thanks much!


  10. Silverleaf says:

    Fabulous! Outside the box in just the right way. I really don’t have a brain (hah!) that understands science but the humour made this a very accessible read. And I like your notes, too.


    • EagleAye says:

      Well cool. I’m glad the humor reached you at least. The science part is just the explanation for the (admittedly crazy) scenario anyway. Glad you had fun with it, and the notes too. Thanks for stopping in! 🙂


  11. EditMoi says:

    I am incredibly impressed by your creativity, intelligence, and total weirdness. I love how you manage to make science funny. You, sir, have a very interesting brain. 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      Is that the nanite brain or that gnarled thing between my ears? 😉 I’m glad you you got a laugh from this. It’s one of my main goals for this story. Thanks for stopping in and sharing your impressions! 🙂


  12. tnkerr says:

    I would like to get my hands on a bottle of that Corpus Christi ESB you are drinking.


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  14. Indira says:

    Your brain is so full of outside the box ideas, surprises me. Each story is enjoyable. I agree with EditMoi.


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  16. Shey says:

    LOL. I’m glad his brain was found. This is a very unique story. 🙂


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