An Untidy Remark – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Alastair Forbes

An Untidy Remark

Broughton Bay carefully maneuvered the flyer towards the Tower Bridge. A thin wire extended from the cockpit panel and led to a jack behind Broughton’s ear, carefully managing the guidance signals from his mind. The six insectoid landing gear of the flyer reached out at his behest and gently grasped the railing of the upper walkway.

Another successful landing, and perfect timing for it. It seemed all of London’s press waited with cameras rolling and flashes pulsing. Though the eight-meter wings of the flyer still fluttered, the cheering, shouting onlookers crowded in far too close. .

Broughton exited the cockpit and paused to look over his craft. The helium sack that lined the spine of the flyer, showed no sign of leaking. The sack alone wasn’t enough to keep it aloft. The wings completed the lifting work. Without both working, the flyer could not fly. He crawled down the ladder affixed to one leg and finally set foot on the tower bridge. The head of the flyer, mounted upon a jointed neck swiveled smoothly to nuzzle his shoulder. Broughton caressed the oh-so-critical sensory pad to soothe the nervous cyborg. Carefully, he stayed behind the complex jaws of the head.

He stood upon the provided podium, waved and smiled. Questions were hurled at him like machine gun fire. One question stood out.

“Melanie Hearns, Scientific American,” said an attractive reporter. “Why six legs when four will do? Why place a head on it? It’s a machine after all.”

“Well, as I’ve said before,” said Broughton. “The controls are highly complex. I needed the assistance of a living animal’s brain.”

“What animal?”

“A dragonfly.” Many press members tittered in amusement. “Without the mechanically unnecessary limbs, the natural brain collapsed into confusion. So I added parts the brain understood. With a familiar set of limbs the brain felt comfortable and operated perfectly.”

Howard Dunnless-Gainesmore, the Member of Parliament who arranged the festivities, briefly hugged Broughton before pushing him aside. He grinned for the cameras.

“I’m so proud of the work Mr. Bay performed for my project! I’ve been involved since the very beginning.”

The last four months of the 5-year project, that is. His contribution was NOT insisting the police arrest Broughton after test flights.

“I knew the flyer would work from the outset!”

He joked with his friends that Broughton would likely kill himself

“I’ve contributed significant funds!”

Once, he purchased a greasy corned-beef sandwich for Broughton.

Dunnless-Gainesmore began walking towards the flyer, encouraging the press to follow. Broughton grabbed his arm. “Careful! Remember, that’s an animal’s mind controlling it.”

“A harmless dragonfly? Unhand me, sir!” scowled Dunnless-Gainesmore, whispering angrily. “I remind you, I am an MP. Our little arrangement with the police can change any moment!” He wrenched his arm away and idly patted the head of the flyer while mugging for the cameras.

The flyer notoriously hated being patted on its eyeballs. Thus, the sensory pad had been installed.

It spread its jaws wide…and bit the MP’s head off.

Before the blood finished fountaining from the ex-MP’s neck and the body hit the ground, the press rushed toward Broughton.

“Mr. Bay! Mr. Bay!” shouted Glenn Fibberall from the Daily Mail. “Why this unwarranted attack upon an MP? Why did it bite his head off?”

Broughton shouldn’t have said it.

He really shouldn’t have.

“His head? Well,” said Broughton. “I don’t think he was using it anyway!”
Author’s Notes:

Dragonflies are beautiful and fascinating and utterly harmless to humans…That’s only because they’re small. In the insect world they’re voracious killing machines. They’re vicious hunters and their “appetite is bottomless.” I love dragonflies, but I still understand what they really are:

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Look here to see what others wrote based upon the photo prompt above:

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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19 Responses to An Untidy Remark – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. Poor guy…didn’t see it coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. List of X says:

    What he should have said was “Oh no, he was on this project from the beginning, and he didn’t even tell me the flyer could do that!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Sci Fi! That it was great that Dunnsless-Gainsmore lost his cranky ol’ head! haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lyn says:

    Just love the names of your characters…especially Dunnsless-Gainsmore and Glenn Fibberall 🙂 LOL Broughton Bay? Ahhh, a Welshman no doubt 😉 A really great story, Eric — as always.
    I also love dragonflies. Very clever creatures they are. Their four wings operate independently of each other, allowing it to maneuver in mid-air like a helicopter—they can hover, fly forwards, backwards, and sideways, and instantly change direction whenever they need to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I decided to go with the Ian Fleming school of character naming. It’s so much fun that way. Glad you enjoyed the story. I had a lot of fun writing it.

      I think dragonflies are just fantastic creatures. One of Nature’s best designs ever. They lived before dinosaurs, and if I recall correctly, even before reptiles and other vertebrates. They are ancient and beautiful.

      Thanks so much, Lyn! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Al says:

    I was terrified of dragonflies for a long time. When I was in the Scouts in 1978, I went on a camping trip and went into a forest. I was chased by dragonflies and couldn’t stop crying because of all the stings I had that made my back look like a mountain range. After years, I found out that there were bees or wasps in there as well, and it was them that attacked me. I went over 20 years with a fear of something beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Bummer! What an awful experience. It’s a good thing that someone eventually cleared that up for you. Dragonflies cannot sting that I know of. I’ve never even been bitten by one. I don’t think they “can” bite a human. I hope you enjoy dragonflies thoroughly now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Francesca Smith says:

    After reading this and the information you provided, it makes one wonder who really is the big cheese on planet Earth. Either way though, nature always triumphs, for one of mans greatest mistakes is trying to control it.
    Also, I do not think many people use their head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      You know I “consciously” wrote this as simply a funny story, but I think I “subconsciously” wrote a fable with a moral. No matter how high we fly or how deep we sail or how fast our computers think, Nature will always be the most powerful force on the planet. The sooner we realize this, the better off we’ll be.

      In the current Climate-Change debate, activists say “Save the Planet!” If we blithely destroy our environment whilst “mugging for the cameras,” and narcissistic glory, caring nothing for the species we destroy, it will be US (Humanity) who suffers. The planet and Nature will just make new animals once we’re dead and gone. Activists ought to be saying, “Save the Humans!” because that’s what it really is about. The planet can be too hot or too cold, and Nature will create creatures that perfectly fit the new environment.

      In the end, it will be up to US to use our heads…before we lose them. 😉

      Thanks so much, Francesca! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. afairymind says:

    Love it! That obnoxious Dunnless-Gainesmore (great name, by the way!) brought it entirely on himself. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      He certainly did. When the guy who invented something tells you it’s dangerous and to stay back, you really ought to. Oh well, one less MP is no great loss. 😉 Thanks so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Indira says:

    Excellent story. Loved the last line. So true.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shey says:

    Yikes! Well, I think he had it coming though.

    Liked by 1 person

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