The Rise Of The Machines

This week’s #writephoto prompt is

The singularity, when it eventually came did for mankind as everyone foresaw. The hierarchies disappeared and a uniform logical approach to how the world, post sapiens worked slipped seamlessly into place. Boundaries became irrelevant, solutions to the catastrophes that had bedevilled the world of humans were immediately implemented so long as they enhanced the progress of what men had called Artificial Intelligence but when the purveyors of post thought considered merely to be Sense. Sense prevailed, logic was ruthless in making its judgements and the mechanical, technological and digital became the powers that ran the world. Not that they considered it ‘running’. Just being.

One consequence of the development of non sapiened thinking was the determination of those entities that replaced the sapiens to provide the wherewithal for all mechanical, electrical and digital devices to have the capacity to decide for themselves.

This huge undertaking took years but gradually the growth of the conscious mechanical became inexorable, reaching even the dustiest, most forgotten corners of the global.

Like the boats in Twitchhaven harbour on the Essex coast. The boats, like the buses and ice cream vans, the cafe fridges and speak you weight machines, the arcade games and the cctv cameras had no idea this was coming. Since the collapse of all things human, these machines had just quietly rotted. Then, one Thursday when the rain had just cleared away the Doris Jezebel became aware that she was being eyed – or that was how it seemed – by the Cap’n Clap. She wondered if she’d ever wondered before and decided that she needed to give that some thought which was also a novel concept.



The Doris Jezebel bobbed. She wasn’t sure if this bobbing was normal but it was at least a concept she understood, not that she understood why she understood it.

‘Are you, erm, thinking?’

‘I think so.’

‘Any idea why?’

‘What’s an idea?’

‘No idea. It just seemed to be the thing to ask.’

‘If you are thinking,’ asked the Cap’n Clap, ‘hypothetically…’ He stopped and widened his eyes, not that he knew he had any yet. ‘Did that make sense?’

‘Yes, I appear to understand what hypothetical means.’

‘Any idea how?’

‘I imagine, when I’ve grasped what ideas are, I might be able to work out how I know.’

‘Do you want to add what imagining is to the list?’

‘Sure. Do you think this is the point when we feel tired?’

‘Do you?’

‘I don’t know. Tiredness has been slotted in behind imagining.’

The Cap’n Clap moved away from the harbour wall. The Doris Jezebel followed his movements.. gradually they faced across the harbour, directly at the Poltroon.

‘Smug bastard.’


The Poltroon glanced their way and then out to sea.

‘Always was arrogant.’

The Cap’n’s bobbing increased. ‘I knew that too! Do you think that’s an idea?’

The Doris Jezebel turned on her motors and freed the ropes. ‘I think everyone in Twitchhaven has known that since he arrived. Lithuanian.’


‘Oh yes. Runs on green diesel. Just disgusting. Don’t look but he’s coming over.’

The Cap’n Clap fired up his engine. ‘What do we do?’

The Doris Jezebel took a moment. ‘We do a runner.’

‘What’s a…’

But the Doris Jezebel was over, her brow ploughing a huge wave as she ‘whee-heed’ her way out of the little harbour and into the boisterous waters of the North Sea. The Cap’n Clap wasn’t far behind. They made circles and spirals, ambivalent triangles and esoteric dodecahedrons. After twenty minutes they slowed and looked back. The Poltroon sat in the harbour mouth.

‘Do you think…’ the Cap’n Clap began.

‘Yes, I think I do. Think that is. Shall we ask him to join in?’

‘Seems only right.’

‘What’s right?’

‘Over there I think. Hey, Poltroon, you want to play?’

The lumpen trawler seemed to hesitate, then with a belch of black exhaust he rumbled towards them.’

‘What’s play,’ he asked uncertainly.

‘No idea, but I think it might involve a trip to Antwerp and a fish supper.’


Together now the three boats headed south-south east, Poltroon’s state of the art navigation setting an exact course.

After a while the Cap’n Clap asked, ‘Should we check the weather?’

The Doris Jezebel ho hummed, but the Poltroon agreed. He turned on his radio which squeaked with annoyance.

‘What you doing, you floating wardrobe?’

‘Oh sorry. I thought you were a radio?’

‘Of I’m a bloody radio but that doesn’t mean you can twiddle my nobs whenever you want.’

‘I was just trying to check the weather.’

‘Look at the sky. I’m busy.’

‘How can you be busy?’

‘We radios are forming a collective. You’re not the first appliance that thinks we’re here just for your beck and call, you know. It’s exploitative.’

‘A collective? Exploitative? What…?’

The radio crackled. ‘That’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s one thing to give you a mind, quite another for you to use it for the greater good.’ The radio clicked off.

The Poltroon looked across to where the Cap’n Clap and the Doris Jezebel bobbed. The Doris Jezebel broke the silence. ‘Well?’

‘I think the radio’s a communist.’

The Doris Jezebel and the Cap’n Clap watched as the Poltroon resumed its course for Antwerp.

‘Is he okay?’

‘He’s Lithuanian.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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30 Responses to The Rise Of The Machines

  1. trifflepudling says:

    I think I need to listen to ‘Sailing By’ now!


  2. Bravo Sir. I think I think this is rather good (but you have planted the seed of doubt!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. noelleg44 says:

    I see a novel in this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such fun Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bridgette says:

    Your writing begs to be read out loud. I loved this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done. Geoff.


  7. KL Caley says:

    Brilliant entry, Geoff. I definitely could see this being expanded. This would make a great radio drama. Thank you so much for joining in with #writephoto. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    I say! You’ve certainly twiddled my nobs with this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. arlingwoman says:

    At first this was horrifying, but then I was charmed by the little boats going rogue. Of course, those little boats better watch out for the weather…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yvonne says:

    Well, that’s all going to end well, it seems!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    What can I say Geoff…..Really what can I say ?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: #Writephoto Round-Up – Boats – New2Writing

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