Creative Writing Cafe: Term Three – Lesson Five Man and Machine


I was unable to make this weeks class but in true geek style I still completed my homework and submitted it (I love a bit of homework me!).

The theme was ‘Man and Machine’ – how we cope with technology/gadgets etc.

I must admit, I really struggled with this at first. We were given a bit more freedom in the style of how we could express this; script writing, poetry or just plain old prose.

Unusually, I opted for prose (I do like to get out of my comfort zone in writing but for some reason I stuck with prose).

Here is my homework attempt:

Man and Machine

Missuswolf Man and Machine Cars In TrafficWispy fog wrapped itself around Clara’s brand new bright pink Mini as she tapped away on her mobile phone. Stuck in traffic yet again en route to a painful job, she decided to broadcast her misery all over Facebook.

Ivan, a fellow disgruntled driver stuck alongside her, glanced across just making out Clara’s silhouette and the oh so familiar gadget in her hand. He rolled his eyes and tutted; the youth of today, hands permanently attached to mobile phones. If he had the energy he would summons up the motivation to contact the police on his hands free to report her, then considered otherwise; he would be just as bad as her using his phone.

The harassed mother in the car behind Clara was drumming her hand impatiently on the dashboard, as her blissfully unaware seven year old played away on his Nintendo DS. Mentally replaying her list of things to do over and over in her head and panicking that she would not have enough time to do this now the traffic had ground to a halt, she swooped her ipad out of her handbag and frantically started touching in notes.

Further down the road, Eric, an elderly male in a rusty robin reliant was at the front of the angry mob of drivers. The traffic light signals to the side and front of him fumed red, a colour that had blazed for more than thirty minutes now. He took off his glasses, peered through the windscreen again. Yep, despite the fog they were still red. He felt a sense of responsibility as the horns continued to honk behind him, despite this being no fault of his own.

Technology eh, he thought as he cast his mind back to the good old days when there were no traffic lights and fewer cars on the road. He then questioned were they really the good old days? Driving and having access to a car  was the one thing that kept him sane these days, allowing him to leave his poky flat and get out and about to enjoy his last few years.

A police car eventually pulled up. A burly Policeman and his slight female colleague got out and started setting up to direct traffic. Eric assumed someone must have rang them from their mobile, failing that it must have been flagged by someone monitoring one of the many cctv cameras that poked out of the buildings, spying on the streets.

A cyclist came zipping past his car, almost knocking his wing mirror off. As soon as the cyclist saw the commotion, he promptly changed his right from road user to pavement user, hopped up on to the path and continued to cycle onwards. Bloody cyclists, Eric fumed, they think they rule the road yet never abide by traffic lights, it’s like at that sudden moment they become a pedestrian. What infuriated him even more was that there were plenty of cycle paths in the town why did they have to use the road? He refused to admit it was fear that his eyesight was not what it used to be and he was in danger of one day colliding with one.

He squinted to the side of him, he could just make out through the fog a business man in a suit who was wasting no time and had set his laptop up, typing furiously away on it. The brazenness of the man astounded Eric with the police parked only yards away.

PC Aaron Shields rubbed his head as he bellowed down the radio at the controller, demanding an ETA for the Traffic Lights Engineer. He didn’t join the job to direct traffic, this wasn’t his role. He joined to catch criminals, murderers, not do a council job. He turned a blind eye at all the offences that were blatantly being committed in front of him by the bored and irritated road users. He was no jobs worth and he was not going to waste his day giving out penalty notices. Once this job was done and dusted, he was going to track down Billy Myers, who was wanted by Special Branch for infiltrating a government system. He knew he would be stepping on toes with the on-going covert investigation, but he had had a tip off that Billy was lying low at a nearby address and PC Shields arrest figures needed boosting.

The Police Officers took up their position and started directing traffic.

Back in the queue, the sound of engines coughing back into life and cars inching forward prompted the offending drivers to quickly discard their technology, particularly as they eased toward the blue flashing lights. Each driver peered curiously to see what the commotion had been about; had there been a horrendous car crash?

As the traffic started flowing, a black cab en route to the airport with an impatient passenger trundled by the Police Officers. The occupant caught a glimpse of the commotion and then quickly turned away, dabbing a bead of sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. He shook his head in frustration; Billy Myers couldn’t believe he was close to missing his getaway flight all because of some dumb traffic lights



I received some good feedback on this: ‘a good panoramic sweep of frustration and misery, based on all things that are supposed to make life better for us. While gadgets should make things like traffic jams easier to bear, they somehow don’t.’

An improvement that was suggested was  along the lines of the Billy Myers character – to have in a nasty, ironic way, to end the story with him being the only character to break the mould a little and be the only one not to get frustrated. For me to show that now things are moving again, he’s still in good time for his flight and getting one over on the oblivious police; the least deserving character being the one that experiences the most happiness. Mwahaha now I do like the sound of that……

It’s half term next week so no homework (am I rather sad admitting that I am gutted about this?!)

Love Missuswolf xxx


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