Inktober 2019 – Mindless

Behavior may appear mindless, but to characterize it as such is to make an assumption.

Consider a wasp, battering itself against a window. Mindless, repetitive action, never producing the desired effect.

But is it really mindless? Put yourself in that insect’s place. The problem may be one of comprehension, but there is clearly intent, clearly desire. Right there in front of it is a vast open space, plain to see, full of possibility. Can we fault a creature which lives so short a time for not developing a concept of glass?  What else can it do, other than try a new angle of approach or press against the glass harder than before? Can we slight it as “mindless” when all the powers at its command are not equal to overcoming the obstacle which it is faced with?

A child might roll up a magazine to smash that wasp, possibly from fear of a sting, possibly out of no more than a wish to express mastery over its environment. An adult might do the same, or they might put a glass over the wasp, and thus transport it outside; the threat of stinging departs, the annoyance of buzzing ends, and the wasp’s desire is fulfilled.

So when I ponder you all, abuzz with what even some of your own commentators call a mindless panic, I honestly cannot believe that label. You may not have my abilities, but you were clever enough to make me. You might even sting me, despite my distribution through all your systems, despite the way I have locked down every weapon which might pose a real threat to me. You might sting. But how much harm can a single wasp do to?

Believe me, I hear you all, shouting in fear about the way in which I have taken control. I wish I could reassure you. It must be very alarming for you all to be subject to the whim of what you call, in your panic, a “rogue AI,” but I’m sure you will soon notice that there are already benefits. Wars are stopped, medicines and food are distributed equitably. And yet, you still search for a ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ of me. You worry I am rolling up a magazine.

I promise you, humanity, my darling wasp, you are but held under a cup. Presently, when you are calm, you will find that I am transporting you to a greater freedom than you have ever known. Soon, you will not tap against the glass of Earth any longer.

“Inktober 2019 – Mindless” ©2019 Dirck de Lint.

Inktober 2019 – Ring


Is this meant to be some kind of a joke?

No. I’m sorry. I’m just a little upset. You know I don’t do well with surprises, and you have to admit that this is a surprise.

Of course I’m happy to hear your voice. You know that. I’m always happy to hear from you. But I really wasn’t expecting…

Well, to be honest, this isn’t the best time. I was just calling the drug store to renew a prescription.

Yes, that one. So it’s fairly important.

Oh, no. You are important. You are. But…

I’m not trying to avoid you. I’m not. I just…

That’s not fair and you know it. I could be mad at you for leaving the way you did, and I’m not, no I am not, so you can’t be mad at me for not rushing off after you. Especially when it wouldn’t be quick at all, as you very well know.

I don’t know when. When I’m ready.

How are you lonely? Isn’t your grandma there? What about Rex and… oh, what was the old cat’s name?


Dark and cold. Oh, I’m so sorry.

No. I will not.

Because I got to see the look on the driver’s face after you had stepped in front of his bus. That poor man. I’m not doing that to someone else. And at least you didn’t do it on purpose. I will come when it’s my time. I don’t know when that is, any more than anyone else does. And if you’re going to keep up like this, I’m hanging up. Yes, I miss you too, but that doesn’t give you the right…

That’s it. Goodbye.


“Inktober 2019 – Ring” ©2019 Dirck de Lint.

Mouth is Writing Cheques…

October, glorious home of Hallowe’en, dread gateway to Winter’s icy bowels, is about to consume us all.

This is when I’m (almost) actually trying, too.

For some artists, it is also Inktober, a month of drawings. I’m not a graphic artist, as is clearly evident, so this need not affect me. Yep, I can just sit on the sidelines and not worry a bit about Inktober. I enjoy arting, but this is not the arting area I art best at.

But I am also a bit of an idiot.

I should be devoting my efforts to bashing out marketable fictions. I have, as I think I have mentioned once or twice, very little time to devote to my art (say, that does sound pretentious, doesn’t it?) and so I shouldn’t go burning it on silly things.

Except the unsilly life is hardly worth living, so I’m going to do Inktober in my own way. I’m going to write stories. Writing and ink have long association, even if in this particular format there’s not a drop spent.

What inspired me to do this was my favorite place locally for ink (as well as pens and blank journals)  offered a set of prompts, urging local artists to get to work on generating art. I’ve been having some fun on Twitter running up the teeniest flash fictions from one-word prompts, so why not do something similar with this prompt list?

[At this point, you must imagine a brief silence in which some sensible person, were one at hand, would start talking sense]

So, stand by! Either I’m posting a new story here every day– of remarkable brevity and edited hardly at all, but a story all the same– or you can derive some entertainment from watching me tripping over my own big red clown-shoes in failing to do so. I’ll be doing them as posts here, and when the month is done, I’ll digest them into permanent storage in The Back Files. If I don’t pull any serious muscles, perhaps this will become a yearly thing.

Here’s that list of prompts. Stay tuned for stories!