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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: Discerning the Lines
By Clyde Blakely



“What’s the matter Honey?”

“It’s this stupid computer again: acting up and not doing what I want it to do. I ought to throw it in the trash!”

“Have patience; let me see what I can do.”

“No, I’m going to get this thing to work or else.”

“Okay, I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.”

Growling and thumping coming from the den prompts: “Honey, let me try before you break it. We can’t afford to replace another computer. What are you trying to do?”

“I’m just trying to write a letter to a former colleague telling him of a position opening up here. I’ve got it in the form I want but the computer is doing all this strange stuff with it. I wish we hadn’t sold the typewriter at the garage sale.”

“Well, let me try. What do you want to say in it?”

“I’ve handwritten it and I’d mail it but I don’t think he could read my writing.”

“Okay, that shouldn’t be a problem. Where’s your letter in the computer?”

“I deleted it…several times.”

“Well, give me a couple of minutes.”

“Sounds good, I need to go to the bathroom anyway.”

Moments later, “Wow, how did you do that? It looks good. The computer is working now, let me do it myself.”

“I didn’t do anything to the computer; it seems to be working fine.”

“Switch places with me then.”

“I’ll be in the kitchen again if you need me.”

More growling and thumbing brings the wife back as her husband is dialing the phone, “Who are you calling?”

“The computer help line, I’m going to find out why this thing doesn’t like me.”

“Put it on speaker, this should be interesting.”

“Computer Specialists help desk, how may I help you?”

“Yes, is this the computer geniuses? Perhaps you can tell me why this stupid computer hates me.”

“Tell me what is going on and maybe we can help.”

“I’m trying to write a letter. The computer let’s my wife do it but when I try it has red and green lines under a lot of my words.”

Muffled laughter in the background, “Sounds like you have another P.I.C.N.I.C. there.”

“Honey, hang up. Hang up now!”


“Just hang up.”


“What did they mean about there being a picnic?”

“Well, Dear, there’s nothing wrong with the computer.”

“Oh oh, I know that smile. What did I do? What’s a picnic mean?”

“Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.”


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This article has been read 321 times
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Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/12/12
Okay how did you bug my house? This sounds almost exactly like things I say to my husband, except I'm throwing it through the window not in the trash! Oh I could so relate to the MC!

You have a great beginning and a funny ending. I think the judging criterion you need to work on the most is smoother transitions. For example, this line -- Growling and thumping coming from the den prompts: might flow a bit better with just a simple rearranging with something like this -- She shakes her head as she hears her husband growl and jumps when a thump vibrates into the kitchen. Though it may not be the best example, it helps the reader identify who is in the kitchen and it also paints a picture of her reactions to the growling and thumping. From there you just go into the dialog because you already set up that she is doing the speaking.

You had me giggling several times. Technically, your acronym fits the topic in a delightful and fresh way. I do wonder if the judges aren't looking for a more precise example of the topic this quarter because the ECs are going into an anthology instead of into the magazine. But either way, I think it was quite clever and I enjoyed reading this story. I might even show it to my husband to prove I'm not the only one who declares that computers hate me. I also had to giggle about not wanting to let a machine win. I really do think you've been just outside my window listening to me. The dialog was natural and felt real. This is a delightful read.
C D Swanson 07/13/12
Hahahahahaha! Delightfully different...and a joy to read. Nicely done. Thank you.

God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 07/15/12
Very clever and (sadly) very credible. A couple of minor typos may have reflected the male difficulties that inspired you, but I loved the fun you tossed in at the end, even if it was a little acronym-onious ;-)
Leola Ogle 07/16/12
Such an enjoyable read. As I was reading, I kept wondering where the topic Picnic was going to come in and you quite surprised me. Good job!God bless!
Genia Gilbert07/16/12
This was very funny, sounds like my house. I was totally surprised at the way you did the topic. Good job.
Hiram Claudio07/18/12
Having worked on many a help desk throughout my IT career, I really found this piece enjoyable and funny. This read very well and flowed nicely. I do think "most" help desk professionals would refrain from using such a "poke fun at the caller" attitude when actually speaking with one but the conversation was credible and it added nicely to the picture you crafted about the husband's anxiety.

Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/23/12
Congratulations for ranking 8th in level three!