Friday Fictioneers — Art Installation, AD 2316

Genre: Post-apocalyptic science fiction
Word Count: 100


 Welcome to the tri-centenary celebration of life on Old Earth.

 Item 1: Wooden desk, whitened with paint to disguise the murder of a tree.

 Item 2: Plastic writing implements to poison the oceans and scribble out fish.

 Item 3: Metal paperclips to imprison tree-paper.

 Item 4: Sticky substance to glue tree-paper to tree-paper.

 Item 5: Two soft toys…

 “Mother, what are they?”

 “They’re birds called penguins. They used to inhabit the South Pole of Old Earth before it boiled.”

 “Are those two the only ones we rescued?”

 “No, my child, there were real living penguins…”

 “Without deflector shields, you mean?”


 Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright © Claire Sheldon

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. When stuck for words, she sketches or paints instead. She's into nature conservation, sustainability, gardening, dogs, natural health, and reading. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

47 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers — Art Installation, AD 2316”

  1. I would laugh except it’s too close to reality.

    When are we going to learn?

    Do you know it is practically impossible to shop for necessities and not buy plastic? Of course you know…and how ridiculous is that? We are a disposable society which does not care about the damage being done. Hopefully we’ll turn it around before it is too late.

    Thanks for the truth, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When Mr Potter read this story, he asked (with a quizzical look on his face), “Where’s President Trump?”

      In the UK, our campaign for reducing packaging and giving people incentives to recycle plastic bags is working fairly well, but it still has a long way to go. Just so much is made of plastic? Where do we even start? I’ve heard somewhere that our time period will one day, most likely, be called the Plastic Age, if there are people around to call it that, of course!

      I wondered where you’d disappeared to this week, Bill, but I see that you’ve posted something two days later than usual 🙂 I will check it out tomorrow, as have to do a singing rehearsal in a short while.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Some parts of our county no longer allow plastic bags and I’m now used to taking my own which I love – I was raised to conserve. The thing I miss is using those plastic bags for garbage can liners. Ah, well

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Don’t you have bin liners that look and feel like plastic bags but are biodegradable? Where I live, we have recycling collection, too — bins for everything you can think of, so that any garbage that can’t be recycled usually fills one slimline bag a week. About a decade ago, it used to be 2-3 big sacks of garbage per week and driving miles to get rid of bottles, paper and cans, causing pollution en route. We even have new refuse collection vans now, that don’t belch out loads of diesel fumes! There’s still a long way to go, but it requires re-educating a huge number of materialistic short-sighted people.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. People love to complain about anything and everything … especially at the moment. They’ve got used to a “disposable” society, where products are subject to planned obsolescence., and things that were once luxuries have become necessities. As for carrier bags, I love my jute bags, which never split or cut into my fingers when they’re full of stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love all my reusable bags. We have recycling here, too, which is WONDERFUL. I haven’t checked into biodegradable bags and should. We purchased a garbage can for the house made specifically for plastic sacks so that we could “recycle” them that way. My sisters send me bags from Colorado, they pack them around fragile things they send.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Rochelle,

      Thanks 🙂 I seem to make a habit of writing stories which have that effect upon you, but then life is a real hodgepodge of emotions and sometimes there’s a fine dividing line between humour and sadness … we can be like April showers, interspersed with brilliant sunshine. My daughter’s constitutional homeopathic remedy during childhood was Pulsatilla, because her moods shifted so rapidly between tears and laughter.
      As for murdered trees, I have a particular love of trees and hate seeing them felled unnecessarily. My husband wants to cut down the old apple tree in my garden, but I’m being very resistant to the suggestion. When eventually it goes, I will insist we make a log pile out of its trunk and branches, so the insects can make a home for themselves and the tree continues to serve a purpose.

      All best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this Sarah. My Goad lassie, it’s quietly brilliant actually, the whole way it builds and you cover everything there re the dangers to the planet. Then there’s the wee conversation at the end. Smart girl. 20 out of ten xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shey. Wow! 20 out of ten. Much better than the marks I got at school many moons ago. I could go on forever about the dangers to the planet, and possibly sometimes drive people up the wall on the subject. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yir ok and quite right to have them. I cannae be doing wi these folks who go, it won’t happen in my lifetime as they gaily sling another cartload of plastic bags in the bin. So you go on as much as you want. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Rochelle, I want to cry.
    What a fabulous way to portray us evil humans and our destruction.
    Like Iain said, amazing the human race still exists by then…
    Well done, as per usual, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dale. The sad thing is that those who’ll survive will be those who can afford a place on the spacecraft out of here. It is also quite likely that those who can afford it, are those in power who have caused the destruction of the planet, or at least those who have allowed it to happen when they could have worked together to prevent it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A very sad day, indeed. As for the murdered trees, I’ve never forgotten one of my earliest blog followers telling me that trees screamed when they were felled.
      I remember writing a haiku about one of my two apple trees, about to be chopped down as it was so old, it was in danger of tipping over. You can see the haiku here, the first among a few that an artist illustrated.


  4. This was my kind of story telling. Sadly at present the food retailers are very very poor at recycling. Using so much plastic is just not on. If we turn the earth toxic, there is nothing out there to replace it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get particularly cross when organic food has unnecessary packaging. It gives a mixed message. And my other issue is with mail order companies that sell organic beauty products and supplements, and then mail it in environmentally toxic packaging such as polystyrene and bubble wrap, Grrrrr D:

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kent. I’m sure the future will be stranger, but how much humans can change and mend their ways is quite another matter. I often find myself thinking how lucky it is we haven’t learnt to travel faster than light and colonise other worlds, eventually wrecking them too.


  5. I love this, sad as it is. Wish someone came up with deflector shields already. And about the plastic: where I live, there’ve been efforts and actions to reuse and recycle for a long time, and people make an effort but then comes agriculture and you wonder: why bother. They have these huge plastic tunnels where they grow strawberries. Other fields are covered with plastic sheets to grow them earlier and earlier. And they cover asparagus mounds (don’t now the expression) for earlier harvest. All these sheets get ripped and worn over time, and you find torn pieces all over the place. My dog digs for mice frequently and she’s dug out mouse nests that were lined with plastic. It’s not looking promising at the moment. Bacteria that eat plastic are around, but enhancing that ability and releasing them–new risk.
    Life on earth will survive, but will we?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased to say that we don’t use poly tunnels on our family allotment. The silly thing about forced food is that it doesn’t taste as good and is less healthy for the body. For instance, early strawberries are really sour. I still remember from childhood my mother’s huge cookery book by Mrs Beeton, in which there were foods for definite seasons and that provided suitable nourishment for the time of year, some of which could be cured, pickled, or preserved, if need be. But back to the plastic, that’s horrifying about the mouse nests. The same is happening with plastic beads in the oceans that fish mistake for food.
      According to James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, there’s a good chance that the Earth will eventually treat humans as parasites and destroy us in self-defence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s an interesting hypothesis. In biology, the adversary is usually fought until it has a small enough population size to not cause fatal damage. If we reduced our population size down to that level, we’d be on a good way.
        I hear you on the seasonal fruit and veggies. Not only seasonal but also local. Exotic once in a while is OK, but you can find healthy ‘superfood’ locally wherever humans lived long enough. Kale is something that was considered grandma food when I was a kid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember once reading a really controversial letter that a science student had sent to National Geographic Magazine. I can’t recall all the details, but basically he said that you should allow the world’s starving to starve because the planet could only sustain a certain number of people and it was nature’s way of dealing with the problem.
        I love Kale but the snails are rather voracious where I live, so am not sure how well it would do homegrown. We’re just about to have our second crop of spinach this year, which I guess kids used to tolerate because of wanting muscles like Popeye the sailor man!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Science student, my goodness. There are other ways to achieve that. Aren’t we supposed to be more developed than animals? Reducing the need for large families instead of social insurance, justice, jobs, birth control, education… of course the natural selection will hit us hard if we don’t take better care of the planet.
        My MIL used to grow Kale and it did well. We do have lots of snails, too, but they usually prefer tender lettuce.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Perhaps that student has become less radical as he has got older. I wish I could remember the exact details of what he wrote. It was about 20 years or so ago now.
        Re lettuce, it’s the crows that like our lettuce. They got the first lot we planted this year but then we tried another variety and they left it alone. Perhaps we’ll give Kale a go.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, Andrea it does seem all too possible. I’m reading a book at the moment that points a finger at certain rich and powerful people who’ve contributed towards most of today’s ills. The journalist says that he has written the book fast and in a state of anger. Breaking my rule about not getting too political on my blog, I’ve promised the author that I will review his book when I’ve finished reading it. I would love to interview him, too, but I’m not sure how often ordinary folks like me get to interview journalists from national newspapers! You never know. I can but ask…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember once reading a really controversial letter that a science student had sent to National Geographic Magazine…

    Wow! I believe that letter would have been controversial.
    Theories are one thing, or is he speaking from experience? Has he actually seen people starve to death? If his parents and siblings were starving would he think it’s an okay situation or would he be begging the international community for food?

    Nature is merciless; I see that every day in the woods around me. Really, it would be much more humane to just shoot the starving masses, or gas them. I imagine the magazine probably brought a lot of this kind of feedback after that letter, especially from people who’ve seen starvation up close.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I was saying in another comment, I can’t remember the exact details, as it was a couple of decades ago now that I read it (while sitting in the doctor’s surgery!). So I never saw the next issue, which doubtless had replies to his letter. If I had been replying, I would have asked him if it was justifiable for a lot of people in so-called developed nations to stuff their faces with twice the amount of food they need, while others starved. As for Europe’s food mountains — such criminal wastage… I could go on forever on the subject.

      Nature is merciless. Recently I read the novel “Micro” by Michael Crichton, which really drove home just how savage creatures are, even at a microscopic level.

      Sadly, I believe that if humans were pushed into a corner by some global disaster and had to fight for their survival, the most basic animal instincts would kick in big-time.


      1. Nature is merciless because it has no conscience. Humans do have one. I think if we were “pushed into a corner,” as you say, it would go both ways. You would see some people descend to the level of animals, in it for their own survival no matter who gets hurt, and you’d see some making very noble sacrifices because they believe in something more than mere survival.

        In Nazi Germany some people hid the Jews in spite of the danger to their own lives. There were instances even in concentration camps where someone sacrificed for another or did a special act of kindness just to rise above the evil. Like the farm girl who risked her own life to bring a Jewish boy an apple every day.

        I have a book, Three Came Home, written by Agnes Keith, a woman incarcerated with her son in a women’s POW camp by the Japanese army when they invaded Borneo. Her husband was in one for men and soldiers. There was incredible brutality, but also touches of the noblest in human kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are right. There are many examples of wonderfully altruistic acts, self-sacrifice, and the taking of huge risks to help others in extreme circumstances. It’s a shame the Media has a tendency to report more negatives than positives, so in the end they encourage a cynical world view, or worse still, one full of paranoia, mistrust, fear, or hatred. We need to hear some good and uplifting stories. Surely that is part of balanced reporting!


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