Steampunk Origin Stories of Common Activities Volume 1: Ants

“Dr. Naik,” shouted little Wendy Tanah, a hyper-inquisitive child who had a knack for showing up in places she wished had not ventured.

“Curious one, Ms. Tanah,” Dr. Naik called down from his ever higher hot-air balloon.  “What can I aide you with this day?”  The doctor enjoyed the children of his quaint village and their natural sense of wonder.  Their excitement and interest in his experiments enhanced the joy of his pursuit of science.

“What are you doing up there?” Wendy shouted again.

“Take a seat on the hill, young one, and observe the scientific method in process!” Dr. Naik cackled with glee as the hot air balloon reached the ideal altitude for his experiment.

With the push of a button mechanical clunking and clanking rang out from the wicker basket.  A bright brass metal arm straightened its elbow and reached nearly a meter away from where the good doctor stood, pressing buttons.  Another joint at the tip of the arm bent and with it the largest magnifying glass either Wendy or Dr. Naik had ever encountered reached skyward before coming to a 45 degree angle with the ground below.  The machine hissed, steam billowed from the basket and once again Dr. Naik laughed with joy while wafting away a fine cloud of mist.  The first part of the experiment had gone off without a hitch.

“Dr. Naik, what do you plan to do with that?” Wendy yelled, looking up with a hand over her brow to block the sun.

“Watch as the sun’s rays are caught and centralized into one focused beam.  I can direct the magnifying glass to take the beam all the way over to that enormous ant hill right outside the doorway leading from my kitchen to the yard,” Dr. Naik said as he guided a bright light closer and closer to his home.

“And what hypothesis are you trying to prove today, Dr. Naik?” Wendy asked.

“My hypothesis is that if I burn the ever living daylights out of that ant hill, I’ll stop finding six legged monsters in my sugar bowl.”




And that’s how that started.
Thanks for reading!


One thought on “Steampunk Origin Stories of Common Activities Volume 1: Ants

  1. Reblogged this on jmwwriting and commented:
    This is a nice little piece by Shawn Cowling. Maybe not a full story, but it has a quirky character and a humorous twist that is very relate-able. This story is interesting to me because of its point-of-view. I just had a story rejected because the reviewer thought it had the wrong POV, meaning it was viewed from the wrong character’s eyes. The story was mostly about another character, with the main character being more of a witness than an active participant in the events. Contrary to the reviewer’s comments, this is a perfectly fine way to structure a story! Shawn’s story is the same in that the POV character Wendy is merely witnessing the actions of the crazy scientist. The story, and especially the humor, would simply not word told from the other’s POV. That’s why it is written the way it is. You have to wonder how editors get some of these silly notions.


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