Thursday, February 15, 2007

Children's bedtime story #1 (complete text)

Before reading any further, please click here and read about the disheartening circumstances surrounding George Johanson, the writer of this children's bedtime story.



One day, there were two robots. They were fighting and attacking each other like crazy. Like two maniacs, really. If you saw what they were doing, you wouldn't even think they were robots. You would think they were maniacs.

That's what made it so strange. Now they were shaking hands with each other in many different kinds of positions. They shook hands with each other while they stood there. They shook hands while their whole bodies shook. They did a flip while they shook hands. One did a twist, and one did a jumping-jack, while they shook hands. They did hundreds of different handshakes. All in just a couple of minutes. So you could imagine how freaky that looked.

There were two strange people controlling the robots. One person was in one country, and another person was all the way in another country. There was one kid in one country, and he was playing a duck-hunting game with a little controller. While in the other country, there was a little kid and he was playing with a remote-controlled tractor in the dirt. And he was using another controller. But little did they know, while they were playing with their toys, they were also controlling the two robots.

That’s why the robots were freaking out. They didn’t even know what was going on. And the robots didn’t talk because the kids weren’t using their controls in such a way to make them talk. But just then, the boy who was playing the duck hunting game hit his button in just the right way, and the robot he was controlling, far away, started to talk.

“Hi, what are you doing? Glad to meet you. Let me shake your hand one more time,” said the robot.

And just then, in the other country, the boy using his controls to control the yellow tractor in the dirt, hit his button on his controls in just the right way, so that the robot he was controlling, far away, started to talk, too.

“I’m fine. Hey, you know what? I’m a robot, and you’re a robot. Maybe we should do something and try to find out who’s controlling us. And maybe we can take the controls and control ourselves!” said the other robot.

“Hey, that’s a good idea! Let’s try to do that. How are we going to follow the frequencies? I guess I’ll go this way, and you go that way, and maybe one of us will find someone who's controlling us,” said the robot.

“Alright, that sounds like a good idea to me. Here, take this walkie-talkie mobile phone, and we could talk with each other once we get traveling and we’re far away from each other,” said the other robot.

“Good idea. Okay, see you later. Good luck in finding someone who’s controlling us," said the robot.

“You too. Good luck!” said the other robot.

And now, instead of attacking each other and also doing maniacal shaking of hands, the two robots were both walking away from each other in two different directions. It seemed like the robots were controlling themselves, but really the kids were controlling them. But the robots were just coming up with reasons on why they were moving in different directions from each other right now.

What do you think happens next? Well, the two robots keep on walking and walking and searching and searching -- looking under rocks, and looking inside old abandoned houses, looking for a person who's controlling them.

“But they should look inside new houses! If they look inside old abandoned houses, people don’t live in them. Only ghosts live in abandoned houses. But if they look inside new houses, people live in them. And I’m one who’s controlling the robots, actually,” said a little boy.

“How do you know all that?” said the robot.

“I just know,” said the little boy.

“Oh my, I’m going to call the other robot on the phone right now!” said the robot.

Rrrrring. Rrrrrring.

“Hello?” said the other robot on the phone.

“Hello, robot?” said the robot.

“Yes?” said the other robot on the phone.

“I found one of the kids who are controlling us! He's just got done playing with his remote-controlled tractor, and he's standing out here in front of his house right now,” said the robot.

“Great. Well, that’s good luck! You found him very quickly. I’m still looking for the other one,” said the other robot on the phone.

“Okay, you continue looking for the other one. I’m going to take care of this one. Or I’m going to get those controls, so that I can control myself!” said the robot.

“Very good! Good luck with that, too! I’ll keep searching. Bye, bye,” said the other robot on the phone.

“Okay. Bye, bye,” said the robot.

“There! Now give me those controls, little boy!” said the robot.

“Okay, here,” said the little boy.

“Thank you! You’re actually a nice boy. Now I’m a little scared,” said the robot.

“Why?” said the little boy.

“Because I don’t know how to control myself,” said the robot.

“How do you want to be controlled? If you tell me, I’ll control you however you want,” said the little boy.

“Oh, that’s nice of you! But I don’t know. I just want to be a good robot. I just want to know how to control myself. But I really don’t know how. And plus, I’m a little afraid I might control myself over the edge of a cliff and fall down and crash, or something like that,” said the robot.

“I know what! I could control you into a real person. Then, you can control yourself without using the controls. I could control you like that, to turn you into a human being,” said the little boy.

“You’ll control me like that? You mean you’ll control me to make me human?” said the robot.

“Yes, and then you don’t need to use the controls. You won’t have to,” said the little boy.

“But then it’s kind of scary,” said the robot.

“Why?” said the little boy.

“Because I won't know exactly what to do with myself. I don't know how to control myself. Isn't it scary?” said the robot.

“No. I'm a human being, and I’m not scared,” said the little boy.

“And you’re not scared? Hmm, maybe I’ll do it then. I’ll try it. Okay, let’s do that,” said the robot.

“Okay. Here, take the controls for a moment. Now press that button, okay? That green button,” said the little boy.

“The green button?” said the robot.

“Yes,” said the little boy.

“Okay,” said the robot.

Click.

“Now look at your body and see how you look like,” said the little boy.

“I look like a human being! Oh my gosh. I even have clothes on. Wow! I even have a little comb in my back pocket. I could comb my hair on the top of my head. Interesting! Well, thank you very much, little boy! I think I’m going to tell this good news to the other robot. What do you think?” said the robot.

“Yes, you should do that,” said the little boy.

“Okay. Here, can you give him a call? I don’t think he’s going to believe me when I tell him all this. Here, I’ll dial the number. Take the phone. Now wait until he answers the phone,” said the robot.

“Hello? Who’s this?” said the other robot on the phone.

“Hello?" said the little boy.

“Hello? Who's this?" said the other robot on the phone.

“It’s me. I was the one controlling him, the robot. I turned him into a human being,” said the little boy.

“Oh, so you’re taking care of him in a good way?” said the other robot on the phone.

“Yes. And I’ll even send you the controls in the mail, and you should press the green button and then you could turn into a human being, as well,” said the little boy.

“Alright! That sounds great! So did you say press the red button?” said the other robot on the phone.

“No, the green one,” said the little boy.

“Oh, the green button. Okay. Thank you very much! I’ll be waiting right next to the mailbox! Bye, bye! Thanks a lot,” said the other robot on the phone.

“Okay, bye!” said the little boy.

“Wow. That was nice of you, little boy. You've just helpled two robots to help themselves! Now, once the other robot has the controls that you're sending in the mail, we could help all of the other robots in the world! Thanks so much,” said the robot.

“You're welcome,” said the little boy.

“Okay! I'm going off into the world to see what I could do. Maybe we'll see each other again. Bye, bye,” said the robot.

“Okay. Bye, bye,” said the little boy.



THE END


___________________________________________

Reader's feedback.

1. Would you read this story to your (present or future) child/niece/nephew?
2. What was the most memorable part or moment of this story for you?
3. What do you think would be a good title for this story?
4. What kind of illustrations or artwork do you imagine would go best with this story?
5. Any additional comments?


___________________________________________

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. Probably, but I wouldn't read it to my son now (who is two). This story would probably be suitable for children ages 4-8.

2. The second paragraph, because it's action-driven, and pulls the reader deeper into the scene described in the first paragraph.

3. Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots (he-he)
Probably something with a catchy, fun title. Can't think of one presently.

4. Comic book illustrations would be fun to see...but there isn't dialogue so far, so maybe straight color illustrations of the robots.

5. This is an engaging children's story, but it feels a little dumbed-down. Instead of saying "that's what makde it so strange", maybe the author could say something like "those strange [and silly] robots!" Or something that works on the mood in a more playful manner. My English teacher in grade school always emphasized show don't tell. It was a very valuable tip.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

1) I doubt I would read it for any child, but it also depends on the rest of the story ... And after some years, who knows.

2) ... Little did they know that they also controlled the robots.

3) "The Rulers Of The Innocence"

4) Don't know

5) ...

Good for Me said...

1. Would you read this story to your (present or future) child/niece/nephew?
No, I wouldn't read it as it's currently written.

2. What was the most memorable moment in this part of the story for you?
The robots being referred to as maniacs.

3. What do you think would be a good title for this story?
The Tale of the Riotous Robots.

4. What kind of illustrations do you imagine would go best with this story?
Maybe vibrant pastels or oil paint. Something very bold.

5. Any additional comments?

The concept of kids playing with toys and that play somehow controlling robots elsewhere is interesting and potentially intriguing to a child reader/listener. However, the vocabulary needs to match the audience age level. For example, words like maniac and freaky may be more appropriate for an 8 or 9 year-old, while the storyline here -- as simplistic as it's being presented -- is more for a 4-6 year old.

It may also help the reader for the author to explain the big picture first (the two boys playing with toys) before getting to the details of the robots.

digitalrich said...

Many thanks for participating in the 3rd edition of Carnival of the Storytellers!

The edition is now posted and can be found at:
http://digitalrich.blogspot.com/2007/02/carnival-of-storytellers-3rd-edition.html

DigitalRich

infinitesimal said...

1. Would you read this story to your (present or future) child/niece/nephew?

YES, as it was written in kid- language (hard to do)

2. What was the most memorable moment in this part of the story for you?
The handshake description

3. What do you think would be a good title for this story?
Need more information

4. What kind of illustrations do you imagine would go best with this story?
Not sure....

5. Any additional comments?
First thing that came to mind while reading was that a kid wrote it, the kid is very creative and that the theme of the story is Superstring theory in Quantum Physics.

Way to go Kid!!

infinitesimal said...

Oh, see, now I did not read about George...

I assumed that it was a kid writing the story because of the language used. It is so hard to write in kid language that most people cannot do it. Kids really appreciate it if you can speak in their language, a skill George obviously has.

And I would guess he is pretty intelligent as well. Superstring themes and all.

Don't give up George.
I think you may just have some kids of your own some day.
31 ain't that old!!

Lookit old Don Trump, he is ancient, lookit that geezer who married foxy Catherine Zeta Jones.
Women have the biological clock thing. You men have your whole life to make babies!

I will pray for you OK honey? Sorry you are going through such a hard time!

sage said...

I would (heck, my daughter and I have read Alice in Wonderland and THought the Looking Glass twice, at age 4 and age 7)

The second paragraph is the most griping, but there is some discontent between the shaking and fighting, etc

I to thought of those plastic robots (Blockheads) that you tried to knock the head off the other person.


thanks for stopping by my blog

carrie said...

1. Yes, i would read it to my kid.
2. the most memorable part: that the kids didn't know they were controlling these robots.
3. Title: Remote Control
4. illustrations: watercolors suggesting space, fighting robots, blues and reds and whites
5. seems like Young Adult Science Fiction

/t. said...

as written,
i wouldn't read it

it's more a collection of ideas (some good & interesting ones) than a story, imo -- has potential to be worked up

that handshake sequence is memorable, v. cool

/t.

flic said...

Thanks everyone for the excellent and useful feedback!

At this point, I've decided to include the entire transcript of the story in a single post (rather than in segments), so that you may read the story in it's entirety in one reading.

So please continue with the reader's feedback!

-----------------------------------

And therefore, the comments that appear above my comment here, are comments based on readers reading the first three paragraphs of the story only.

And so, the comments after my comment here will be comments regarding the children's bedtime story as a completed transcript.

Thanks again!

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

I think the author of this story has taken knowledge or experienced something he can not handle. Something more or else that what is official registered. Something he has not talked about.
This is his way of telling, what he actually don't dear to talk about, because if he do he will not be believed/taken serious after all.

(As I have study picture-desiphiring, I can desipher stories in the same way, using the same tecnique.That doesn't necessary mean I'm all correct though.)

ditzydoctor said...

hullo! =D thanks for your comment am so sorry am so absolutely slow in replying =( and no i don't have 2 toiletry baskets. i think i'm just v tired! will re-read your story again when am more awake! =D

flic said...

kirsten n. namskau (at 4:10 AM)- Thanks so much for your feedback. It got George to sit down after a high-frequency therapy automatic-writing session and sit down and "edit" this particular story while "tuned in" to a low-band frequency.

I've posted the updated version as you see it here in the post now.

Helga von porno said...

I think it is alright as a children's story. In a way its about growing up. A few irrelevances could be ieliminated, like the empty house bit. And the "did you say red button?" bit, though that last kind of opened up the imagination: What would have happened if the second robot had pressed the red button?

flic said...

helga von porno- Good observations! Thanks. George is already putting your observations at work in the editing process.

Canopenner said...

1. Would you read this story to your (present or future) child/niece/nephew?

Sure

2. What was the most memorable part or moment of this story for you?

The robot handshakes.

3. What do you think would be a good title for this story?

The Matrix

4. What kind of illustrations or artwork do you imagine would go best with this story?

A pop out book would be teh bomb

5. Any additional comments?

I am bad and didnt read what happened to the author. I am going to look now.

I liked the story alot.

But I also like robots, alot.

Have a great day!

flic said...

canopenner- Thanks for the useful comments (actually). Pop-up book? Nice idea!


You have a great day, too.

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