Four Days Will Be Plenty

screengrab of photo by Paul Barlow courtesy google maps

 

He’d spared no expense: from the limousine ride, to the first-class direct flight, to the upper balcony suite on the Caribbean’s finest cruise line. Romantic gestures, to be sure, but it was one of those things she disapproved of—his want of frugality. He’d squander his inheritance in a few short years if he had his way about it. In her hands, however, those paltry millions of his could be doubled–no tripled–in as much time.

She smiled and squeezed his hand before getting up.

“Will four days be enough for a honeymoon?” he asked as she walked to edge of their balcony.

She rested her elbows on the railing and looked down. It had to be ten stories at least. From this distance, the ocean waves were barely more than orange peel. From this distance, a stumble—a scream—a splash, might never be heard.

“Four days will be plenty.”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a location-based prompt inspired by Google Maps. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click below:

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It’s been awhile since I’ve indulged in any literary spouse-killing, something which has probably been a relief to my reader(s). I was helpless to resist this one though, because for some reason, murder is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a cruise ship. You’ve been warned 😉

Nyanza

Looming storm, Google Maps, Kampala, Uganda

He remembered when he got the results, or rather, he remembered the man who’d gotten them. A man in a button-down shirt, sitting in front of a computer in a New York high rise, just like a million other men.

Your DNA Ancestry Report, the subject line said.

He’d booked the trip immediately. Impulsively—before he could change his mind. It was a long way off at the time.

But now he was here. In the morning, he’d gone to Lake Victoria—Nyanza as the Bantu people called it. His people.

At the shore, he’d taken off his shoes and waded up to his knees. After that, he turned inland, feeling the gritty red soil on his bare feet.

He tipped his head back at the darkening sky and felt the weight of coming rain. And then he laughed at the wonder of it—to finally realize: he was home.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories or to submit your own, click below:

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For some reason, this particular location evoked so many images for me. It was really hard to pare it down into 150 words. Kampala, Uganda could not be further away from where I sit right now, but I could smell the lake, see the faces, hear the tongue, and taste the posho in my mouth.

Odd.

Anywayz…. no kidlets around this weekend, and I intend to chip away at my novel-in-progress The Kwan Factor. With effort, I could find my way to the end very soon. That would be sweet.

The Wench at Brazen Head

The Brazen Head Tavern, established 1198

“Fool’s tales,” he scoffed, and with a heel he urged his mare along to show he would not be taken in. “We bed at Brazen Head.”

Such ridiculous talk, he thought, as they approached the crossing. To say the serving wench at Brazen Head was an enchantress, to say she held the hearts of a thousand men in a locket ‘round her neck. There was no maiden as fair as that—at least none that he had seen. And then to call it magic.

They tied up at dusk. The tavern was alight with crackling fire and the air thick with the smell of mead. He entered first, so as to show his men his courage.

In an instant, she turned around: the raven tumble of curls pushed back, her eyes the color of the North Sea. She smiled a smile meant only for him.

He felt his heart twist.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more flash fiction inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click the blue button:

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Jiminy

PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

Even now, he still heard the voice. He’d be somewhere—say at a party—having a wicked-good time and it would come, saying things like “The wrong things seem right at the time” or “Say you’re sorry, but you’ve got to go.”

Damn voice. He should have exterminated that thing long ago. What was the point in living large—being real—if you had to answer to a conscience?

He pressed a hand around the woman’s waist and urged her off his lap. “I need to take care of something,” he said.

He lifted the fly swatter and headed outside.

100 words

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the kind and generous Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Shaktiki Sharma.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own 100-word story, click the blue button:

 

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First and Last

Screen capture Google Maps, St. Louis

Screen capture Google Maps, St. Louis

It was JT who found it: that picture of all of us, at our place on Maffitt.

JT and me, we still go to the same school, even though we be in different foster care. Wished I could tell Mama about it, but there ain’t no way to get hold of her—not right now. She’s working in Atlanta. But she’s coming back at Christmas-time, and with enough money for a lawyer, so she can get us back. Which is what you call ironic, cause her leaving us alone so she go could to work is why DHS split us up in the first place.

Don’t know where baby Zina is these days. No one can tell me. I still see that child in my mind’s eye—her chubby ballerina feet prancing across the painted porch floor. Girl’d be almost six now.

JT say the whole neighborhood is gone now.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a location-based fiction prompt inspired by Google Maps. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button:

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Ayahuasca

Acajatuba Jungle Lodge, screen capture of photo by Marc Crandall via Google Maps

Acajatuba Jungle Lodge, screen capture of photo by Marc Crandall via Google Maps

 

Tuesday morning, she left the hospital for good. Turned away from their protests and waited wordlessly as they taped the incision, removed the IV, and wound a bright blue bandage around her arm.

“You’re going to die out there,” Brian had said. Yelled it at her, actually, as she walked to her gate with only one small carry on.

Three connections and thirty-six hours later, she was on the boat, feeling the moist jungle air upon her like a salve.

Pacon piloted the craft up the curling vein of the Amazon without looking. Overhead, the skies were untroubled and everywhere around she heard the twitter, squawk and song of undiscovered birds. Maybe she would die out here. It was not such a bad place.

As if he had heard her, Pacon spoke. “You make better soon,” he said, gesturing upriver. “Kachiri she bring the best tea.”

She felt better already.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click the blue button.

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Just One Word

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

She pulled her cardigan close, leaned out the door, and stared down the block to where the snow-haloed streetlights vanished into the night.

“I’ll be home before the storm even starts, Mom,” he’d said on their call the day before. Then he’d gone on about the lousy campus food and his second term classes, and the red-headed girl in Philosophy 101.

She pulled the door closed, shook the snow from her hair and checked her phone. He hadn’t answered. Which was good, because she’d always told him not to text and drive. But tonight, she needed a word.

100 words

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the gracious and talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Sarah Potter.

To read more flash fiction inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button:

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Glad to join in the prompt this week! I usually refrain when life is hectic and I know I won’t be able to read and respond to the other stories. Hoping I am able to this week. Look forward to reading your tales!

There’s No Place Like Home

Tokyo Google Maps screen capture

Tokyo Google Maps screen capture

Tokyo was everything that Iowa wasn’t. It was why he’d come.

Tokyo was civilized, urban, occupied and vibrant. Tokyo was vertical where Iowa was horizontal. Tokyo was fast where Iowa was slow.

He loved the ever-present crush of people, the novelty of towering over a crowd at the subway stop, the ease of talking to pretty girls eager to practice their English on the drawling American—who was maybe not so handsome by Mississippi Valley High School standards.

He’d come eleven months and twenty-eight days ago—hopped on the plane the day after graduation. Landed a job right away and was making a decent living teaching English at the junior college a short subway’s ride away.

But back in Iowa it was June—the month of a million greens, when the vast bowl of the Midwest becomes the Emerald City of growing things. And suddenly, intensely, completely: he missed it so.

150 words

 

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click the blue button:

Phoning it in a little this week. My teenage son is in the hospital with mono, strep, influenza and pneumonia, plus a few accompanying complications. We’re on day four. And all I can think is: there is no place like home. And why do hospitals wake sick people up every 45 minutes?

PS J Hardy Carroll please excuse the use of the word ‘suddenly’. 😉 Got my adverbs on, eh?

Renovación

Renovacion, Mexico City, Mexico

Renovacion, Mexico City, Mexico

Antonio got there early.

“You’re in luck,” bossman said. “Today we got a load from Texas. We can use you.”

It was two hundred pesos a day. A fortune, compared to his father’s factory job.

Inside, a woman showed Antonio how to pry the precious metals from the motherboards, how to free the veins of copper from their insulated sleeves, and how to cover his mouth with his t-shirt when hammering apart the screens.

“See how nothing is wasted?” she’d said and then she coughed into a curled fist.

At dark, bossman came back and counted out the bills. “You party big tonight,” he chuckled. “Come back tomorrow.”

The woman waited until bossman was gone and tugged at Antonio’s sleeve. “Don’t listen to him. He keep you here til you choke on a lung. Be smart. Save money. A year or two of this, and you can leave Renovacion for good.”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click below:

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When I randomly landed upon this location for Pegman, I had no idea what it was. I wondered at the tarp-covered stacks of debris, and after a bit of research learned that this is where mountains of discarded electronics go to be recycled. You can learn more in this great article by Michael Smith:

In This Mexico City Neighborhood, Life Revolves Around E-Waste

He Could No Longer Trust the Mailman

Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

 

There were only three people Clem trusted: the mailman, the kid from the pharmacy who delivered his meds and the lady in 3B.

He was so close to cracking it—the whole thing. Very much near uncovering the underlying conspiracy behind all of it.

From the window, he looked back over his shoulder and tried to decide if one could see it from the street: Clem’s careful collage of post-its, news clippings and abandoned receipts. Because just now he’d caught the mailman LOOKING UP.

Clem turned back: their eyes met. Some knowing passed.

He could no longer trust the mailman.

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneer, hosted by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo prompt courtesy Roger Bultot.

To read more flash fiction inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button.

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I post this rather sheepishly, because the last fictioneer piece I posted, I did not get around to commenting/replying/reading as I would’ve like. Thanks for reading. I aim to do better this go-around.