Jankuman

 

Namie, Fukashima Japan © Google Maps

Jankuman pedaled his three-wheel bike down the deserted street, excitement growing. Yesterday he’d found a fluffy bear and a child’s metal lunchbox. The day before, he’d come upon a weathered book with a dog-eared page, abandoned at the deserted stationhouse. He’d run his fingers along the words, breathless.

Just a week earlier, he’d peered through a scrim of old weather on an apartment glass, and seen a table set for four: with cups, and bowls, and one fat spoon. The only problem being that such a find could not be carried back in the basket of his bike. Such riches a man like him had never dreamed.

“You have to leave,” cityman told him. And so he’d learned to hide when the itachiman prowled the streets.

All the salarymen gone; taken every honorable wife—and all their playday children. And what was left: such riches!

He’d never felt so close.

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 here.

This week I wanted to write poetry. I’m always moved by abandoned spaces. But alas, it came out too grim. So prose instead… about a man who may be part poet, part mad. As always, thanks for reading.

In other news: I completed Nanowrimo! BFNever is 63,000+ (largely incomprehensible) words. I’ve basically completed the dumpster fire of literature.

25 Comments

  1. Fantastic piece of writing here. Does a lot of duty in few words. Congratulations on finishing the NaNoWriMo. I have done it for the past five years and get a lot out of it every time.

    1. Thank you J. Hardy. This is only my second NaNoWriMo (but 4th novel). It’s a great way to jump start a novel for sure.

  2. […] participate in What Pegman Saw. However the lure of those extra 50 words is strong. Many thanks to K Rawson and J Hardy […]

  3. Dear Karen,

    My hat’s off to you for doing NaNoWriMo. Your story is so visual and evocative. A lot said in few words.

    Shalom

    Rochelle

    1. Thanks Rochelle! I was lucky to have the time to complete Nanowrimo this year–I have not always been so fortunate.

  4. Congratulations on the NaNoWriMo accomplishment and this wee bit of writing. What treasure are to be found in the abandoned ruins of other lives.

    1. Thanks James! I like the way you put that.

  5. I like this character you have created. I can relate to him a bit too well, I fear.

    1. 🙂 Well I find this character very dear, so that’s a good thing. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Please consider sharing a story for Pegman–we’d love to see you!

  6. You’ve written a wonderful story. Jankuman, creeping and hiding like a wild creature, taking the trappings of civilisation. I wonder what he did with them, and to what grand end he felt close. Fascinating, and full of pathos, and yet admiration for someone who can survive at the margin and even retain his humanity. You crammed a huge amount into those 150 words, Karen. Well done!

    1. Penny you are so very kind. I can’t tell you what a delight it is to have you around. You’re not only a gifted writer, you take the time to read and carefully consider others’ work. Your keen insights, generous praise, and thoughtful comments are most appreciated.

  7. Dear Karen

    I can just see this man pedalling about, hear him rummaging about, feel him hiding until the coast is clear. For a minute I became this man. Shared his hopes and fears.

    Peace and joy

    Kelvin

    1. Thank so much Kelvin, thanks for reading 😉

  8. I have to agree with Penny, Karen. Really lovely piece of writing. You’ve encapsulated a whole character, his ambitions and his world view in such a short piece of writing. Really lovely writing. And well done on NaNo! Is that a complete first draft or is there more to write? From rough drafts polished gems come 🙂

    1. Thanks Lynn! My first draft is nearly done. There are some big gaping holes I need to fill. And some serious rewriting is needed!

      1. But that’s what first drafts are for! after a wee break, you can plunge back in and polish and cut, cut , cut! Part through a rewrite of my WIP and prose that was looking disjointed and just plain rubbish is beginning to read more smoothly, make more sense, create the desired affect. An enjoyable part of the process. Hope it all goes well Karen 🙂

  9. liked the little details – like the weathered book and the setting for four – I could feel being there – in this tainted zone with the leftovers.
    and the photo you chose to use was one of my favs from the gallery – 🙂

    1. Thanks Prior! Thanks for reading 🙂

  10. Excellent story! I doubt your claim of literature fire…perhaps, literature on fire?!
    Scott
    Mine: https://kindredspirit23.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/what-pegman-saw-fukushima-japan/

    1. Haha, thanks Scott. I fear it has a long way to go to be on fire! Thanks for reading.

  11. Lovely story of quite a sad scene, everything left as it was when everyone evacuated. I guess your protagonist is happy if not entirely safe 🙂

    1. It seems he is happier now–but what a tradeoff. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  12. Karen, for starters, congrats on Nano… I finished with 70,170 this year. I love this little story. A lot of unanswerables here. What about radioactivity? Radiation sickness? etc, etc.

    1. Congrats on nanowrimo yourself! That is super.

      As to radiation sickness, I’m not sure this guy cares much…

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