One Woman’s Duty to the Species

Torakina Beach, NSW Austrailia © Najd Salas, Google Maps

“Your battery is dead.”

There was a time when Jonda would’ve taken the time to correct the man’s idiotic statement and explain that any skilled mechanic could tell–by the staticky whir and the whiff of smoke–that this was clearly a starter issue. There was a time when she might have been annoyed at the overly-familiar way his eyes loitered at her neckline. There was a time when she never would have considered a man like him–for his coarse patina of facial hair and the wayward wave of his untidy hair. But that was before 99.7% of the men in the world had succumbed to the flu. She made further measure of his prospects, scanning the uniform curve of his fingernails.

“You might be right,” she said at last. Her eyes lifted to the glassine shimmer of his eyes. “Maybe you could take a look at it.”

149 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.

Sometimes when ideas are tumbling around in my head, and I’m trying to come up with a story, one thought leads to another. Suddenly, I realize I’ve killed off 99.7% of the men in the world.

I guess whether this story is dystopian or utopian depends on your perspective 😉 It does prove Man Flu is a thing–and those guys weren’t kidding when they claimed it was much worse for them.


  1. Love this! Your stories are always great. I must try harder and join in again.

    1. Please do! Hope to see you this week! Thanks for reading.

  2. Great story. I like that the surviving specimen is an arrogant (and wrong) jerk.

    The man flu might be just the ticket for righting the world. Either that or mass orchidectomy.

    1. Your comment made me laugh out loud. The good news in this imaginary world is that there’s peace on earth and violence in nearly non-existent. The bad news is one week a month there are widespread chocolate shortages, and even after a worldwide summit–no one can agree which way the toilet paper roll is supposed to go. 😉

      1. On the plus side, red wine is served with breakfast

  3. Sweet pickings for the 0.3% of men left. 😀

    1. Indeed! It’s a great argument for getting that flu shot. Thanks for reading, James!

      1. Actually, my wife is dead set against us getting flu shots, saying the potential for harm outweighs the benefits. However, after reading your story, I wonder…

  4. I really like the angle of the story telling – through the woman’s inner monologue, and that small sentence with such a profound resonance – ‘the 99.9% of men..’ You reflect a huge event so simply. Well done.

    1. Thanks so much–I’m glad you liked it. Hope you consider joining us on Pegman this week. So happy you dropped by.

  5. well love the descriptions – like could feel his patina…
    but also love the whole “there was a time when….” because it shows something about the human experience in layers…

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting prior. Looking forward to reading your story–I hope you can find the time to join us.

      1. yes ma’am = normally I write and then read – but this time went in reverse….
        read and now writing….

  6. Very interesting story.

  7. […] inspired – and I try to be – it’s What Pegman Saw time!  Thank you always to Karen and Josh for hosting this.  It’s fun to have an extra 50 words for a prompt – and to […]

  8. I suppose when the choices are so sparse, clean fingernails are as good as gold. Loved the sudden turnabout in this. A very cool story.

    1. Thank you kindly. Hopefully (ultimately) he’ll have more to offer than just clean fingernails…. Where are that other 99.7% when you need them?

  9. […] short piece was also inspired by a few of the other entries from this week’s submissions. K. Rawson has done this a few times – incorporated other writers’ pieces into her Pegman entry […]

  10. I was going to say, a well-groomed hand can go a long way 😉
    Loved this, Karen. When pickings are so slim, one must put aside the things that annoy the crap out of us in “usual” times!

    1. .03% doesn’t leave much room for choosy, I’m afraid! But who knows, maybe they’ll find love after all. Thanks for reading, Dale!

      1. Nope, it sure doesn’t! Maybe they will both find a happy middle!

  11. I love where you took this lone woman on the beach. Her pickin’s are pretty slim so sacrifice is definitely a must. Too bad it has to be heavy on giving up on the intellectual part.

    1. I had to chuckle when I read that. Yes that is definitely too bad! Thanks for reading, Lish.

  12. You made me laugh with this story, Karen! Your description of the man’s appearance and habits was spot on! And the way your narrator assessed him so coolly…
    Do you think polyandry is called for under the circumstances?

    1. Sorry! I meant polygamy of course – but without the patriarchy, naturally!

      1. Thanks Penny. You made me realize I definitely need to make my next story about polyandry. Hehehe, I had to look it up. Because I honestly assumed it was a synonym for polygamy.

  13. I agree with the others – a spot on description of this poor Neanderthal. Lucky boy to be one of the few left behind. He’s perhaps one of the best left of a bad bunch – poor her! Beautifully written as always

    1. Thanks for your very kind words! Yeah, let’s just hope nothing like this actually happens….

      1. Oh, lord, if this did happen, I’d hide in a cave and let my more fertile sisters replenish the human race without me! I’d go gathering nuts or something 🙂

      2. Lol, well I’d be keeping you company….

  14. The good ones never survive apocalyptic conditions! Great story!

    1. Haha, hopefully we never have to find out. Thanks for reading, Kelley!

  15. A New come-on: “Maybe you should take a look at it.” I kinda wish a beautiful woman would say that to me now…:-)

    1. HA! I wondered if anyone would pick up on that line. It’s so much better than what she was going to say. Thanks for reading Scott. 🙂

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