We Steal Things: A story in single-syllable words

Bayside Garden World, Kilda Street, Elwood, Victoria © Google Maps


My son and I stole a car last week. It was not the first.

We stole a Juke once, and a Fit just like me mum’s.

I think I like the trucks the best. With a truck you can steal more things—swing by a lawn shop and grab sacks of dirt, or the round glass balls that old men put in yards to keep the kids at bay. I have a fence in Cairns.

Nick said no, at first.

“We won’t get caught,” I said.

“But Mum.”

“I’ll get you to school on time,” I said, and meant it. And he has not been late, not once.

At first, he kept watch while I did the work: the lock pick with the fob-thing that I got from a guy in Perth. It does the trick. And Nick is quick, and in a bit, I think that I can quit my job.

152 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.

I feel like I should explain myself.

This morning I was feeling tired and uninspired. I started writing a little piece to capture the Australian vernacular. But, the further I got into it, the more I hated it. So I decided to write a little poem instead. But something about the poem reminded me of a story I wrote for a writing workshop I did a couple of summers ago.

The original prompt was to write a story using only one syllable words. The original story was 260 words, but I pared it down for Pegman and tried to give it a more ‘local’ flavor to suit the location. It was fun and challenging to write but maybe not so fun to read. Sort of like the adventures of Dr. Suess’s criminal aunt Sheila.


  1. Really super. Reckon even harder doubling? Maybe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Double syllables–that would be HARD. Impossible? It’s fun to try. With single syllables everything sounds like Dr. Suess. Now you’ve got me thinking about double trouble.


  2. What a great idea – the single syllable thing, not the teaching the son to steal thing. Although, I do like that as a story idea. Love the being able to retire as soon as the son takes over. Really well done.
    (I’ll get to you school on time – maybe get you to school?)


    1. Oh, oops yes–Get you to school. I’ll fix that. It’s funny how a prompt can push your creativity for sure. But when I read this to my son, he had no interest on embarking on a life of crime. Thanks for reading, Lish!


  3. mandibelle16

    Awesome job. Both entertaining, but also reminiscent of children’s school projects/journals and how they first write or talk. Great job using only those words. It must have been hard!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mandibelle! It was a challenge for sure. Glad you found it entertaining 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. peterkirsch

    A terrific exercise. I found it really added to his persona. He came across as simple, uneducated. Fitting I thought. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a clever challenge. Gives the writing a kind of rhythm. Like you say Dr Suess. Changes the mood I think. Like the story line too. Nice one.


  6. Funny that I noticed the pacing was fast but didn’t notice that *all* the words were one-syllable until I read your note. Playing with vernacular is fun, I agree. And I love the idea of Dr. Seuss’ criminal aunt, you could definitely do fun things with that!


  7. Awesome!!
    Well-written!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!


    2. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! I hope you consider joining us at Pegman sometime!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely will join in! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. […] thanks to Karen and Josh for facilitating this challenge for globetrotting writers. It’s the extra 50 words […]


  9. Dear Karen,

    If you had not told us this is ‘a story in single syllable words’ I don’t think I would have seen it. No doubt it was not a snap. Well done and fun to read. Loved the plot, too.



    (See what I did there?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How perfect! That made me grin.


    2. Thanks Rochelle. Maybe if the YA thing doesn’t work out for me I can try writing kids books…heheh about car-stealing.

      Come to think of it, this may be why the YA thing isn’t working 😉


  10. Interesting take on the prompt. I fear the inhabitants of Melbourne wouldn’t be pleased as they’re the cultural capital of Australia. Well done, sustaining our interest with such a restricted repertoire of words!


  11. Crime does pay – or so it seems! I enjoyed reading this and loved finding out your inspiration for this story, Karen. I reckon the out takes we all produce for this prompt, well you and I anyway, might make quite an anthology. Those stories we wrestle out of the darkness, those half formed idea and stories we twist and turn with until letting them go back to murkiness of our subconscious minds – wouldn’t it be great if they saw the light of day??!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would! Thanks for reading Kelvin.

      Liked by 1 person

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