All posts by k rawson

author, nerd, mom.

Think of all the Time We’ll Have to Write

Pitcairn Islands

“Think of all the time we’ll have to write,” you said.

We’d done the math. Between us, we figured we could live three years, maybe four: cover the rent on the cottage in Adamstown, plus any taxes, and of course, the food.

When the first cargo ship arrived from New Zealand, we’d laughed as we hauled the ridiculous quantities back home in the golf cart: ten pounds of rice, twelve pounds of beans, and of course the coffee.

The coffee ran out first. The garden washed away in a February monsoon, and nothing grew in the endless blistering drought that followed.

“Next ship will be here in eighteen days,” you said.

That is what you said about the April ship. And the July.

This time, I don’t answer. I just look at your haunch and think—and not for the first time—that it is very meaty. Very meaty indeed.

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.

Apologies to my hubby J Hardy Carroll. I was inspired by my desire for more writing time, and this article:  Why nobody will move to Pitcairn the Pacific Island with Free Land.

It’s Not Where You Are, It’s Where You Come From

Dubai

She is American, Myriam thinks, or perhaps British. Cool, blonde, and with that perpetually unhappy expression they all seem to have here.

Myriam remembers her early days in Dubai. Saudi Arabia was 466 kilometers away, but it felt more like a million. She remembers the first time they walked the streets of Dubai, her face free and only her hair covered in the stylish shayla. She remembers their first apartment, and how she’d danced with delight when Omar said Yes, of course you can get a job. She remembers learning to drive and walking out of Transport Authority with her own driver’s license. She remembers how it felt to drive to Fatima’s alone. So many joys here, so many freedoms. She hands the American her change with a smile and a secret blessing.

 

Heather pockets her change and wonders for the thousandth time—how can these women stand it here?

150 words

I had great hopes for what I wanted to do with this piece but it turned out to be much harder to pull off in 150 words than I expected. So I’m going to call it good and feel satisfied that I did much thought-provoking research. Just before I finished it, I did a final google and happened to come across a picture that seemed a perfect match for my character. At the risk of getting sued, I love the look in her eyes:

A Thousand Thousand Thanks

We searched the lobby for the face we’d seen in the polaroid taken so long ago—the face so like the woman my daughter had grown into. But that woman was nowhere to be seen. In her place was a woman grown old before her time; her long black hair prematurely gray, the steep angles of her cheeks given way to deep creases.

¿Eres Claudia?” I asked. She nodded, unable to take her eyes off my daughter—her daughter. Our daughter.

Claudia approached and took our daughter’s hands into her own. She spoke a stream of rapid Spanish, so full of unfamiliar slang, and so choked with emotion I barely caught a word.

I watched our daughter’s face. What was she thinking—seeing at last the almond eyes she’d only seen in her own face?

Mil gracias,” I had planned to say. “Mil mil gracias.” But sometimes words are not enough.

151 words

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

Apologies for missing last week and being late this week. We’ve been traveling and I’ve been away from the computer for more than a week.

Kanta

Elephants World, Kancanaburi, Thailand

The sanctuary was not such a bad place, Hong Faa decided.

Her own mahout was kind to her, and she never saw a chain, like in the days at the logging camp, or a whip like at the trekking camp where the cruel one tore her ear.

But in her distant memory, she saw the forest, and longed for the daughter taken away so long ago.

And so when the trucks came, Hong Faa went to the gate to wait. But she never saw her daughter.

But one day she saw the beggar calf–a young elephant of seven summers. That awkward age which has so much learning left to do. A calf as dark as forest bark, with the brightest eyes she’d seen in fifty years.

“Kanta,” she heard the young mahout say as he guided her down the ramp. And in her heart, Hong Faa said Kanta too.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. This week, I wandered away from the cemetery that Pegman landed at and wound up at an elephant sanctuary, where the real-life Hong Faa and Kanta are residents. And from the sounds of it, they’re inseparable.

To read more flash fiction inspired by the prompt, click here.

To learn more about Hong Faa and Kanta, you can check out Elephants World.

A Lot Can Happen

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Bitta and I walked by the old school yesterday. In another life, she’d be starting first grade this week.

She stood on the sidewalk, kicking at the weeds that split the cracks, and counting the broken windows. “Where will I go to school, Mama?”

What could I say? We didn’t have the vouchers. Well, we had the vouchers once, but we traded them for the Right to Work slips.

We can homeschool, we thought. All this will pass, we told ourselves. By the time she’s old enough, it will all be over.

A lot can happen in four years.

99 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff Fields for hosting this party, and thanks to J Hardy Carroll for the devastatingly awesome photo this week. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click the blue button.

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Second Chances

 

Portal ND

The engine had picked up a mewling sound in Minot. Or maybe it had always sounded that way and it was only the vast, featureless flat that made him hear it.

The Trans Canada route was killing him. Maybe after Saskatoon he’d look into a Pacific job. He hadn’t worked those lush and winding roads since he was a young man. Which made him think of Sheila. And the baby, who wouldn’t be a baby anymore. Kid’d be what, fifteen? Sixteen? With a biting guilt, he realized he couldn’t remember the last time he’d tucked a twenty into a truck stop birthday card for the kid. He’d blown it—along with every single chance at love and fatherhood.

Then, that sound again. This time, he took the exit, rolled to a stop, and swung the hood back.

The source of the sound came at him: angry, furry, needing, desperate:

“Meow.”

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.

Hell Hath No Fury

Travers de Navacelles

She took his car. That was the part of it that seemed so very funny as she sped away from his villa, top down, with her red hair waving like a banner. She’d left his Kiton suits shredded in the closet, his Porthault Jours sheets burning in a heap in the driveway, and every single bottle of his collection shattered in the wine cellar. But she’d taken his car, the thing he loved more than life itself. Well, at least he loved it more than her. Probably not more than Emilie.

Her mouth went bitter at the thought of the woman—her one-time trusted friend. Her confidant.

She bumped the volume and stomped the gas pedal to erase the thought. She’d take the next switchback faster—go full throttle on straightaway. The speedometer crept to 80, then 100. When she got to the next turn, she wouldn’t use the brakes.

150 words.

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a weekly location-based fiction prompt. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.