Category Archives: Flash Fiction

What Pegman Saw: No Distractions

Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout, Big Sky, Montana | © Matthew Kennedy, Google Maps

The ranger smirked at the sight of her store-fresh backpack and then eyed her tennis shoes. “You want me to check back mid-week?”

No distractions. That had been the point of this whole week. No kids, no husband—no interruptions. “I’ll be fine.”

She lugged the five-gallon water jug up the fire tower stairs as the ranger rumbled away on his AWD. She didn’t notice the leak until morning. By then, five days’ worth of water had spilled across plank floor.

That was four days ago. Her parched lips cracked as her mouth tightened in a grimace. How long could a person go without water, anyway?

She thought of Tilly, sticky fingers tugging at her sleeve: Tell me a story.

She thought of Robert, popping in her office for the hundredth time: Would you like a cup of tea?

What she wouldn’t give for such sweet distraction now.

148 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. Click here to read more stories inspired by the prompt.

If you’re looking for a prompt to challenge or inspire you, please join me on What Pegman Saw.

What Pegman Saw: Hallo Schönheit

Image result for elvis in the army

“They’re here again.”

Private Smith eyed the gate. A dozen German girls twirled their skirts and stared back hopefully.

“C’mon Smitty. Let’s go down there.”

He shrugged. “They don’t wanna meet no ‘nobody’. They’re here to see him.”

Even Johnson couldn’t argue that. Wherever the Third Armored went, throngs of fans followed—but they were no fans of the soldiers. They were fans of Elvis Presley. Meanwhile, Elvis spent next to no time at the base. He was seven kilometers away in Bad Nauheim.

Still, it didn’t stop the girls from showing up. Elvis wasn’t even all that handsome, Smitty thought. He ran a hand over his buzz cut. He’d be handsome too, if he hadn’t had to buzz his hair to the pink of his scalp.

“Let’s go down there anyway,” Johnson said.

There were a lot of girls. “What are we going to say to them?”

Hallo Schönheit, hallo.”

151 words

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

This story was inspired by my dad, who was stationed in Germany with Elvis. He never met him, but said he was always surrounded by a crowd.

 

 

Last Stop

Minilik Squar Bus Stop, Ethiopia | Dinberu Getachew, Google Maps

Minilik Squar Bus Stop, Ethiopia | Dinberu Getachew, Google Maps

Nyala be mad at me again.

She won’t say it, but I know she is by the way she stares  like the bus might pop out of thin air if she hope it hard enough.

“It’ll happen for you some day, I know it,” I say, because it’s what I always say, but neither of us believes it anymore.

Me and Nyala, sitting at the bus stop; last time. Best mates since barefoot days, forever friends, married us brothers on the very same day in a double ceremony. We’ll raise a dynasty, we said.

It’s not my fault my babies come easy. Five years, three healthy boys, and now another in my belly snake-dancing like a happy day.

“I can’t be your friend anymore,” she say, not looking my way.

Don’t you remember us? I want to say. Don’t you remember our promises? But promises mean nothing.

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’s story was a story I had in mind to write, and so I went in search of a photo of two women in Ethiopia to represent it. I landed at this bus stop where I found not only two women in the midst of some apparent emotion–also these two ghostly girls. I knew then I’d found my spot.

 

 

My Inheritance

PHOTO PROMPT © Nick Allen

Even after the investigation was over, I left the crime scene tape up in the shed. It was mine now: the house, the land, his shed.

I went in there sometimes; stood in the greasy dark, smelling the dried blood, the ancient fear, imagining the screams of his victims. And when I got used to the light, I’d see his still-intact oil can collection, and the outlines of his implements of torture on the now-empty pegboard wall. Sharp shapes; so many.

I’d look at them and wonder…would the police give them back?

And what would I do if they did?

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this party and thanks to Nick Allen for this week’s photo. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

For the Want of Courage

Bridal Veil Falls, Utah | Google Maps

It was where they were to be married. Not at the falls per se, but at the chapel down the ridge. Her in winter wool with a frost of lace upon her neck and sleeves, and him in a fine-tailored frock coat. At least that was how he had always pictured it. But it was not to be.

She had her head turned by a fella out a St. Louis and married him afore two years’ time. And he knew her his whole life.

Knew ‘of’ her at least. And she up and left. It weren’t fair. She was supposed to wait. Wait long enough for him to ask her hand. Long enough for him to pay a call. Long enough for him to work up the nerve to tip his hat—at the very least. He had a lot of working up to do.

But still, it weren’t fair.

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 Year’s River

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson (Many thanks for the gracious loan of your photo. 😉

This year’s river ain’t no ankle wetter,
no minnow chaser,
no roll up your pant legs for a sunny Sunday wade.

This year’s river ain’t no trout fisher,
No flat-stone skipper,
no Sunday supper-dinner all strung up on a string.

This year’s river ain’t no parasol spinner,
no baptizing sinner,
no check-blanket picnic in the shade.

No, this year’s river is a bridge-out blocker, a gully road washer, a sweep you off the banks, because—

This year’s river is a baby-child taker, a widow-man maker, a trade-your-everything for mud, because—

This year’s river is a flood.


96 words (if you forgive liberal hyphenation-for-effect)
104 words (if you do not)

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Dale Rogerson. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

What Pegman Saw: Stockholm

Copenhagen, Sweden,
Voigt Steffensen Hans (Kunstmaler) |
Kim Michael Wincentz
Google Maps

“Wait a minute, is that her?” I stepped closer, head tilted as I studied the broad brushstrokes which composed the face of the female dancer in Elias’s painting.

I turned back to Oscar, who stood in the center of the studio, arms folded across his chest. He nodded. “Take another look around.”

I walked the perimeter of the studio, more slowly this time, scrutinizing every female face in every painting. The sour mouth, the narrow jaw, the flint-chip eyes in the shadow of the heavy brow: they were all her. Every single woman in every painting—a decade of Elias’s work—and they were all her.

“Why would he do that? She abused him. Robbed him of every confidence. Crippled him socially. Why would he do that?”

Oscar walked to a large canvas resting on an easel. On it, the female face glared triumphantly. “It is because…I think he misses her.”

151 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.

Many liberties were taken in the writing of this little story, and my apologies to the artist for highjacking his/her work for my own twisted purposes. The prompt was in Stockholm, however after taking a number of tours of Sweden this morning, I wound up in Copenhagen and landed in this gorgeous studio. And somehow, my Stockholm concept got tangled up in the canvas here.

The tour of this studio is an example of why I love Google maps. Here I sit on a snowy winter morning in the midwest, and yet I was transported to this bright and sunny artists studio, smelling paint, fika, and strong coffee. There are 100 billion stories out there on Google maps and I can only write them one at a time. Which is why I need your help 😉

Have a super-amazing-most-awesome day!

Karen