Category Archives: Prompts

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.

 

 

Fulton Street

He didn’t have to stay, that was the thing. He had people in St. Louis.

“Not gonna sell,” he said. Replaced the bars with plywood and painted it green cause it was the color of money.

He was born on Fulton Street, in a brownstone three blocks up, east side. Back then no one lived on the west side—least not no one black.

“You just watch,” he said as he pasted up signs. “The neighborhood is coming back.”

He sold Coors fifty cent cheaper than Lees, but it ate away his profits. “I’ll make it back on smokes,” he said.

Then we watched the Murphy kid shot for no reason. Him just standing there, hand in pocket. And in six months’ time, he was robbed three times by the very people he was staying for. He watched the bank man tap up the notice.

“I didn’t sell,” he said.


150 words

This particular story was inspired by the history feature of Google maps. As I time traveled back to 2007, a story unfolded. Ultimately, I was not very happy with how my version turned out. It’s one of those stories Google Maps can tell better than I.

551 Fulton Street, Baltimore MD, circa 2007 © Google Maps

551 Fulton Street, Baltimore MD, circa 2009 © Google Maps

551 Fulton Street, Baltimore MD, circa 2011 © Google Maps | Note the memorial on the telephone pole

 

551 Fulton Street, Baltimore MD, circa 2014 © Google Maps

 

551 Fulton Street, Baltimore MD, circa 2016 (Still in business) © Google Maps


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551 Fulton Street, Baltimore MD, circa 2017 © Google Maps | Note the notice of foreclosure tacked on.

 

551 N. Fulton Avenue, Baltimore MD | July 2018 Zillow Listing

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.

The Rewards of Perfectionism

PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes

PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes

As kids we hated going there. Mary once shattered a Wedgewood vase and you should’ve heard Uncle wail. Everything had to be perfect. When we were old enough, we’d always find an excuse not to go, ‘cause what kid wants to spend a month of summer wearing white and sitting hands-on-lap. and watch the old man take tea from the sterling service? I couldn’t remember the last time I went. Which was why it surprised me.

Augustus swept one arm at ceremoniously at the Rambler and handed me the key with the other.  “It’s yours now, sir.”

It was perfect.

100 words

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the gracious and talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo prompt courtesy the gracious and talented Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction fame 🙂

To read more flash fiction or to submit your own click the blue froggy button.

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As a side-note–I recall this picture from last February but I can’t locate it on my blog so I’m not sure if I posted a story or not. I vaguely remember writing one but sometimes they don’t make it to the blog.

 

In Real Life

Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction

 

The first thing he noticed was the cold.

 

The last thing he remembered was Ashlee. She was every bit the beauty her profile pic had suggested, with a banner of sienna hair pulled to one side and gamine features that put him in mind of the sprites in his Elfscape game.

He watched her scan the lobby, his heart poised to pounce out of his chest. Would she see him? And if she did, would she turn around and leave?

Just then, her eyes lit upon him and a perfect smile broke free from her croissant lips. She started for him, her long legs mirrored against the marble floor as she walked. With her came the scent of jasmine and the smell of something different. Something clean.

He held out a hand to shake hers—not knowing if that’s what one did on these things—if that was the customary greeting when people finally met in real life.

She warmly clasped his hand and brought her other hand around to cup his forearm. She tilted up and breathed into his ear: “Shall we have a drink first?”

 

He woke up Sunday, in a bathtub of ice.

This has been an edition of Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Al Forbes. To read more flash fiction or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button.


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A Couple of Live Ones

Integraton, Landers, California

Integraton, Landers, California

“Names please?”

“Hanson. Bob and Betty Hanson.”

The receptionist squinted at her monitor and then looked up. “From Duluth?”

“Right, that’s us.”

“How lovely. May I have your credit card please?”

Betty fumbled in her carry-on for the Visa. The receptionist swiped it and swiveled the monitor around. “I’ll just need your PIN.”

Bob and Betty shared a look. “But I–” Bob said.

“It’s customary,” the receptionist interrupted smoothly. “You want the treatment, right?”

Bob grumbled and entered the number.

“You’re all set then. You’ll want to disrobe in the changing area. Leave all your clothes and personal items in the baskets. Then, proceed down the curved hallway to the chamber. Once inside, lie down and put your blindfold in place.”

Betty shouldered her bag and the pair toddled down the hallway. As the changing door closed, the receptionist hit the intercom. “Got a couple of live ones for you, Benny.”

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more flash fiction inspired by the location or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button.

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The Three Bears

Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction

“I won’t, Mummy.”

“Darling, please. We can’t. Not today. Mummy doesn’t get paid til Friday.”

“If I can’t have it I’ll scream. I’ll know you don’t love me.”

“Oh, precious. Mummy loves you very much. Look, we’re getting the bear.” She flipped the tag to check the price and handed it to the boy. He hugged it close and pressed his face into the fluffy white fur.

It would be fine, she supposed, smiling. There was a bone of beef in the freezer to make a broth. She could stop at the market for carrots and peas and perhaps some barley. And flour for bread. Her stomach lapped at the thought. Belly-filling meals for the pair of them for the next five days, if not hearty ones.

The boy looked up. “White bear says she wants the tan one,” he said. “She told me.”

She eyed the price tag. “Very well then.” There would be soup, but no bread, she decided.

He wrapped his arms around both bears and squeezed. She turned to go.

“But Mummy! I want the brown one too.”

She let out an exasperated sigh and tightened her stomach. “Very well then.”

There would be broth.

199 words

To read more flash fiction inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button:


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This has been an edition of Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by the gracious Al Forbes. Al has been generous enough to host this weekly 200 word fiction challenge in spite of ongoing health issues. He’s now asking for participants to submit pictures of their own in order to continue the challenge.

Al, Thanks for your generosity. I love the luxury of 200 words and the chance to share stories with this lovely group. Look for photos coming your way!