Category Archives: what pegman saw

The Measure of Success

Mahseer fish

Mahseer fish

The fourth dragon prince sat, his bare feet dangling from the dock. He had traveled the world and been educated in the finest schools, but in all his experience, there was no greater joy than the glimpse of the gold-plated scales of the mahseer from the depths of the Manas. It was good luck to see one.

Tomorrow he would be king, and he must be a good king.

He had learned much about the world, the industries and economies. Yet what was the measure of success? Was it wealth? Was it growth? For it seemed to him where there were riches, there was also poverty. No, there had to be a better measure.

And then he saw it in the same instant: the fish and the answer. Such was not the way of happiness. No happiness was a thing as contagious as cough, but as satisfying as ema datshi.

150 words

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

It’s great to see everyone this week! Looking forward to getting around and reading everyone’s stories.

When I selected Bhutan for the destination this week, I knew nothing about it. I was delighted by the things I learned, especially the Fourth Dragon King of Bhutan and the concept of Gross National Happiness.

What a Perfect House

3 Milch Court, Loxton, Australia | Google Maps

Charlotte hosed the garbage can out and wheeled it to the side of the garage. She made a face as she dried her hands. “Maybe we should hire out. These municipal sanitation workers…they just don’t care.”

“Charlotte, I’m—”

She gave me a sharp look. The words withered in my mouth. Instead, I followed her back into the garage, hands stuffed in my pocket. Would she ever forgive me? How could she, if we could never talk about it?

She fitted the recycling container into its niche and stared out the open garage door. “They’re not straight.”

“Excuse me?”

“The junipers. They’ve never been straight. I want to cut them down.”

I looked out at the landscaping, astonished. The neat spindles of evergreen along the property line had been one of the reasons we’d bought the place. That day, she’d clapped her hands, delighted. “What a perfect house,” she’d said.

150 words

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

A Common Tongue

Long John’s Showbar, Great Yarmouth, UK } Google Maps

He was a beef of a man, broad as a London bus with a jutting jaw. He eyed the tourists perched at the hightop across the pub. “What you think they be on about?”

“Americans.” The bartender shrugged. “Jollificeartions is me guess.”

The man nodded, brow asquiggle. “Putting on parts is me guess.”

“Aye, could be.” Both men turned to eye the three ladies.

“I got this,” the big man said at least. He lumbered toward them.

At the ladies’ table, his ale sloshed in the glass. “Ar yer orrite bor?”

The blonde’s mouth dropped open. The redhead turned to the brunette, whispering, “What did he say?”

The brunette squared her shoulders and shot him a bold look. “You want to shoot the breeze, fella?”

“Oy,” he said. He took a step back, then pivoted for the bar.

“Wha’d they say?”

“Cor blast me, brother. Was a loada ole squit!”

150 words

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

To understand this story, you might need this:

Norfolk dialect translator



Jen’s Tipples

People waiting for bus in front of empty business called Jen's Tipples

5 Clarendon Road, Portsmouth, England (2011-2012) | Google Maps

“I’ve had the most brilliant idea.”

Hugh sighed. Jen stood in the doorway, her red hair a frizzy halo from the light. “What is it, burd?” he asked, trying to keep his voice even.



“I’ll sell breakfast cereal.”

“You mean…like a Tesco?”

“No, saucer. A restaurant. A cereal restaurant.”

He cleared his throat. “Look, Jen—”

“You think I’m mental.”

“Of course not, love. It’s just that—”

“People are still lining up for my tipples, you know.”

wine shop in portsmouth 2009

5 Clarendon Road, Portsmouth, England (2009) | Google Maps

He gritted his teeth. Now was not the time to mention the reason they lined up was because it was a bus stop. If he’d learned nothing from being married for fifteen years, he’d learned to be careful. One wrong word and she’d be opening another women’s-only wine shop.

“Maybe it’s time we sell the property.”

Her eyes stared off. She nodded. “That’s it! We’ll sell property.”

5 Clarendon Road, Portsmouth, England (2014-2017) | Google Maps

147 words

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

This week I went time-traveling. Not being much of a historical buff, nor am I into nautical tales, I thought I’d tour Portsmouth as tourists do. I was in search of a place to get some fish & chips but instead wound up traveling back in time through Google’s location history feature and noticed this particular piece of property has had an interesting series of shops–from what appeared to be a women’s only wine shop, to the infamous Jen’s Tipples (never open that I can see), to what looked to be a storefront for a real estate website (now no longer in business). What it is now, I’m not sure–I’m waiting for that bus to pull away so I can see what’s on that now-aqua storefront.

PS “Tipples” are alcoholic drinks. At least I think so.


What Pegman Saw: Exile

shoreline in cuba

La Bajada, Cuba | Eleonora Vendetta, Google Maps


“I have a map, I’ll show it to you.”

While Mama ran to Father’s study, the girls eyed one another. It was Raquelin who spoke. “What will we do without them?”

Ana pressed her lips tight. With Father facing decades in prison, and Mama going into hiding, it was the only way. To keep the family together, they must first be wrenched apart.

She did not want to live somewhere else. She wanted to swim in the ocean, to feel the sea breeze. Cuba was her heart—its ocean, her soul. It was the first thing she saw when she flung open her shutters in the morning, and the last thing she heard at night.

When mama brought the map, Ana traced a finger around the shape of this ‘Iowa.’ There was no ocean there. There was no sea within a thousand kilometers.

How was a girl to live?

150 words

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

Inspired by the story of Cuban-born artist Ana Mendietawho was sent to live an an Iowa orphanage at age 12, following her father’s involvement in the Bay of Pigs.

Related image Mendieta said: “My exploration through my art of the relationship between myself and nature has been a clear result of my having been torn from my homeland during my adolescence. The making of my silueta in nature keeps (make) the transition between my homeland and my new home. It is a way of reclaiming my roots and becoming one with nature. Although the culture in which I live is part of me, my roots and cultural identity are a result of my Cuban heritage.


Let Nothing Come Between Us

Church in Santa Ana El Salvador

Santa Ana, El Salvador | Lopez Lopez, Google Maps

It was here we prayed. Rosibel held the infant, while the boy clung to my chest. The older children sat solemn upon the bench.

We’d come so far, but there were miles more to go. Miles of jungle, of desert, of plain. Catching trains when we were able, walking when we couldn’t, and every day facing bottomless hunger, endless thirst, and the banditos that preyed upon the desperate such as we were.

It was still better than what we risked by staying in San Salvador. Ivanito shifted in my lap. He was but three, but he would never know a gang initiation, or to have to murder another man just to stay alive. Our kids would live a good life.

We were hard workers, Rosibel and I. We’d keep them safe. I breathed the scent of Ivanito’s hair and pressed my lips to his head.

Let nothing come between us.

150 words

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

The Smallest of Things

Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment } Erik Sundell, Google Maps

They weren’t just whales. That was the first thing she would let them know in her speech today. They had cultures: distinct ways of socializing and hunting. They had their own languages and each pod had a distinct accent.

They were individuals.

They were Granny, a twenty-one foot female with a frayed tail that watched over her daughters’ young like a midwife, and once took on a trio of great whites like a gladiator. They were Tika, a large male with a gnawed dorsal fin, who was known for trailing sailors around the cape to play in their wake.

They had personalities. They felt joy, they felt sorrow, they felt love.

She had to let them know this—and everything about them—and how very much it mattered. Because if she couldn’t save them—these whales—these great and magnificent creatures—what hope was there for the smallest of things?

150 words

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

Today (June 15, 2019) is Orca Day in Cape Disappointment State Park, so if you’re in the area, head on over! Cape Disappointment hosts inaugural ‘Orca Day’

At present, there are 76 southern resident orcas. With such low numbers, orcas face extinction within 100 years.