Category Archives: what pegman saw

The End of Rational Thought

picture from google maps which appears to show people vanishing

Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego, Krakow, Poland | ©
Łukasz Pompa Google Maps

We were scientists, once. Then came the vanishings.

Epidemiologists called it a virus. They claimed some airborne illness afflicted the vanished on a sub-cellular level, causing their cells to spontaneously self-cannibalize. Physicists were split. Some insisted the vanished had slipped into an alternate dimension, while others talked of a warp in the space-time continuum. Psychologists tried to convince everyone it was mass hallucination, and said all we needed was a little therapy.

But me, I was an anthropologist, and I’ve grown to think there is an expiration date on reality. For a time, we worshipped gods of earth and climate, so at their mercy we were. Then we had the gods of laws and kindness—to get along as community grew. Once global, we worshipped science, believing every happening bound by reason.

And what we worship now, I cannot say. I just know I am a scientist no more.

149 words

This little bit of strangeness has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

Pretty strange, I know. Partially inspired by The Leftovers, partially inspired by a fevered dream from  The Cold From Hell. For the past ten days I have been getting my ass kicked by a non-fictional virus. Instead of making me disappear, it just makes me want to. I’m finally beginning to feel human today–food sounds good and I slept through the night without choking on my own snot. It’s good to be alive.

 

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.

 

 

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.

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

Another Way to Run

Stunning shot of the snake river in grand canyon

Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon | KeYang, Pixabay

The carabiners jingled on his backpack as the elevation flattened. He drank, the water sweeter than the finest whiskey. He wiped his mouth and smiled as he screwed on the lid. There was a time he would have laughed at that notion.

He’d been sober four years now. In 2014, he’d quit running from himself—casting aside the drink that had kept him from being a good husband. A good father. Instead, he focused on restoring his health, walking–more and more.

Last year he’d hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. The year before it was the Appalachian. This year it was Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim before heading to Switzerland for the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Deep in the canyon, the river laid bare eleven epochs of time—digging down, to the very core of it. Something in him nagged, and he began to wonder: was walking just another way to run?

149 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.

My husband and I hiked halfway down the canyon on our honeymoon. Completing the hike is definitely on my bucket list. It’s a stunning spot. One of my favorite places!

Truly sorry I have not been around much lately. I have been suffering from the most debilitating insomnia. I’ll fall asleep okay, but then wake up at 3:00, 2:00, sometimes even 12:30 am, and then be completely unable to get back to sleep.

Last night I slept 10 1/2 hours and it feels amazing. So amazing.