It’s the Neutrinos

Antarctica

“I’m telling you, he’s lost it.”

“Who?”

“The physicist. The one with the crazy eyes and the brushfire of beard.”

“Are you talking about Keith?”

“I don’t know his name, man. I just know he’s crazy. He wants to kill every last one of us.”

“Does this have anything to do the fact you watched The Shining last night?”

“I’m telling you. He means to murder us. If you want to know why—I think it’s the neutrinos. I think they passed through his brain. Made him crazy.”

“You know neutrinos pass through all of us? Like all the time.”

“You going to do something or not?”

“Okay, well it wouldn’t be the first time a cuber went mad during winterover. What exactly did Keith say?”

“It wasn’t what he said. It’s what he thought. I heard it. It came right through my skull—like radio waves, or those…whatchamacallits.”

“Um, neutrinos?”

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.

In researching this story, I learned about the cubers, those hardy souls that endure six months of sunless skies and bottomless temperatures to overwinter in one of the most remote locations in the world. To learn more about the scientists, artists and other dedicated individuals who work at the IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory visit http://icecube.wisc.edu. Their weekly journal is fascinating: http://icecube.wisc.edu/news/current. Turns out watching The Shining is an overwinter tradition.

As always, thanks for reading!

What Every Hero Knows

PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb

When Avarit stole the stars, the people shrugged.

“We’ve still got the moon,” they said.

But Vagus worried. What if the moon was next? Or the sun?

“I know where Avarit lives,” Vagus said, for he’d seen it in a dream. A forest, a tower, and the stars in a jar on a window ledge.

The people laughed, but Vagus knew that Avarit had taken things before: like nobkins and gillyfish. And Avarit would never stop until he had it all.

That night, Vagus stared up at the bottomless black and knew: any journey worth taking was worth taking alone.

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the amazing Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Janet Webb.

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

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Thanks for reading!

 

The Love Man

Bogota, Columbia

Hombreamor pedaled on, whistling.

Mateo watched from the doorframe of the muffler shop, then turned to spit on the sidewalk. “El hombre esta loco,” he muttered as he turned back in.

Filipe looked up and caught sight of the flower seller as he vanished into the crowd. “People say that, it is true,” he said. “Why do you say it?”

Mateo’s mouth turned bitter. He tipped his head at the street. “A boy was murdered out there—just yesterday. Left in a pool of blood. And yet that man is smiling. Always smiling.”

Filipe nodded. It was said the boy picked the wrong pocket to pick. But it did not take much in Los Martires, where men were murdered, women raped, and children vanished. Such was life here. “Sufrimos. Es verdad.”

“So you agree then, the man is crazy.”

“No, my friend. He smiles, because even here—there is love.”

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.

13 Lennéstraße, Berlin

‘Stratos Kitchen Showroom’ my bum. Have you ever once witnessed a single person going in or out of there? Sure there are kitchen displays on the storefront, but did you look up? Every single window clad in black. Tell me that’s not dodgy.

Google your maps and you’ll see. Place fuzzed out the way governments put Google to blurry out their air bases. Look, I know those Germans are nutters for privacy. But this is a public place—a kitchen showroom. You get me? You’d think they’d want a fellow to know the place—to be able to find it. Place is never open either. Think about it. It’s a fiver from Tempelhofer Feld—and every chap knows what that place is about. Anyway, my point is, if you’re thinking about moving to Berlin, you’ve lost the plot, man. You’re begging for those Americans to run their mind control on you.

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.

About this story–yes, I’ve completely lost it. I started wandering the streets of Berlin and it didn’t take long to run into one of these crazy blurred out locations (actually there is a spot of one in the photo on the prompt). But of course my Go-To when I see something unexplained is to imagine all sorts of conspiracies. Turns out the explanation is much more simple: the Germans are crazy for privacy.  It also turns out there’s a town of 300,000 people in Germany that may or may not exist, and that Angela Merkel may or may not be a lizard person. Also, rather obviously, that my British dialect is rather dodgy. Oh well, it was fun going there.

As always, thanks for reading.

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.