The Day We Took Mom to Shady Rest

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“I’m fine. Don’t be silly,” Mom said.

Paul shot a skeptical look over her head. He’d been after me for months to come out and see how she was doing.

“What did you have to eat today?” I asked.

“Oh, the usual. Yogurt and some strawberries from the garden.”

I gave Paul a triumphant look.

“Say, can you get Mom’s walker?” he said, emphasizing the word walker like an indictment.

“Where is it, Mom?”

“It’s in my trunk, dear.”

I walked through her tidy kitchen and into the garage. Which was when I saw her crumpled car. And the blood.

100 words

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented and generous Rochelle Wisoff Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Rochelle-and I hope everyone’s okay!

To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

After doing Pegman for awhile, I got used to the luxury of more than 100 words. This was a challenge!

The Kwan Factor

Sunday Photo Fiction prompt courtesy Al Forbes.

This week’s prompt was so inspiring, I wrote a 96,000 word novel about it. Then, through rigorous editing, I whittled it down to 199. I haven’t done Sunday Photo Fiction for awhile, mainly because my writing time has been consumed with this crazy novel. First draft is officially behind me and I’m presently rolling up my sleeves to tackle revisions.

So, contrary to literary agent advice, here’s an excerpt.

My Kwan factor was 55, which wasn’t awful. I mean it’s not like I scored 19 like some reclusive gamefreak nerd boy. And I could’ve just changed it, if that sort of thing mattered to me.

So you know in all those zombie movies, how the undead shuffle around all slow-motion, in some otherwise normal setting like a mall or airport? Well that’s what the Westdale cafeteria is like at lunchtime. Anyone with prospects goes off-campus. What’s left in the cafeteria are The Damned: loners, underclassmen, otherwise toxic untouchables. And today, Dug and me. Me, because I’d spent twenty minutes after Practical Programming talking to Mr. Dozer, and Dug because he was nice enough to wait around for me.

“Go ahead, download it Dug. Everyone else has,” I said.

‘Everyone’ was really only 112 out of the eighteen-hundred students at Westdale. But, considering all the other student apps had a grand total of eight downloads, 112 was practically viral.

“What’s it do again?”

Kali Walker’s Acclaim Numerator, aka the Kwan app, was many things: extra credit for Practical Programming. My own secret spy utility, for another. But for everyone else, it was simple: “It tells you your popularity rank.”

199 words. Many kind thanks to Al Forbes for hosting Sunday Photo Fiction & thanks readers for stopping by. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click here.


One Man’s View of Heaven

Yorkshire Dales

After the war, he stayed in Yorkshire. For a while, he toured about, staying at inns and tipping ale, up until the day he met the shepherd.

“So I see you made it,” said the shepherd, which had seemed an odd thing to say at the time.

They’d passed a few days, or maybe it was weeks, at the shepherd’s cottage, just talking. He’d told the shepherd about Emily, and the boy back home, and how he knew he should return, but for some reason just couldn’t.

The shepherd understood. “You can stay here,” he said. “Watch the flock.”

And so the man did, and the days passed to years, and the years to decades, until the day he saw her: Emily, walking up the path. He hurried down to meet her. She was every bit the beauty he’d left behind that day on the dock.

“What are you doing here?”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a weekly location-based fiction prompt. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.



“Remember when we broke into Union Station?”

“Oh gawd.”

“You guys broke into Union Station?”

“It was forty below. We were cold.”

“How does that even happen?”

“It was New Years Eve. It was Stacey’s bright idea to take the train. What year was that?”

“’92? ’93?”


“Remember what we did then?”

“What did you do then?”

“Well. Todd tried to call a cab, which didn’t work. So then Rob called 9-1-1, which apparently had no interest in the fact that we’d just broken into Union Station.”

“Then what?”

“For awhile we did wheelchair races. Then we found the stairs and re-enacted The Untouchables.”


“There’s this famous move scene where Elliot Ness is in this big shootout. Then the cops showed up. The real cops.”

“Wow. How do you top that?”

“Tell him about the hotpants in Lincoln Park. Go ahead, tell him.”

“We are NOT talking about that.”

150 words

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

Excuse the trip down memory lane. I have so many Chicago memories, but this is a favorite.

PS Mom, did I ever mention this?

PPS To those of you who see the InLinks–OMW the hair. My hair was as big as I was. What was I thinking?

Sail Away With Me

“Sail the Pacific with me, boys,” he said. “We’ll see exotic places. Places you only dreamed of.”

The old man always talked of such things, but in 1982 we took him up on it. My cousin Randy and I set off on Gramps’s fifty-foot schooner.

I thought it meant snorkeling the legendary Jellyfish Lake in Palau. I thought it meant climbing to the lip of Bromo in Java. I thought it meant long, lazy afternoons sipping umbrella-shaded drinks on black sand beaches on Maui.

Instead it meant days spent staring mindlessly at featureless expanses of marlin-blue ocean, the sea air rustling past my sunburned ears—interrupted only by Grandpa’s tours.

“That, boys, is a genuine M3 Sherman tank,” he said. He spryly climbed aboard the rusting piece of machinery and proceeded to explain how it worked.

Randy nodded, red-eyed and completely stoned. I was going to start getting stoned too.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories or to submit your own, .

The Things He Says

“That’s where I raised my kids,” he said, pointing at the five-story construction project. Max was always saying things like that. Strange things, inexplicable things. Haunting things. Like the time he pointed to the underside of his toy airplane and explained where the bombs went, and how the compartment where the man sat was very, very small.

I cleared my throat and smiled at him in the rearview: my bright-eyed boy in the safety seat, his plump legs jutting out, his bright sneakers bouncing to the bumps in the road.

“Is that so?” I asked.

“Oh yes. Will Daisy Towne have a swing set?”

“Yes they do, honey. They’ve got swing sets, and slides and maybe even a seesaw.”

“What’s a seesaw?”

I realized he’d probably never seen one. The park by our flat didn’t have one, so I explained what it was.

“Oh I remember those,” he said, nodding.

150 words.

Crazy, right? Okay, an explanation:

As I strolled down the street, in that surging, lurching way that one travels in streetview–where destinations never seem to get any closer until suddenly they’re gone–I had the weirdest moment. The tidy redstone church I was heading for turned  covered in scaffolding, and then it was gone and I wound up in front of this, what you see above. There I was, tripping and skipping through space and time and unable to find my way back. And then for no reason, I remembered the strange things my son used say when he was little, and then this story happened.

I think it has something to do with the fact I devoured a season of Legion last week.

I’m sure I missed a fabulous opportunity to bone up on New Zealand but I just wasn’t feeling it today. So, instead I offer the above story, the spirit of complete non-sequitor, proving that inspiration can be whatever you want to do it it.

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


WARNING: If you want to watch Game of Thrones, but haven’t yet, major spoilers follow, so don’t read this post. And if you have no desire to watch Game of Thrones, hopefully you will still enjoy the story.

“Khal Drogo dies in the first season, you know.”

“I know. I said pretend.”

“Well it wouldn’t be accurate. Plus, he was never here.”

“Okay, fine. We can do Jon Snow and Ygritte. At fairy pond we were at yesterday? Romantic, am I right?”

“She’s dead too.”

“If you’re not careful, I’ll make you be Tyrion again.”

“Lord, anything but that. Okay fine, I’ll be whoever you want me to be: Khal Drogo. Jon Snow. Jaime Lannister?” He jiggled his eyebrows at the last one.

“That would make me Cersei and no thanks.”

“Now who’s not being open minded?”

“You are Khal, and I am Khalessi and our boat has landed on the shores of King’s Landing and we shall fall upon the walkway and make love.”’

He pressed her closer against the ancient stone wall and ran a hand up her leg.

“Wait,” she said. “I think someone’s coming.”

150 words

Written for What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.