Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

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.

“Cereal.”

“What?”

“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: A Second Opinion

Kumiko Guest House, Varanasi | Martin Yao, Google Maps

“They say he is the best astrologer in all of Varanasi. In all of India, perhaps.”

The politician let out an exasperated breath and stared up the long flight of stairs. The astrologer’s office waited at the top. “But is he better?” he growled. “Better than all the rest?”

They both knew what the other astrologers were saying: that the only thing certain in the upcoming elections was change.

“You can always choose to ignore them, Narendra. Many of the youth say it’s time to leave the old ways behind. Chart our own course.”

“Nonsense.” He’d relied on astrologers in developing policy decisions from terrorism to Pakistan. The fact that he’d aspired to office at all was due to chance reading as a boy. He grumbled, leaning on his cane as he and started up the stairs. “I just need an astrologer to give me better news.”

147 words

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

Inspired by: Varanasi astrologers predict instability in politics and this awesome photograph I uncovered at OldIndianphotos.in.

Source: University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, OldIndianPhotos.in

We Portlanders

Somewhere in Portland, Oregon | Scooter Mc Quades
Who’s Got Game? Google Maps

At first it was some sort of a joke, like ‘Florida Man’, except it was us…we, Portlanders.

Portlanders ban single use plastic bags.

The news hawks swept in, made us seem like clog-wearing hippies wearing tie-dye tees.

Portlanders vote yes to zero landfill.

Suit-clad newscasters smirked and showed footage of beard-sporting hipsters sipping organic free-trade. “That’ll never last,” they said.

Portlanders go zero emission.

The pundits waved their hands, said it wasn’t practical. They said since legalizing weed, we Portlanders had abandoned all reason.

When our Oregon senator brought the Portland Bill, which banned lobbyists from making campaign donations and completely rewrote campaign finance law, the senate floor erupted. “There’s no way,” they said. But maybe they were more worried about reelection without their coal lobby and billionaire funds.

Portlanders lead the country into renewable energy.

They called it a joke, a trope, a cliché, but we did it—we: Portlanders.

150 words

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

Apologies for not participating the past few weeks. I have been studying for a certification exam (which I passed!).

I love Portland, but when I picked it for a location for Pegman this week, I never imagined I’d have such a hard time of it. Some of my favorite things are associated with Portland… forests, ferns, moss, coffee…Lewis & Clark, bigfoot, and of course my husband J. Hardy Carroll. But when I saw this picture with the Subaru outside, I got hung up on the cliche of Portland.

Anyone who knows Portland or has watched Portlandia knows what I’m talking about. For some reason this glitch got me thinking about the legend that is Florida Man–and this story was born. Call it sci-fi-satire-cliche, I guess. But with a happy ending, because the world is saved!

Have a most wonderful week & thanks for reading.

Karen

The Rewards of Persistence and the Benefits of Good Friends.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York | John Smith, Google Maps

“Just think. This time next year you’ll be in Iowa,” Charlie grinned. “I-o-wa,” he repeated, making it sound like a foreign country.

I hadn’t told him yet. The rejection from the Writers’ Workshop had come in the mail yesterday. I added it to my growing stack of MFA rejections. “I’ve been thinking it over. Maybe the world doesn’t need another New York City writer. Maybe I’ll just go back to the brokerage.”

“Brokerage,” he spat. “Are you crazy? You’ve got stories to tell.”

I kicked at the ground. “See, that’s the thing. Maybe all the stories have been told.”

“Nah. What’s that they say—that there are only six different plots.”

“Seven.”

“Seven, then. Only seven different plots and this world still hasn’t run out of ways of telling them.” He stepped closer, pressing a forefinger to my chest. “But there’s one way that’s missing.”

Beneath his finger, my heart beat on.

150 words

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

 

Revolution Songs

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds | Алекс Тевтонский Google Maps

We were young then. Idealistic. We were braver, we were better, we were united.

Jüri stood in the empty field, stiff wind ruffling his graying hair, his cigarette smoke swept east by the wind. East to Russia.

“It seems so empty now,” I said to fill the quiet. I remember when we came all those many years ago, the pair of us in his old VW, all the way from Võru.

Jüri turned to me and nodded.

Back then more than 300,000 had come to Tallinn Song Festival Grounds to sing. Journalists wrote, activists spoke, singers wrote songs, and by September 1988, a fifth of the nation came together to sing for Estonian values. The Singing Revolution, they called it. We made history together, Jüri and I.

But now the rumblings come again. To outsiders, Estonia is but a pawn on their strategic chessboard. They underestimate the power of our song.

149 words

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

If you’re interested in the real-life inspiration for this fictional story, you might enjoy 30 years since the most important Singing Revolution concert.

I apologize for being late to the party! Here in Iowa, we’ve been dealing with snowstorms and shoveling, school cancellations and polar vortexes. Only in Iowa does kids’ show choir go on while everything else is cancelled.

Bless Your Heart

Southern-style mansion with columns

My future mother-in-law showed up at the bridal salon forty minutes late, reeking of Blanton’s. Our eyes met in the paneled mirror of the dressing area: mine wide, hers red.

“You’re wearing white? Well bless your heart,” she said.

“So what did she say?” my fiancé asked that night in bed.

“Bless your heart,” I told him. “That’s good, isn’t it?”

It isn’t, I discovered when we moved to Georgia two years later. My mother-in-law now lived close enough to pop her head in my kitchen at will.

“Sweet potato pie,” she said, showing up drunk for dinner. Again. “Did you get that recipe online? Bless your heart.”

Two more years, three hundred recipes. I picked up the drawl, I mastered peach pie. I could brew a mint julep like Faulkner’s ghost.

I caught her in the kitchen pouring a fourth. I smirked. “Well, well. Enjoying my julep? Bless your heart.”

151 words

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

I have to confess this might be one of my least favorite stories. I wanted to have some fun with the iconic loaded southern saying “Bless your heart”, which more often than not means something very different than the words imply. I wasn’t sure how to get across the different nuances in such a short word count. I also have to confess that my head is deep in the revisions of my third novel and it was tough to shift gears. But here I am, and in the spirit of abandoning any pretense of good storytelling, I humbly offer my contribution to Pegman this week. Bless my heart.

But, I am looking forward to reading all of yours!

Cheers and thanks for reading.

The Stakeout

Janta Stores Bandra West, Mumbai, India | © Support Direct India Google Maps

Rehana smiled for the first time in seventeen days. It was him. She’d know him anywhere: the thin lips, the heavy brow, the eyes cold as kadappa stone.

He was standing outside the ATM vestibule, his eyes darting up and down the street. Not only was he back, he was setting a trap for another victim.

Her throat tightened as she remembered the day. What a nice man, she’d thought. That day, she left with a friendly wave. It wasn’t until she got to work she realized his friendliness was a ruse to lift ₹10,000 from her account.

No one scams Rehana Shaikh. At least not again.

She’d gone back to the store across from the ATM every day for seventeen days waiting for him. Waiting for justice. The police had merely shrugged at her initial report. “Nothing we can do.”

They wouldn’t be able to say that now.

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.

Inspired by real events: Mumbai woman visits same ATM everyday for 17 days, catches man who duped her