Tag Archives: #whatpegmansaw

Like Forbidden Fruit

Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma | Google Maps

Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma | Google Maps

She had seen him before. He was one of the pretty ones, broad of shoulder and slim of waist. He had almond eyes and high cheeks, but it was his lips she thought of the most. She wondered how they’d taste. She wondered what it would be like to kiss them.

Would it be different than kissing a white boy? The thought sparkled like a sky full of stars under a new moon. Milky way stars. But instead of Clarence’s face huffing over her, drops of July sweat dripping down, it would be this boy, this beautiful boy.

She realized as he boarded the elevator that she didn’t even know his name. She only knew she had to know once and for all how those lips tasted.

He walked to the back. He stood at one corner, eyes looking down. She smiled and closed the elevator door.

147 words

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

No one can say for sure what happened in the elevator between Dick Rowland and Sarah Page, the pair whose encounter launched the controversy and violence that was the Tulsa massacre. I went through many possible permutations in my mind, most of which I didn’t want to write, since neither of them can speak for themselves. Not exactly thrilled with this one either, but it’s hard not to wonder what really happened that day. 

Helene in a Fur Coat

The Fur ("Het Pelsken") by Peter Paul Rubens, 1630s

“Let it slip from your shoulder my kleine bruid.”

Helene blushed. The negotiations had begun an hour ago, leaving her petticoats in a pile on the divan, her corset slung over the chair, and her red dress on the floor beneath her like a rug. Only the fur was left.

“But husband, people will see this painting. The Janssens. The Duponts. The mayor.” Her breath hung in a cloud in the chilly studio.

He tilted around the easel to peer at her. “Indeed. And when the Lady Janssens’s raven tresses have gone gray, when the mayor’s bones have turned to dust in his grave, and when the mortar has crumbled on the Dupont château, and the last stone falls, you will still be fresh as dew. You will forever be the meadow bloom of the sweetest May morning. You will be immortal.”

She let the coat fall to her waist.

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.

Rubens spent the last ten years of his life in Belgium, where this photo of his second wife was painted. This was my attempt to decipher curious mix of wonder and triumph in her face.

The Last Ghost

Htauk Kyant War Memorial Cemetery  Yaozai Huang

Htauk Kyant War Memorial Cemetery, Myanmar | Yaozai Huang, Google Maps

He woke up, the bed sheets damp beneath him. He sat up. Outside, the full moon glared through the window.

Some dreams fell away upon waking like a child’s sandcastle at high tide. But some dreams perch at the foot of one’s bed like a fishwife.

When they’d relocated the ghosts from Tatkon, he’d known it would be challenging. Ghosts, as a rule, were difficult—always wanting to ride front, and often playing pranks with the vehicle’s electrical system. They were vain, they were tricksters, they were quick to take offense. But the worst thing you could do to a ghost was forget it.

He pushed the covers aside and reached for his pants. He must call the natsaya. They must get to the cemetery immediately.

126 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 What Happened to Myanmar’s Ghosts. Apparently, in Myanmar, ghost relocation is a thing!

What Pegman Saw: Marie

BSA Big Munson Island – Front Yard – Sargassum Beach CTS | Peter Khor

“Look, it’s a sea cucumber.” She grinned, a fisherman’s net of wrinkles cast across each cheek.

Before I could wade my way out, she’d lowered the creature into the shallows and let it rest in the sea grass. Then she was off, squinting up at the sun before splashing into another inlet, her bare legs freckled with age. She sported a skirted-swimming suit and a hat with a brim wider than Calusa Beach.

I could barely keep up with her. She knew the name of every sea star and prickly urchin that ever stitched its way through the shoals of Coupon Bight. She pulled up each kind in turn, greeting them like snowbirds in November, turning their bellies up to marvel at their workings.

“Once I had a nurse shark swim right between my legs,” she said for no reason.

She had a million stories and I believed them all.

150 words

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

This little vignette was inspired by my former mother-in-law, a woman as fearless as she is joyful. The woman has a Carolina drawl sweeter than southern comfort and twice as intoxicating. What a delightful woman, I miss her still.

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.

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.

 

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.