The Thief

Posted: September 16, 2017 in What Pegman Saw
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Today What Pegman Saw took us to St. Petersburg, Russia. After strolling the streets I found the church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood – per our fearless leader’s suggestion. The exterior reminded me of a woman dressed in her finest clothes. Here is her story in 150-words.

The mirror reflects:
1) dress made of midnight blue silk
2) six gold chains; three turquoise rings
3) shoes made of the softest leather
4) elaborate curls the color of an autumn sunset
5) peach-pink cheeks; garnet-colored eyes
Oksana is ready

Oksana sees:
1) a liar – not her
2) a cheat – not her either
3) a thief – this almost applies

What Evgeny reads in the Sovetsky Sakhalin newspaper dated October 23rd, 1925:
Oksana Petrov found floating in Grboyedov Canal at 3:00 am this morning, had this note along with five heavy stones in the pocket of her ermine cape.

None can live inside the shadow of a man who serves words meant to cover the truth. Neither can they live wondering who has been cheated so that same man may be surrounded by wealth beyond all imagining. To this man, I say, “I am taking my life back.” You will consider it stealing. On the contrary – you never owned me.

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The Gift

Posted: September 13, 2017 in Friday Fictioneers
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Been on a bus fifteen days, following my dream to tour the U.S. of A. Course my dream wasn’t set on a bus of screaming children and women who won’t stop talking. Neither was I going to be seventy-five and homeless. But the world hands you rotten apples and you make do.

My hair looks a fright, clothes are dirty and I smell a bit, probably why the waitress at the bus-stop lunch-counter is giving me the stink eye. She reaches for a plate, slaps something on it, slides it down the counter.

I’ll be damned! Toast with a smiley face.

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Sad History

Posted: September 1, 2017 in What Pegman Saw
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Today Pegman took us to Poisson-Blanc, Quebec. I scrolled around and found a man holding a half-fish! This is what happened next.

Long ago our sons,
tangles of muscle, brain
laughter and kindness
used two-foot long arrows
to fell stags with antlers
large enough to support
every wall of our homes

Our daughters
slim, strong
and
more beautiful than a
single
crimson
rose
hooked fish as long as their arms

Then you came
with armies and inventions
and words that meant
everything
everything
everything
before they simply meant nothing at all

You gave us
automobiles, planes
and power plants powered by poison
while we shared our bounty
and welcomed you into our homes

Look what happened
Look!
Now!
and, finally, look again

With every landslide
earthquake and change of tide
we
the original people
pay the consequences while
you
the intruder
move on
with a bag full of a thousand empty promises

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I’s been workin’ in Massah’s garden over forty years. Planted beans, corn, rutabagas, watermelon.
Raised his childrens and his chickens. Only rung the necks of dem birds, though I wanted to kill dem boys most every day.
They was mean little ones and downright nasty as growed menfolk.
Killin all kinds of things cause they could.
I drew one big ol line when they shot my man; sold our baby girl.
Luckily no one ever checked the plantings. Deadly Night Shade grows over der in dat corner.
Now dem boys serve as fertilizer, though most peoples think dey be servin in the da war.

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Photo by Jan Wayne Fields

Berit built a home from thin slivers of glacial ice cut from the exact center of Gígjökull. Two albino Savannah cats kept the inside warm; two thousand fireflies lit the pathway to her door. The pantry was laden with starfish, and eel, skua eggs, and sun-dried kelp. Lavender leaves collected down by the sea scented the bed sheets of five small beds. The echo of children’s laughter filled Berit’s ears, visions of sweet faces formed a ring around her heart. Exile meant nothing if King Jostien kept his promise. Berit waited two hundred years.

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Today Pegman took us to Wroclaw, Poland. I found this jolly Christmas village in the Magnolia Park Mall. In my mind, this tale started fairly fun before taking a dark turn. Sign of the times? Perhaps.

Let’s say that just this once Mikolaj loves Christmas. We’ll pretend Cecylia hasn’t left him and he has one last chance to buy gifts for their children. One boy. One girl.
Maybe not. Maybe Cecylia never had children and she spends all her time in the bedroom wondering why and her tears cause Mikolaj to run to Magnolia Park, the horrible mall at the center of Wroclaw, and he fights the crowds to buy his wife teddy bears, slippers, and her favorite perfume. Anything to slide under the tree to stop the crying.
Or perhaps our Mikolaj isn’t married. Maybe his parents fought all the time and he never wanted a life like that. Or they loved so deeply he knew, absolutely, he couldn’t have a life like theirs so didn’t even try.
In the end, let’s say his parents died in Auschwitz on Christmas day and Mikolaj was never born.

(150-words)

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I fashioned this story for Friday Fictioneers from a Native American prayer my sister copied down for me while our mother was in hospice. It now hangs on the wall beside my writing desk. I find the words very gentle and soothing.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“When you need me, I’ll be there.”
“Where, Mama?”
“In a warm wind that blows your hair; the diamond glitter on snow.”
“But I want to touch you. Smell you. Give you kisses and hugs.”
“Oh, baby, you can. Feel me in a soft summer rain. Smell the earth. Listen to the whir of a thousand dove wings in circled flight. Look for me in each new dawn. And every brilliant sunset.”
“But where will you actually be, Mama? Where?”
“Oh, baby, I will be inside you, draped around your heart. Do not think of me as gone.”

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