Archive for the ‘What Pegman Saw’ Category

Brothers

Posted: March 28, 2020 in What Pegman Saw
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Today, Pegman took us to Brasilia, Brazil. Thanks, Josh and Karen, for getting my writing mind back in gear!

Photo by Martin Karplus

Long ago, we needed no one. We had money and land, crops and livestock.
Women flocked to us. We were that handsome. That strong. That wealthy.
Children were conceived. Born. Or not. Many survived into old age. Others died playing the foolish games teenagers relish.
We mourned them before convincing our women to return to the connubial bed.

We picked our favorites. Both women and children. We favored male off-spring. Although we were aware a few girls were needed to keep our lineage viable.
If supplies grew low, we traded with neighboring tribes passing across our lands. Goats for girls. Or we stole as many girls as needed. Goats are precious.

Now, only I, Lucio, and my brother, Joaquim remain.
No goats, no children, women, or neighboring tribes.

We tell stories at night. We spar. We mourn parties with beautiful dancing women.
Most of all, we miss the laughter of children.

After last week’s dark post, I promised to write a light-hearted tale for Pegman who took us to Free State, South Africa this week. 147-words later, I think I’ve managed to do just that.

Life is good. Always.

Even in early spring when the weather turns hot and dry, and plants are dead or dormant, and supplies of autumn nuts are exhausted. In that season our people gather around permanent waterholes to hunt besbok and wildebeest that cannot range far from the receding waters. After rain replenishes the earth, ladies gather fruit, berries, bush onions. Children capture grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and moths to supplement the meat our men bring home.

Mornings are met with a smile. We know what is expected and band together to accomplish our tasks. Community is key.

Evenings bring peace. The world softens. We laugh and dance and make love in the shadows. Women pass babies from lap to lap so they know they are loved. No one shouts at the children. Ever.

Our lives may seem simple but we would never trade them for yours.

Postcards

Posted: January 11, 2020 in What Pegman Saw
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Today Pegman took us to Minsk. I’ve once again gone to the dark side because I’ve recently started a class about the Holocaust. Dark times. Dark story. On the other hand, Happy New Year, fellow Pegman Writers!

You send taunting postcards from AfricaChinaNorwayPortugal. Some signed MissYou, WishYouWereHere. Others WeWillVisitHereTogether-Someday. The worst say WeWillNeverSeeOneAnotherAgain. They arrive in a neverending mixed-up rotation I can’t process.
But this last postcard broke me. You are the one person who knows my parents were thrown into a ditch then shot by Schutzmannschaft in Minsk. You know, because, just as you shouldered your rifle you noticed me, legs shattered by a hail of bullets, clinging to my father’s chest.
For some godforsaken reason, you pulled me out of the mud. Hid me inside your coat. Gifted me to your wife who kept me as if I were a child of her own. You? You merely kept me.
Twenty years later I lie here, half a woman with a gun beside my bed while you travel the world with your mistress, and send postcards. Today, Herr Stein, I choose WeWillNeverSeeOneAnotherAgain.

Today Pegman took us to Aosta Valley, Italy. What a beautiful place!

Isabelle, something’s wrong with your Grandmother.
Why not call her Mother? What?
Look at her quilt. No pattern. The threads are all off-kilter.
For God’s sake, she’s already done Log Cabin, Flying Geese, Bear Paw. Leave her alone! Let her color outside the lines. Let her be.
It’s not like her. Do you think she has Alzheimer’s?
No more than you or I. Why don’t you ask her what she’s up to? Such beauty in the colors. The velvet textures. The silver thread. Look closely, Mother, look.

Come here, daughter.
I knew Grandma was listening.
See this zig-zag line?
Of course.
The road your father and I traveled to escape Aosta Valley during the war.
The unusual colors?
Unusual?
The colors of the mountains that sheltered our home.
This is . . . beautiful. But you’re scaring me.
Why? There’s a sweet memory in each stitch and every one leads to you.

It’s been a while since I took a trip with Pegman. I’ve missed the fun. I rarely read other author’s work before writing a story of my own, but I did this time and am glad. “Big Plans” is piggy-backed on Lynn Love’s story. Thanks, Lynn, for inspiring me. Happy Holidays!

Photo by: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com.

Do you see the boy? No, not the one in the red shirt, the other boy.
Oh, yes, the look in your eye tells me you see him now. His face is pleasing is it not?
When I grow up I will marry him and have at least six children.
We will live in a house made of red brick held together by fine-grained mortar flecked with gold.
Our garden will overflow with passion flowers and iridescent blue butterflies.

What? Impossible? Nothing is impossible.
I will not sell mangoes as Mother does.
Nor will I continue to mudlark while Father unloads ships on the dock.
For I have discovered what is in the containers being sent offshore.

I may be young but I am not ignorant.
The men who own those metal boxes will pay me to stay silent.
What? Indeed, they will pay me very, very well.

You drug me to this godforsaken place, promising renewal. Instead, I got a scrub board, and laundry hung outside to dry until it is so stiff cardboard would be more comfortable. Look what lye has done to my hands. Look.

Ah, my sweet, you were becoming too soft, too complacent. You rant at no longer having housemaids and gardeners but the money previously wasted on them now helps our village children – provides books, inoculations.

You purchase chickens for people we don’t know.

We have new friends who share food, stories, laughter.

I feel trapped. Water everywhere. Four rivers, an ocean. Mountains with unpronounceable names. The jungle. Take me home.

We leave tomorrow. A kiss.

Tomorrow? I will pack this instant. Oh, how I long to see New York. Thank you, my love, thank you.

Wait, you misunderstand. You and I are traveling deeper inside the jungle. Our help is needed elsewhere.

Bad Company

Posted: October 27, 2019 in What Pegman Saw
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This is my contribution to Pegman. What a creepy place the Overbrook Lunatic Asylum must have been. Thanks for reading my 147-word story.

Yeah Luke was a phantom all right sliding in and out of the gang like vapor from our pipes he’d smoke a little of this a lot of that then disappear come back clean and start all over again we didn’t mind he was funny brought bloom flakka krokodil crank disappeared for good one day that was o.k. we’d already decided he was crazy anyone that lived in the decrepit lunatic asylum had to be of course authorities didn’t know or they’d a booted him out every now and then one of us or all of us or three of us would go in there to hang ’cause being inside creeped us out James was the one who opened the drawer and found Luke wrapped in a straight jacket dead as any doornail with hyde tattooed on his forehead hell yes we scattered ain’t been back since