What Pegman Saw in Mumbai

This week’s edition of “What Pegman Saw” takes place in Mumbai, India.  The challenge is to write a story of up to 150 words based on the photo.


Vihaan smiled as he walked through the former park.  He had succeeded—again—in winning a lucrative contract on his terms, leaving his competitors reeling.  Even after all these years, Vihaan still felt a thrill whenever he closed a deal.

Vihaan remembered bringing his son Avi to this park when he was little.  The landscape had been a lush green back then.  Now, it was a desolate patch of parched earth with decaying carcasses of the old rides littering the grounds.

They been poor back then, but those days are gone.  His wife Tanvi loved their luxurious home. She chose not to ask how he was able to do so well when everyone else was struggling.

Avi was more inquisitive, unfortunately.   After discovering the source of Vihaan’s wealth, Avi left home and never spoke to him again.

It was just a phase, Vihaan thought.  He’ll come back.  Surely, he’ll return.

(150 words)

I am here for you


This is my entry for this week’s What pegman saw, a writing prompt based on Google Streetview. Stories have to be 150 words or fewer.  This week’s location is the Red Square in Moscow. See here to join in and to read the other stories.


You did not think I would come here to find you, all the way to Moscow.  You thought you were safe.

Your sweet looks deceived me at first.  Like St. Basil’s Cathedral, your face was a swirl of colors: blue, yellow, red.  Like the cathedral with its swirls of frosting and candy cane stripes, you looked so cheerful, so playful, so harmless.

Ivan the Terrible commissioned St. Basil’s.  After its completion, Ivan had the architect blinded. That way, he could not replicate the design for anyone else.   I suppose that is a compliment of sorts.  Did you know that Ivan killed his own son in a fit of rage?

After the first time, you swore it would never happen again.  It was just because you were jealous.  Because you loved me so much.  Of course it happened again.

I am no longer blind.  I am here now. I am ready.




After the Integratron


Google Street View of Landers, California.


I met this guy named Tassel back in 1960 at a party.  I was young back then.  Trying to make it in Hollywood.   Tassel yammered on about geomagnetic this and ferromagnetic that.  I had no idea what he meant, but he was cute.

So I got in the car with him. We drove to the Mohave.  We climbed inside this building he called an “Integratron.”  He sat me down on this contraption and strapped me in.  I saw myself reflected in the opposite mirror. Kinky, I thought.   But all he did was press a few buttons and we were done. He drove me home. That was that.

As the years passed, my friends all changed: gray hair, flab, wrinkles.   But I remained the same.  I am 80.  But when I look in the mirror, I see the same reflection I saw in the Integratron in 1960.  I do not age.


This is the January 14 edition of  What Pegman Saw,  a flash fiction challenge based on a scene from Google Earth.  The story is limited to 150 words.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

get the InLinkz code



A Walk in the Ruins

This is my 150 word response to the Google prompt provided by What Pegman Saw.  The photo is of Shahi Qila, a ruined palace, in Burhanpur, India.

Google Street View of Burhhanpur

They say that Shah Jahan built the hamam (the royal bath) at Shahi Qila for his wife, Mumtaz, so that she could enjoy a luxurious, scented bath.  They say he decorated the hamam with paintings on honey comb work to match his wife’s beauty.  They say he was crazy in love with her.  They say my husband built a mid-century modern house for me.  They say I enjoyed the heated flooring, the steam shower and the French bidet of the bathroom.  I did.  Enjoy them.  They say that he was crazy in love with me.  They say that now he lives in a French Country with his new wife.  They say that he added a rose garden to match the beauty of his wife.  They say he is crazy in life with his wife.  They say the Shahi Qila is mostly in ruins now.  They say I am, too.


To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

Friday Fictioneers: Into the Night


She stopped to take a breath.  Where was she?  It was dark.  The rectangles of light leered at her.  She smelled urine.  A shadow started moving towards her, and she bolted. After running for six more blocks, she stopped again.  Her heart was pounding.  What should she do now?  Did anybody see her leave?  She had not meant to kill him.  She just wanted him to leave her alone.  How could she get out of it this time?  She started walking again and breathed.  She knew what she had to do.  She pulled out her phone and began to dial.


This 100-word story is my contribution to this week’s  Friday Fictioneers flash fiction challenge,  hosted by Rochelle at Addicted to Purple.  The story must be 100 words or fewer and it should be inspired by the photo provided.  This week’s photo was taken by Shaktiki Sharma


get the InLinkz code

At the Patriots’ Diner


This is my entry in Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Challenge.  The story has to be 100 words or fewer, based on this photo prompt by Roger Bultot.  Give it a try yourself!












These pancakes are soggy.  The eggs are cold.  There is something on this fork!  Get me another cup of coffee, would you, sweetheart?  What?  You don’t have avocado to go with the hamburger?  We have been waiting here for hours!  Is everyone here incompetent?  Give us a smile, honey.  You’d be pretty if you smiled.  This burger is overcooked.  Nice ass on that one.  I asked you for coffee an hour ago. Come on, honey.  Smile.  I meant it as a compliment.  Look, Kath!  That man just fell flat on his face.  How did that happen?

get the InLinkz code







Bonaparte, Iowa


This is my response to this week’s What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. K. Rawson posts a weekly challenge based on a Google Image.  The above photo is this week’s challenge: Bonaparte, Iowa.  The story has to have 150 or fewer words.


Good Parting

This was supposed to be our romantic getaway.  He said I would love Bonaparte, Iowa.  He said we would escape the stress of the city.  We would go antiquing.   We would buy pottery from local artists, eat wholesome food.  I believed him.

Just as I had believed him when we first met at Burke’s Used Bookstore.  He looked so handsome then, hunched over a paperback copy of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.  He campaigned hard to win me.  Who could withstand such a siege of charm?

I believed him when he said he would really leave his wife this time.  But that was before he took me to Bonaparte, Iowa.  Before we stayed in the hotel room with the green paisley wallpaper and the stained roller shade in the window.   I realized in Iowa it would be good to part.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own flash fiction, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.



Mondays Finish the Story, January 12 edition

The blog Mondays Finish the Story hosts a weekly flash fiction event. They provide a picture and the beginning of a story.  The challenge is to finish the story in 100-150 words.  See blog for more details.

Here is this week’s photo and first sentence:

2005-01-12 bw-beacham
2005-01-12 bw-beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “Racing down into the atmosphere, the unidentified object crashed, leaving behind one heck of a huge crater and a plume of smoke that could be seen from miles around.”

Here is my end of the story:

When he saw the object hurtling through space, Mark had instinctively dropped to the ground and curled up into a protective ball.  What seemed like hours later, he slowly raised his head and looked up at the gray haze. As he rose to his feet, he wiped off the mud that had splattered all over his hiking shorts and t-shirt.  Gingerly, he walked closer to crater, until he could see inside it.

“I can’t believe they really did it,” he thought to himself.  He had known there would be repercussions when he had backed out of the plan.  But he did not think they would actually try to kill him.




Happy Vibrations Sex Product

From the Beijing hotel room.
From the Beijing hotel room.
From the Beijing hotel room
From the Beijing hotel room

They were exhausted.  Travelling from their home to Beijing had taken more than 24 hours, and their lack of sleep had made them crabby.  In their hotel room, they found a mini-bar, a bottle of mineral water, a tin of mixed nuts, and a collection of sex products.

The woman looked closely at the condom collection while her husband lay sprawled on the bed.  “This one tingles!” she said.

Her husband just grunted.

“And look at this one,” she said.  “I wonder how the Happy Vibrations Sex Product works.”

He sighed irritably, “Just read the instructions and let me sleep.”


This post was in response to the 100 Word Challenge for Grownups hosted by Julia at her blog.

This week’s prompt was “Read the Instructions.”

100 Word Challenge for GRownups
100 Word Challenge for GRownups

Blog Hop II–The Name Game

As if one Blog Hop wasn’t enough for members of Team Pepper, our gracious host, Mark Bialczak has given us a new challenge with another, unique Blog Hop game – The Name Game.  I was nominated for this go-round by Lucy at The Excessive Gardener.

Thank you so much, Lucy!

Here Are the Rules:

  1. Write a paragraph or two about somebody from an ordinary walk of life with a unordinary name. It can either be a true story about somebody you know with that name, or a fictional piece about somebody with a name you made up.
  2. After you’re done posting your story, send me an email to markbialczak@gmail.com with your Blog Hop II, your blog name and either TRUE STORY or MADE IT UP in the subject line.
  3. Pick another Nano Poblano team member from the home page and tag them on their About page. Try to spread the wealth around from Fish of Gold’s original blog hop to start, but duplication is OK as the month rolls along.
  4. The writing cutoff is Nov. 28. By the end of Nov. 29, email to me at markbialczak@gmail.com a list with a guess of TRUE STORY or MADE UP for each post on the blog hop. Put Blog Hop II, Final Guesses in the subject line.
  5. The Nano Poblano team member with the most correct answers wins a special prize, which I will mail to them. That means you will have to email me your address if you win.
  6. Add your link to the chain of writers.
  7. Have fun.

My Story: 

I teach English at the college level.  Every year I meet several dozen new students and I have to remember their names.  The older I get, the harder this becomes, especially when I have to distinguish between all the Katrinas, Catherines, Katies, Christina, and Kristas, all of whom sit together, and all of whom have shoulder-length, dark blond hair.

A few years ago, I had one student whose name was easy to remember.  It was Franklin Norton Stein.  Most people called him “Frank,” so I immediately thought of him as Frank N. Stein (Frankenstein.)  I have to admit that for a long time, I had a hard time mustering enough self-control to keep from giggling whenever I called his name.  I usually called him “Franklin” rather than “Frank.”  That helped me keep the snickers under control.

Fortunately for Mr. Stein, he looked nothing at all like the Frankenstein monster.  Whereas the Frankenstein of popular imagination is large, bulky, and awkward, Franklin had wavy, shoulder-length hair.  (Now that I think of it, his hair was pretty similar to Katrina/Catherine/Katie/Christina/Krista’s hair.  Go figure.)  Franklin was not large; he was trim and muscular.  He moved gracefully.  In fact, I think I remember him telling me he liked Latin dancing.

I never told Franklin how funny I found his name and how hard it was for me to keep from laughing.  It sounds so unprofessional, I know.  I hope he’s not reading this now!

I will not reveal whether this story is real or made-up until the challenge is over.  However, I welcome you to say in the comments whether you think it’s real or made-up.  


Who has contributed so far?


Silver Threading

The Chatter Blog



Lucy at the Excessive gardener

And me DebraB at Debra Books

Now, I nominate