What Pegman Saw: The sound of metal on stone

Image: Google Street View

Aidee hadn’t noticed the guy in Speedos.

He and his friends had been looking at Didier’s new Jeep, a 2 litre turbocharged Wrangler, four wheel drive. Hakim had squinted at the faultless paintwork, one dusty foot resting on the other, spat his jealousy on the kerb. Golden paced, cursed his family, his bad fortune, temporarily forgetting he was a lazy degenerado who spent his days sitting on the couch with his hand down his shorts.

The sound of metal on stone made Aidee look to the pavement. A scalpel. The guy in Speedos turned, hands spread, two bloody vees yawning on his wrists.

The man looked at Aidee, right at him.

That face would wake Aidee for weeks, return years later when he was old and lost. It was the look of a being who’s heart still beats when the man inside is dead.

Aidee never saw a Jeep again without feeling sick.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that takes us around the world, courtesy of Google Street View. This week we visit Angola. See here to join in.

Notes

Portuguese is the main language spoken in Angola, hence degenerado which is Portuguese for degenerate.

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28 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: The sound of metal on stone

  1. When I saw the photo, my first thought was to wonder what the lone guy on the left was doing hidden behind that pillar. Apparently that was your idea too, although you went to a much darker place than I was headed! Great contrast between the mundane BS’ing of one group of guys compared to the existential crisis of the stranger so nearby. And wonderful descriptions, as always; I especially liked the bit about spitting his jealousy onto the curb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Joy. I was a little proud of that spitting line, I admit. I’m trying to think even more about wording, phrasing, imagining the scene deeply before I write, putting myself in the MCs shoes. A conscious effort to improve 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Okay, let me get this straight: the man had slit his wrists, committed suicide, as the best way out of his situation? Or not?
    It’s unusual that I don’t catch on to your intent, so I think I’m missing something here.

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    1. You got it right. The story isn’t so much about why the guy slits his wrist – we’ll never know – but from Aidee’s view, how he goes from chatting cars with his boys to seeing something so awful it sticks with him to old age. Sorry if it wasn’t clear – longer word count needed, so you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, that does limit us. But that’s the challenge.
        And my challenge today has been uploading the Google Photo to the Linkz page. The link is there, and the title, but it plain refused the piccie. Still … ho-hum-hey

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  3. A powerful concept with some pin-sharp description. I particularly liked the description of Golden as “a lazy degenerado who spent his days sitting on the couch with his hand down his shorts.” I could see him, and it was not a pretty sight!

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    1. Thank you very much Penny. I’m making a conscious effort to improve, to make my writing precise, exacting, avoiding cliche etc. I felt I’d become complacent in what I’m capable of. Glad some of the effort is paying off. Thanks again

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  4. I have to admit that I missed the guy in the photo when I first landed here to read your fiction.
    but then – after the first line – went back up and it was obvious!

    and the first few sentences together had me smiling
    because when I think of a man in a speedo – sometimes it has the credence of the ” turbocharged Wrangler, four wheel drive.” hahha

    anyhow, this was clever (and I read in the comment to Joy that you put some thought into phrasing and scene development and it paid off)
    you grabbed a social vein and many of us readers will join Aidee and possibly recall this realistic piece when we see certain Jeeps –

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  5. PS = just my opinion – I don’t think a longer word count was needed –
    and I do admit that sometimes I have to read the comments to see where some fiction writers are going – but I got your story – and experience – on first read

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  6. Visceral! I got your meaning but I wasn’t sure until I read the comments. So many lines to love–spitting his jealousy to the curb and the hand down his pants were among my favorites. So many emotions running through this one. Left me with a shudder.

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    1. Aw, thank you so much. I have been trying very hard to improve. I felt as if I was being complacent, as if I’d plateaued. So I’ve been taking a little online course, trying to work harder, dig deeper. So glad you picked up on that though. Thank you Jane 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No matter how good you are, there’s always room for improvement. I’ve been rereading some my poetry. Yuk! I think I need to follow your example and do an online course.

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      2. Well, I’ve found this one helpful, though they don’t cover poetry so it wouldn’t be any good for you. It cuts through the nonsense, though, and gives you practical advice on improving. I appreciate that as I’m so muddle headed, I find it hard to pin point things and get them straight in my head. I need other people to see the ‘bigger picture’ sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah, I know what you mean. A reread always throws up something you’d like to change doesn’t it? I make it a policy not to reread a story after I’ve sent it out to competition. I don’t want that ‘Oh no!’ moment hanging over me as I wait for a rejection! Picking up on the faults in your own work shows development, though. We’re learning from our own mistakes 🙂

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