Ron’s Bait and Tackle stood beside Ellie’s Just for You for ten years.
Every Saturday, the men would go, furrow browed, into Ron’s to buy line, discuss the best place to catch salmon and wrasse. Their wives would nip into Ellie’s, coo over doilies and fancy teapots shaped like Sydney Opera House.
When the paint flaked on the Just for You frontage, Ron would appear with sandpaper and paintbrush, Ellie watching from the shade, serving tea from a pot with a chipped spout.
As the sun eased into the ocean at the end of the day, he’d sit on his step, roll threads of tobacco into a skinny cigarette, she’d perch on the wooden seat he’d made for her, sip lemonade through a red and white straw.
One day both shops were found boarded up. A sign on the Just for you read,
Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Tasmania, Australia. See here to join in.
Fourth bench from the oldest stone crossing, when the 101 cast their bills to the west.
My guidebook said the oldest stone crossing was the Meeburg. As for the 101 I hadn’t a clue … Then a flotilla of white darts scudded along the canal, their wake pointing to an egg yolk sky. I smiled – the 101 swans of Bruges, returning to their nests at sunset.
I walked Meestraat, remembering Mother’s words when I told her Johannes was an author and an oil painter.
‘Writers are liars and thieves. Artists are cowards.’
Not for the first time I wondered at her life before marrying my accountant father.
The bench was black with rain, golden with fallen leaves. Taped to the seat was a large cardboard sign.
New York calls me home. Enjoy the canals. J
I hate it when Mother’s right.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we are in Bruges, Belgium.
*Being an art history graduate, the first thing that came to mind when I saw Pegman was in Bruges was the Flemish artist, Jan van Eyck (1390-1441) – also known as Johannes. Van Eyck is famous for many wonderful oil paintings, not least The Arnolfini Portrait. He has signed the portrait just above a representation of a mirror. It reads “Johannes de Eyck fuit hic 1434” – “Johannes van Eyck was here 1434”.
They grew up in neighbouring blocks, in the stone-built houses left when the rich folk deserted the Old Town for the New, exchanged crumbling laurel swags and ballustrades for reinforced concrete and steel.
They went to the same school, though never met. She was bright enough, not brilliant but hardworking, while he spent the school day picking pockets, shoplifting, in juvenile court.
As she whispered with her friends over boy band singers, he was getting his first gang tattoo – a dagger on his right cheekbone, a symbol of belonging.
Then one day, she was walking along Rose Street, he coming the other way, trousers hanging low, body hunched as if the world had climbed on his narrow shoulders. His face was slim, brows in a tight frown. The kind of boy the nervous cross the street to avoid.
On impulse, she smiled
And his world opened.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview as its starting point. See here to join the fun and to read the other stories.
‘Goodbye’ was the word that jumped out from the scrawl.
Some of the phrases were lost forever, rinsed away by the rain or crushed into muddy pulp by my footprint.
I cursed myself for being so careless. But if it hadn’t slid beneath my boot, I wouldn’t have seen the words or cradled it in my hands as brown water dripped between my fingers. I wouldn’t have carefully dried the fragile paper by the fire.
The letter held together, but what remained was fragmentary, shards of emotion nailed to the page.
It rested in my hands, light as a leaf, yet heavy. I looked around the room. My books leaned drunkenly on the shelf where yours were missing. A dusty rectangle was all that remained of the television set. I remembered the conversation: you’d paid for it, you said, and I was too tired to argue.
I put the letter in a cheap frame, hung it on a vacant picture hook.
This week’s photo prompt is provided by shivamt25. Thank you shivamt25 for our prompt!
I see him as I stand at the cafe counter, waiting for my name to be called.
Designer sunglasses, designer jeans ripped at the knees, the thread turned to tassels. An empty cup on the table, brown with dried froth. He’s thumbing his phone screen, scrolling, scrolling.
The barrista hands me my coffee but I don’t move. She gives me a curious look but moves onto the next customer. I let the buzz of customers buffet me until I sway.
The floppy fringe is the same, a dapple of grey now in the brown. There’s a looseness about his jawline that I don’t recognise, but he’s disappointingly trim, a natural bronze to his skin that suits him.
I’m surprised. Not just that I’m seeing him again when I thought I never would, but that he looks so well, so at ease. I imagined the guilt would follow him all his life, be etched on his flesh, written in those hidden hazel eyes.
I wonder if he even remembers.
Written for FFfAW. See the pic and write a tale – see here to join in.
What do you imagine the guilty man has done? Do leave me some ideas in the comment section.
The front room stank of beer, the armpit smell of stale kebab meat. Gingerly, Sandy stepped over discarded food wrappers, knocking over a bottle that gurgled lager onto the rug.
A muffled cry from the crumpled duvet on the sofa told her Dave hadn’t made it to bed last night.
‘You’re a pig!’ Why did she still flat share with this loser?
‘Didn’t find it,’ he mumbled.
Dave always claimed his night’s picking up girls in clubs wasn’t selfish gratification, but a quest for the ‘spark’, an indefinable moment of connection that would tell him when he’d found his soul mate.
Sandy pulled back the duvet, revealing a mass of tangled brown hair, lids firmly shut over what she knew to be dazzling blue eyes.
‘You can’t even see in front of your face, you idiot.’ She let the duvet drop.