What Pegman Saw – The end of an adventure

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is the Palisade Rim/Ute Petroglyph trail in Colorado.

WPS - The end of an adventure 180217

The end of an adventure

Alan blew smoke towards the end of the bed.

“Why do you always do that?” Ruth snuggled more closely against his midriff. “I like to smell you, not cigarettes.”

Alan shrugged.

“Dunno. Habit?” He scratched. “Anyway, it’s time we moved. We’re visiting the Ute petroglyphs today.”

He rolled out of bed and pulled on his pants.

It was hot as Ruth parked at the trailhead.

“Give me the water, will you?” She popped a couple of Tylenol. “Bloody period’s started.”

“It won’t kill you. Let’s hit the trail!”

The views from the trail were spectacular. Alan grinned. “Glad you came now?”

Ruth stumbled.

“Ow-ow-ow! Turned my ankle!”

“Do you want to wait here, while I finish the hike?”

Ruth nodded.

An hour later she called his phone.

“The petroglyphs are fantastic! I’ll be a bit longer…”

Ruth cut across him.

“I’m going back to the car. Hurry – or you’re hitching!”

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22 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – The end of an adventure

  1. oh, this sounds very sad, if there was no other reason to leave her like this! But at least there are always two perspectives with two persons…with your stories Penny, i am always interested to read the other point of view…by the way, what is our sailor couple doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear anie
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, there are always two perspectives when there are two people. I wonder how Alan would describe the day. Funnily enough, I wondered whether to do exactly what you suggest, and post Alan’s version of the story as well as Ruth’s. You were very astute to guess that was in my mind!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad you thought about this. It is always difficult to feel only with one side. Of course the stories are too short to sympathize easily with one person so I always wonder about lots of motivations…why did he go on when she is injured?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear anie
      I’ve written a new version of the story. It slightly changes the details written in the story, without in any way changing the plot or the dialogue. I’ve posted it on WPS with the title “A change of perspective”. I’d be fascinated to hear if it changes your feelings towards the two characters!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read again, Penny and I think I am not so talented to feel the fine differences. This couple has shared a long partnership you said? The excitement of loving each other is gone? Sorry but there should be at least the deep love for each other to stay together when one partner is not feeling well…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear anie
      The thing is, Ruth doesn’t want Alan to stay with her. It’s only a twisted ankle, she’s only a mile or so from the car park, she’s got a cell phone, and she can take care of herself. She doesn’t want to be sitting there all day, sure, but she wants Alan to have at least a short look at the petroglyphs. If Alan tried to insist on ‘looking after’ her, she would be very upset, because she would feel that he was treating her as weak. I’ve met this attitude in quite a number of women, and I have a great deal of sympathy with it. It is a mark of Alan’s love that he recognises her feeling this way, and subdues his own wish to be her knight in shining armour.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes Penny, I can imagine this. I would not want to stop him, because of such a minor injury. If she does not need a doctor’s visit and is still able to walk, I do not think that it is a bad behavior,that he left.

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    • Dear Josh
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’ve picked up on what I hoped was the central issue of the story, namely the stress between them. They’ve both reached that point where the excitement of passion is waning, and where the responsibilities of loving are starting to require little changes of behaviour by both partners. I’m really grateful to you for your comment, because I was starting to think I must have made the story too biased in favour of Ruth!
      With best wishes
      Penny

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  2. Hmmm. Penny, the perspective is truly omniscient in this piece, there is nothing where we see inside either of the characters from their perspective. And it’s great that the author does not intrude on this – strange as that may seem – it is a weakness of truly omniscient pieces. There is probably, if I am being completely honest, more of a bias in this story towards Ruth. I think the last line does it, and although Alan is selfish at the opening, it is always the last line of a story that leaves the greatest impression, for me. Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Kelvin
    Thank you for your comments, which are very valuable. It’s very helpful to know that you thought this story had more of a bias towards Ruth. I’m also interested in your comments on perspective.
    This was the first version of the story, and I wanted to show that both partners had work to do if they were going to build a happy, stable, intimate relationship. I selected little details of behaviour that would show that both partners could be thoughtless. I published the story, but I always had in mind that maybe I should write a companion piece that would show other aspects of the couple.
    When the comments came, I saw that readers – and they’re the only people who matter! – felt that Alan was much less nice than Ruth. So I wrote the second story to show that Alan might actually be slightly more considerate than Ruth.
    It was a very interesting technical exercise. I would have preferred to remain in the omniscient perspective, but that would have taken me away from the original dialogue – or caused me to fail the word count!
    With best wishes, and many thanks
    Penny

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  4. I read this story on Saturday but wasn’t in a position to comment at the time. Like many of your readers, I did not have a lot of sympathy for Alan being left in the desert, but I’m excited to hear his side of the story. In a relationship, there are always two sides to the story. Love that you’ve used this venue to tell the story from two different viewpoints!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you, too, for the way you moderate What Pegman Saw. It’s a great prompt, as it encourages research as well as guaranteeing to stimulate ideas. I prefer it to Friday Fictioneers (which I also love, of course) for that – and because 150 words gives just that bit more scope for emotional exploration.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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