What Pegman Saw – A Street Market in Tehran

“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 Tehran, Iran

WPS - A Street Market in Tehran 180630

Azadi Tower, Tehran, Iran © Avesta Naseri Google Maps

A Street Market in Tehran

The market smells of fruit and earth, onions and car exhaust as the rush of customers begins.

“Hello, Roxine!” I call. “The oranges are sweet today.”

“I want potatoes, Yegane. How much are they?”

“Thirty-four.”

“Too much!”

“As you’re a friend, thirty.”

“That’s a price for a friend? Well, okay.”

“Here they are. Would you like me to look after the kids tonight?”

“You’re a good woman. That would give me time to visit mum. Thank you!”

Her mum is very sick. I pat her hand. Already I’m looking at the next customer.

“Baigum! What would you like?”

“Cherries. And pistachios. And – are those strawberries fresh?”

“Are you a millionaire now?”

She just smiles. She’s wearing heavy make-up with her modest head-scarf.

Then it’s back to shouting, selling produce, sweating until two o’clock.

My husband packs up, while I go and tell the secret police everything I’ve observed.

25 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – A Street Market in Tehran

  1. oooo – I agree with Lynn about the “killer” last line

    and what I completely enjoyed was the feeling of being on the scene at the market here – from the dialogue to descriptions – you led us there continually after the powerful opening “fruit and earth, onions and car exhaust…”
    I am still amazed at how 150 words can do so much

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I had just bought fruit and veg in the street market in Nafplio, so I just wrote about that! I wanted to write a story with a twist that genuinely contributed to the meaning of the story, so I’m glad you and others found the conclusion effective.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear James
      Thank you for reading and commenting. From what I read you’re quite right about Tehran. Beirut is another city whose unique history and ethnic mix lends itself to a writer of intrigue, don’t you think?
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh
      Thank you for reading, and for your lovely comment about the rhythm of the piece. I was trying to make the story very physical and grounded, so I used short sentences with only one idea per sentence – as close to ordinary speech as I felt I could get away with. I think the rhythm probably came from that source.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

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  2. Very evocative – I really felt like I was there in the market, all the sights and smells and sounds and interactions. And then the killer last line (stealing Lynn’s term) that shows a whole new layer underneath. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Joy
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you found the market scene so evocative. I had just been shopping in a similar market – I was virtually writing from life. I’m glad you became aware of the next layer after the last line – that was what I hoped for. People like Yegane are just ordinary people like you and me; who knows what we would do if pressure was applied to our family? Yegane is a genuinely good person, who loves her friends. And yet she’s snooping on them. Paradox, eh?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great point: even if a character only shows up in a few lines, there might be a whole deep story behind them that you can only guess at, and who knows what you might do if you were in the same situation!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lish
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad the market came across vividly. Immediately before writing the story I’d been buying fruit and veg in a market just like the one I described. The hawking impressed itself on me particularly because a short, plump vendor had leaped up on the corner of her stall and was haranguing us all with the promise of three for two and all for only two Euros!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Ivor
      Thank you reading and commenting. I’m glad you like my stories. Yes, Yegane was a sneak, and yet she was also a good friend, and you could rely on her for love and support. That’s life as it has always been, I suggest – complicated, messy and very rarely black and white.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  3. Dear Kelvin
    Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m pleased you like the balance of the piece. I didn’t consciously strive for balance, so your comment made me wonder how I could have written it differently to change the balance. It’s an interesting thought. I shall think more about it when I write the next story. Thank you for the helpful comment!
    With very best wishes
    Penny

    Like

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and for your helpful comment. I’m glad you found the dialogue effective in telling the story, and that you felt the last line was credible. It’s good to know the things that work in a story!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

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