What Pegman Saw – Homeless

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code.

WPS - Homeless 190608

Photo courtesy Mark Knight by Pixabay

Homeless in Shepherd’s Bush, 1972

Damn, it’s cold tonight! My bloodless fingers fumble the string as I tie my dog to the railing. “Stay, Sam!” I say.

Traffic’s heavy, but the bright shop window lures me across the road. Get a few minutes in the warm, and a bottle of something to stop me feeling the chill. The traffic lights glare frosty green; a car horn blares as I stumble.

The shopkeeper looks about seventeen, with pimples and sparse curly hair. He keeps watching me.

It takes me a few minutes to find the cheapest vodka, a few more to count out coins from my battered purse and then I’m out of excuses to stay in the precious warmth.

Vehicle headlights swerve past me, too bright, too fast. I trip as I mount the kerb, skinning both knees. Sam barks. I shuffle cardboard sheets into a crude shelter, cuddle Sam, and open the bottle.


13 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – Homeless

  1. Loved this piece, Penny. The story sparkles with your vivid descriptions. The subtleties of word choice in the POV make me both ache for this character and simultaneously want to kick her(?) in the ass. Bravo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. I first lived in London in 1972, when I was a post-graduate student. There were many homeless alcoholics in Shepherd’s Bush, and every third shop was a cheap liquor store. I was appalled by the cynicism of the businesses who sold to these unfortunate people.
      I’m glad you liked the descriptive writing. I was trying to make everything larger and more lurid than life, the way it seems when you’re very drunk indeed…
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. I’m glad the hostile cold came across. In the back story, the MC died of exposure during the night.
      With very best wishes


  2. Unfortunately, it’s not only London has a huge homeless problem. I see it every morning when I walk across town; mostly youngsters, mostly men. And I live far from London, on the Norfolk coast.
    But I digress, for I do like your take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Crispina,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s heart-breaking the way so many young people have been made homeless. There is a direct correlation between the austerity policies pursued by the UK government and the numbers of people homeless.
      I’m glad you liked my take on the prompt.
      With best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellently written, Penny. The way we peak inside the woman’s head, feel what she does, think with her. It doesn’t help the situation but I’m never surprised when I see homeless people drinking – why wouldn’t they want to blot out their life for a while? Written with empathy and heart

    Liked by 1 person

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