What Pegman Saw – The Perfectionist

“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 Great Wall of China.

WPS - The Perfectionist great-wall-of-china 180428

Great Wall of China, © Sébastien Laading, Google Maps

The Perfectionist

Meng Li slipped a slice of bark between the stones of the wall and scowled at the craftsmen who had laid them.

“Look here!” he hissed. “Gaps! There must be no gaps. Put it right, or I shall have you flogged.”

Wang Chao and Chen Susu bowed repeatedly. They knew that the wall was built on the bones of its builders.

Meng Li rolled a pottery ball along each drainage channel to check the gradient. He measured the pitch of each of the many steps with his graduated rod. Where mortar had been used, he probed its strength with a dagger point.

Everywhere he left men pale-faced, struggling to correct tiny errors.

That night, the Emperor sent for him.

“You are too demanding,” said the Emperor. “You are delaying completion of my wall.”

“But, my Lord…”

Quality, in the person of Meng Li, became a part of the wall’s foundations.