One December Morning in Stuyvesant Square Park


Snow in Stuyvesant Square Park, Second Avenue & East 17th St, Manhattan

The three teens, two boys and a girl, all ran out of The Halal Guys restaurant across 2nd Avenue near the East Village. “Anyone chasing us?” 14-year-old Brenda asked her brother Brad, pushing her red MAGA cap up over long blond locks.

“No, don’t see anyone.” Their leader, 15-year-old Ken, took them up toward Stuyvesant Square Park. It was still early morning and they’d decided to harass the old Muslim couple who’d gone into Halal for breakfast.

“Didn’t think that white guy would defend those Arabs,” Ken mused.

The trio stopped as they saw three black teens running up behind them. The oldest, a girl, said the two guys with her, “We got away.”

“Yeah,” said the youngest guy. “Who knew that black dude would defend that old white couple we were messing with.” On a nearby park bench, the mysterious Never Man was having a little fun with justice.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google Maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Manhattan Island (yes, it is an island). Manhattan has an impossibly rich history, so choosing one topic upon which to base my wee tale seemed an enormous task. I decided to look up the local news and found an article titled Teens Wanted in Village attack on man defending elderly couple. Apparently three African-American youth between the ages of 14 and 17 were harassing an elderly couple in a McDonalds in the East Village. A 44-year-old man came to their defense, and the trio punched and kicked him before fleeing. Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously hurt.

Since this is Black History Month, I wasn’t sure how well this story would be received (even though the news story is factual), so I decided to illustrate that anyone is capable of prejudice and cruelty, regardless of race, social perspective, or politics. I resurrected Jonathan Cyfer, the “Never Man,” who has the ability to alter time and space for purposes of justice, though 150 words hardly does him or his activities “justice.”

Oh, the Halal Guys is a real restaurant just outside the East Village (I couldn’t find the McDonalds on Google Maps), and if I ever visit Manhattan, I’d love to eat there.

To read more stories based on the prompt, visit

15 thoughts on “One December Morning in Stuyvesant Square Park

    • In this case, as a person who has died and who’s “celestial spark” has been temporarily delayed from returning to the Source, he does have vast abilities, but they are always constrained by the mysterious Raven, so he can never go too far.


  1. It’s sadly true, that people of any race or creed can fall into horrible thoughts and biases, and somehow think it’s okay to harass (and worse) those who are different from themselves. I’d like to chalk it up to the ignorance and gullability of the young, but unfortunately too many adults keep proving me wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In our increasingly polarized social and political landscape, people seem to feel more and more justified in harassing and bullying “the other” simply because they are different. No one sees themselves as the villain in their own story.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s hard to compare to previous generations. I feel like we had a brief moment where we thought that suddenly the whole society had given up the pervasive racism, antisemitism, and bigotry that has been normalized pretty much since day one in our country. But nope, it’s still there. It’s reassuring that it *seems* so foreign and obviously wrong to so many people I know, though. I have hope that we are moving in the right direction, in bursts.

        Liked by 1 person

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