Nowhere Near Heaven


© Google Maps – 2008

“Nah, I’ve just smoked heroin up til now, but I got schooled on shootin’ so I figure I’ll be okay.”

“Jilly, you’re only nineteen and you don’t wanna be ruining your life like this. I swear Littleton is killing you.”

“That why you cleared out last year Marv? You were about the only good thing I had goin’ here, ‘specially after Ma died.”

“Your Ma died like you’re gonna die…of an overdose or whatever crap that scumbag dealer cuts product with.”

“You come all this way back here just to lecture me, Marv? I don’t want to hear it so shut your pie hole.”

“Get up off the filthy floor and out of this freezing house. I got me a job and a little place outside Pittsburgh. I love you too much to leave you again. I’m taking you home with me. I’ve saving your life.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google street maps image as the inspiration for creating a wee tale no more than 150 words long. My word count is 146.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Littleton, West Virginia. I looked up Littleton and it’s a depressing place dominated by poverty and heroin addiction. Forget any illusions you may have had about small town America. If Littleton is any indication, they’re not true, at least not all the time.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


Where Giving Leads


Image: Munir Atalla / NBC News

“What the recipient of alms does for the donor is greater than what the donor does for the recipient.”

Vayikra Rabbah 34:8

Less than a year ago, Eddie Scholl had been living on the streets. When he saw the old man in the torn olive green coat and rainbow stocking cap standing on the street corner on a freezing November morning, holding a sign saying “Anything helps”, he reached for his wallet.

His last five dollar bill. He could use it to buy breakfast. Instead, he gave it to the old grey beard.

“Bless you, brother. Bless you.”

“Glad to do it, friend. Take care.”

Eddie walked on with the old gent still calling after him, “Bless you, brother. May God bless you.”

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